And Now A Word For The Graduates...
Watch out Class of 2012---I may just wander onto a podium near you. And read this:
Congratulations Class of 2012.
Yay! You did it.
Now savor it for a second. Okay, a weekend even, but for the love of god, please don't cap it off here. Go forth. Work on improving your bad-ass eighteen year or twenty-two-year-old self. Because if these are the best years of your life--forever--you're doing something wrong.
No seriously. Boo-hoo for you. Trust. You don't want to live in the past. There's a huge difference between reflecting back on your accomplishments and pining for your lost youth. Whatever your biggest achievement has been to date, you need to up it. Once, twice, three times shoot.
You don't want to be that forty-five-year-old dude, still basking in those glory days of high school. Go on, do the math. That's more than thirty years since said guy actually made some memories worth remembering. And is there any reason that depression is at an all time high?
The truth is, you don't have to lose your youthful spirit. Really. No, really. Those rules of adulthood? They'll try to creep in. The shoulds. The musts. But the truth is, outside of paying your mortgage on time, there really isn't a whole lot that's important. The other stuff? Just lame. Keep being curious. And enthusiastic. And wear a bikini as long as you can rock one.
You get the drill.
But the real secret? Always walk the path that's right for you. Easy enough? Eventually, maybe. But here's the thing. At the beginning, those who think they know what's best, for not only you, but for everyone else in this whole wide world, will be shouting the virtues of that traditional roadmap.
Yup. More of those shoulds. And musts.
Go ahead. Blame that genius, who once upon a time, decided that life doesn't fall oh so neatly in line when you're allowed to just play it out as an adventure. You need a guide. Or a series of carefully crafted benchmarks that generations before you, and generations after, have used to help them find their way. And gauge success. What's up next? Well, it all depends where you are on that timeline. You've got your education, or at least part of it. So it's on to a great job. Then marriage? Of course. House? Naturally. Kids? Why the hell not.
Keep to the plan and you can bet there will be no trouble. No conflict. No contest. It makes folks feel better when you're doing things at the same pace that you're 'supposed to.' It's when you start to deviate that you'll really start to shake people up. And make them feel uncomfortable. They'll start wondering what the hell is wrong with you. And why 'you' are not more like 'us.'
Take comfort in the discomfort, my friend, because that's how you'll know you're on the right track. That you're living life authentically. Going against the grain will make you stronger, for the simple reason that you'll have to define who you are. And own it. And shake off all of the people who just want you to be easy. And predictable. And 'normal.'
Because, really, where's the fun in that?