Well, Graduate, here you are. The morning of your life has ended, and the sun is now high in the sky. Congratulations on reaching the next chapter. No longer will your life be planned, laid out so nicely for you by others; now it is up to you to make your own destiny. We know you have heard this before… but it’s actually true this time. This is the beginning of the rest of your life. From today on, your life will be what you make it. You want to plant your roots down deep in your hometown? Pursue a career in the big city? Move to an obscure location and fall off the face of the earth? Why yes, you can.
Now, I won’t lie to you and say anything is possible – most of you could never be professional athletes, or brain surgeons, or famous musicians – but in reality, almost anything is possible. And that’s a pretty cool thing. Let me advise you; above all, you want your life to be satisfying. And whether or not it is remains totally up to you. Find joy in the little things – life is about relationships with the people you love, and the God who made you. Everything else flows from that, and it’s just gravy. The ironic thing about life is that the more you try to reach a higher level of happiness, the deeper you’ll sink into unhappiness. I guess what I’m trying to tell you is, today is a terrific day for you, and you should be proud and excited about your accomplishment. But the sooner you learn that life is about focusing on others, the better.
So live it up… enjoy your time with your friends, and your family – all those who made today possible. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. The world needs people who can see past their own nose, and I hope you’re one of them. Being a college graduate doesn’t make you better than anyone else, just better equipped to be a part of the solution.
Today is a great day, and a launching point for the rest of your life. Just remember, it’s a beginning, and no more. Your training is complete and now field exercises begin; your effort will determine how far you go. Work hard today, and your future self will thank you. And know that in all this, I’m talking to myself just as much as you.
I’ll be seeing you. Maybe at a reunion in 20 years. Let’s live in a way that we’ll be proud to look back on then.