commence & sensibility

With the commencement of commencement season, I turn again to this blog post that I wrote and posted for the first time several years ago. It is still as true today as it was then – and as it was when I, myself, graduated from college decades ago (although I, of course, didn’t have the life experience to give this advice at that point). I offer it now to this year’s crop of graduates – and to all of us who can use a reminder of how we got to where we are and, perhaps, as a gentle guide to how to get to where we still want to go. The adventure and the learning continue.

While I don’t suppose I’ll ever have the chance to deliver a commencement address, that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say (rarely do I not have something to say). But, should that invitation ever arrive in the mail, here are some of the things I’d like to pass on. Devices off, please. Just listen.

Following your passion is priceless. Once you discover it, nurture it, protect it, feed it. It will help you believe in yourself – the most valuable commodity you have. Following the crowd? Not so much.

Sometimes you may need to settle. For a not-perfect job. For a too-small apartment. For just being friends. Sometimes you should never settle. For less than self-respect. For less than a partner who believes in you. For less than your right to that last French fry or slice of pizza. (Only kidding. About the fry, not the slice.)

Don’t tell the world that it’s been waiting for you. Show it.

Never lose your sense of curiosity. Always find a way to share.

Don’t smoke. It’s stupid and you’re not.

Keep your friends close and your close friends closer. As far as your enemies, life is too short.

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, you’ll thank me later. Seriously.

Think with your head. Lead with your heart. Nourish your soul.

There is so much waiting out there in the real, often surreal, world. Things you’d never expect that will change your life for the better – and things you don’t see coming that will break your heart. It’s scary and it’s magnificent. And it’s time to begin.

Don’t forget your ruby slippers. Or your courage.

©2023 Claudia Grossman

4 comments on “commence & sensibility

  1. If only…. but youth is wasted on the young, eh?

  2. That is excellent advice for graduates…and everyone else, for that matter!

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