My nephew is graduating from high school today. A. and I are not going. I will miss seeing David walk across the stage, but I will not miss watching the 500 other kids in his class doing the same thing. When his sister Michelle graduated her mother started a tradition which I'm sure will be carried on for all the other kids to come. Everyone contributes a page for a book commemorating the journey thus far. Since I'm not the attending kind of person, not one who makes a point to go to homecoming games, etc. I don't really have memories to evoke so I try to dispense with useful advice. The stuff I wish someone had told me when I graduated from high school. Not that I would've paid attention, but you never know. If you keep it simple enough something might stick. When Michelle graduated and was heading to college I warned her in great detail to stay away from the evil credit card dealers that hang out in front of the bookstore and in the quad, offering the opportunity to dig a deep hole of debt to entering freshman. I also advised her to never leave the house without #30 sunscreen on. For David, whom doesn't seem to be as academically directed I offered some thoughts that he may or may not find useful. I'm hoping that some of it may come in handy, but mostly I just want him to know the last part.
The years after high school are often fraught with fucking up and the most important thing to remember is that you are loved.
No matter what.
Dear David –
As you climb into the catapult that is graduation and prepare yourself to be launched into the world – wheeee! I wanted to wish you well and offer some words of wisdom from a little farther down the trail. The standard stuff still stands; credit cards continue to be the work of Satan and sunscreen is more important than you can know right now. Melanoma is not your friend, so use anything that’s a 30 or higher and pay cash. And floss everyday.
But there’s more.
Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. It’s how you succeed and also how you learn so it’s all good. Travel as much as you can to places you know nothing about and meet the people who live there. Don’t stay in your comfort zone because you can grow old and bored there before you know it. Move it or lose it. Learn to listen to your intuitive self and discern what’s true for you. Live in that truth everyday even if it makes you and those around you uncomfortable. Stop and ask yourself if you’re happy, if you’re not then figure out how to get there because life is way too short. Find your passions and pursue them passionately. These are the things you would do if no one told you, or paid you to do them. Be compassionate and kind to yourself and it will be easy to do so with others.
When it comes to love practice good personal hygiene and you will be ahead of the game. Your natural scent is always better than cologne, but if you must splash on the smell well, do so sparingly. Take responsibility for birth control unless you want to have children. Communication is key and if you can communicate well you can navigate through almost anything. That said there will be times when dealing with the love of your life where you’re just plain confused and/or scared – ask questions, it’s always a good way to go.
There’s all kinds of other stuff I could tell you, but I am trusting that you will learn for yourself as you go because that’s the best way. My wish for you is that you have as much fun and adventure in life as you possibly can and that you know you are loved and supported whatever you do and wherever you go.