Commencement

Dear Class of 2020,

Born in the late nineties and early 2000’s, your childhood and lives have been marked by September 11th, the birth of the iPhone, digital age, and social media, a recession, ongoing war, climate change, and the election of Trump. And, whether from college, high school, junior high or elementary school, you now find yourselves graduating in the midst of a pandemic and in a time unlike anything the world can remember.  Full of promise, looking out at what can only be described as a fairly bleak and grim landscape, here you are.  So, a bit of advice from an almost middle aged adult looking at her own life and telling herself the same.

Always take the trip. Choose the adventure. Buy the ticket. I’ve only ever regretted the trips I didn’t take.

Hug your parents, when you can.

Appreciate the good times as they are happening. Look up from your phones and devices. Moments of happiness are not the beginning of ongoing happiness, they are happiness and it is happening right now. It will pass and then come again. Don’t miss it*

*Always  remember that this too shall pass (the good and the bad).

Realize no one knows what is going on. You have just as much ability to become one of the “adults in the room” as anyone else does if you put your mind to it. Let this motivate  rather than scare you.

Find a hobby that feeds your soul. You never know when you will be locked in your house for nine weeks and need something that is fun, creative, or relaxing to fall back on.

Let go of the “rules” of how you thought it would be or how it should look. This is one that most people seem to finally realize in middle age, but the sooner you get there, the better for you!

Literally never take anything for granted ever, it could all change in the blink of an eye. Haircuts, toilet paper, child care, visits with family, nights out with friends, cozy restaurants, pedicures, school days, employment, sporting events, handshakes, dancing at concerts, graduation ceremonies, vacations, your health, having anything feel casual and relaxed, going to the movies, parades, amusement parks, swimming pools, job markets, saving accounts, museums, air travel………

My wish for you is that you see the beauty found here and now, as it unfolds, and appreciate it as it does; that your generation will never take anything for granted, always remembering how quickly everything can change; and that you never forget, even as you strive to move forward and upward in your own lives, how interconnected we all are.

I have faith in your generation and that the trials you have been given as young people and children will only serve to grow your creativity, compassion, motivation, ingenuity, and empathy. I’m sorry that previous generations are just learning these lessons now.

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