Dear Class of 2015,
I know the last thing you want to hear right now is more advice from someone who graduated high school before the internet existed. You want to get through the commencement addresses, the awards and the “this is what you need to know” crap and get to the important stuff: THE PARTY.
Not the party your family is throwing for you but the real party. The after-party you and your friends will be having later tonight.
But bear with me a moment.
The last twelve years have been great. You have (hopefully) been surrounded by friends and family that have supported you. Although tonight is going to be “epic”, tomorrow is going to be incredible.
Tomorrow you start life on your own terms. No longer defined by the terms of your high school existence. Tomorrow is the reset button. The moment where you take what you have learned from your parents, your peers, your teachers and mentors and become more.
This year I celebrated my 25th high school reunion. Looking back at the girl I was at 18 versus 40-something it is difficult to describe the changes. I would not necessarily recognize the high school graduate I was back in 1989. There are pieces there, the start of something more than I ever imagined.
It takes time to evolve into the person you will become. My sage advice to you is to take that time and make every day your best day ever. Be honest to your core and follow your gut. Tomorrow you begin defining who you are now. Believe me when I tell you 25 years from now this moment will be important, but not more important than the moment you capture tomorrow.
As a graduate. you become a person with purpose. You might not know what that purpose is, right now. You might be confused and nervous as you embark on the next day of your journey. Here’s a secret:
Everyone is afraid. Everyone is nervous. Not one person sitting in the row with you knows for sure what tomorrow means and how they will fare. The most popular kid in class is now on equal footing as the least popular one. In 25 years you will go to your reunion and see if that the star football player has lost more than just his hair. You will marvel that you graduated before something like the debit card or IPod was invented.
Tonight you will celebrate with your friends and family. Enjoy it. This summer you will continue to celebrate, as you should. Graduating high school is a huge accomplishment. I ask you to remember that no party is worth your life or your tomorrow. Decisions that seem harmless and fun can wreck your chances of attending your 25th high school reunion. Now, that’s a party you do not want to miss.
So stay safe at that party tonight. Tomorrow is going to be fantastic, make sure you are around to attend it.