If you thought this was just another graduating class from Southern Boone High School, you would be wrong.
This class of 2017 is, at the risk of irritating mom and dads of previous classes, more accomplished than any other.
Still, they could use the advice from the standard commencement address guy. So I give to the class of 2017 some commencement advice they certainly won’t get anywhere else – especially their parents.
“Congratulations! Your big day is finally here – you have made it to high school graduation. But this is the first of many, many big accomplishments for this Eagles class of 2017. I have no doubt of your bright future as you have accomplished more academically, athletically, musically – and on and on. You have set new standards across the board. Your teachers, parents and grandparents have said since you were about 10-years-old that you were a “special” class – and you have lived up to that billing.
So……now what? No doubt many of you will earn future degrees.
No doubt many of you will give back to your communities. No doubt you will remain a group of high achievers.
Is that it?
Not to minimize all of that – ya’ll are great – but there is more to life….like, having a life. That’s it – I need to remind you, while you’re accomplishing – ALL THAT STUFF – to make sure you have a life.
I had a mentor who, besides working his butt off publishing one of the finest small daily newspapers in the central Texas hill country, loved nothing more than to go fishing and bird hunting.
He also was a clock-watcher.
“Bruce, you’ll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office,” he told me as we watched the sunset over the Corpus Christi bay. “Don’t wait too late to slow down and actually see life.”
We’ve all heard this advice before and it is a staple of many graduation speeches. But how many of you will take that advice and actually apply it to your life?
How many of you will quickly get past the idea of having a new car, save a little money and get out and see….life?
Think about that. Are you going to chase more accomplishments? Or a lifestyle of your choosing?
I would encourage you, above all else, to just go. While you’re doing everything else, go have a life.
It takes some time to wrap your brain around the idea – it took a few years for me, after I experienced the other side of life – but it is very liberating to realize that all the little things that matter to you that you think are super important just…..go away when you realize what is truly important in your life.
It’s not only about accomplishment, it’s about your time here on this earth. Your experience.
The people you meet. The people who make you smile – and that you can make them smile. That sort of impact, rather than material things which are fleeting….that is the key.
Time is truly relevant. You have a finite time on this earth. If I live to the age of my father when he died, I have a little less than 10,000 days left on this earth. You have a little more than twice that time. What choices will you make?
I am here to tell you when you get out and go, time will generally slow down.
So get out there….go. Go hike to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Ride a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. Eat dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and see the amazing artistry all around it.
Climb the mountain of steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial, and you will learn a whole new meaning of patriotism.
Watch a sunrise at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, or a sunset from Point Reyes, California. It will change your outlook.
While you continue your accomplishments, be sure to get out and discover new worlds, learn about new people and consider a new perspective on life.
Open new doors and you will enhance your life full of accomplishments.
Hearing new music, seeing new places, meeting new people – all can be challenging. But the rewards out-weigh never leaving your corner of the world.
So, take a chance – you never know where it will take you.”