Dear Class of 2016,
You graduate this weekend. You have spent the past 12 years going to a school you sometimes loved and sometimes hated. You have made friends and lost them. While it might not feel like it, you have lived a lot of life in a short time.
You went from knowing your letters, to writing research papers. You began counting in kindergarten and evolved to trigonometry. You arrived knowing Elmo and are leaving knowing Shakespeare.
Throughout the years you have given your parents laugh lines and grey hair. You have challenged your teachers and made them beam with pride.
As you sit in the bleachers on graduation day, you won’t be thinking of any of the milestones you have achieved.
Some of you will be thinking how quickly you can dust this sandbar off your feet so you can start your living your life. Some of you will think you are not ready, not yet. A few of you think you have all the answers, the majority of you are seeking them and hoping you find them before the questions are asked.
Not one of you have any idea of what to expect as you leave graduation and begin your life. There will be plenty of mistakes and wrong turns. Don’t get discouraged, a secret your parents won’t tell you is that they are still figuring out this thing we call life. Long past graduation, they still don’t have the answers to the unasked questions. (It’s why we have never answered the “but why question”). The only answer they know for sure is that life is more interesting when you live and not watch it pass you by.
Live your life.
That is the only answer I have for you. Do what makes sense, follow your gut and never for one moment let life happen to you. Be an active participant. Challenge yourself and say yes to new experiences. Don’t wait to grow up, or be stable or place a condition on your happiness.
Climb the mountain, jump into the sea, pick up a random book and start a conversation with a stranger. Make moments, create life and spread your wings.
You will have regrets. You will know sadness. That is living your life. The trick is to have the happy moments outnumber the disappointing ones. Acknowledge the hurts and let them heal.
There is nothing you cannot do. No goal you cannot attain. You need to live your life to the fullest and embrace whatever challenge it brings you. You have accomplished so much during your school years. Imagine how much you will accomplish with the knowledge you have gained.
As for that sand you are busy kicking from your toes? Don’t get rid of it all, let it remind you of how far you have come and how far you will travel.
Sand, after all, is everywhere.