Requested by Kate

A NOTE TO THE CLASS OF 2016

And don't forget... I'm just a guy, standing in front of a bunch of graduates, asking them to love themselves.
  1. Hey, well done.
  2. I'm proud of you. We are all proud of you. You've just completed an important project: the first part of your life's education.
    (Even if you are not going on to college or grad school or a doctoral program or your post-doc studies, learning never ends.)
  3. May I be so bold as to give you a couple of notes to think about?
  4. First:
  5. Think for yourself.
    (Ironic, huh? Me telling you to think for yourself?)
  6. People prefer it if you turn off your brain and do what they say or want you to do.
    (It isn't always obvious, its often embedded in language or societal norms, but it's always there. They want to control you or your actions or your thoughts or your opportunities.)
  7. Don't let them.
    Think for yourself. Please!
  8. Because: this is your life to live, not theirs.
    (As an adult, you are now free to do what you want, when you want, how you want, provided you are willing to live with the consequences of your actions, [and if your parents tell you otherwise, kindly ignore them.] Remember: you grew up in a vastly different world than we of parenting age did - we trust you to know how to navigate better than our advice would!)
  9. Second:
  10. Be kind to people.
    No matter how hard your day or your life is right now, I guarantee there are people who are having a harder time than you are having, or who have greater struggles than you. Be aware of them; be kind to them both collectively (in your purchasing power and buying behaviors) and individually (smile at them, make eye contact, honor their humanity, offer to carry or lift something, hold a door, say thank you).
  11. Third:
  12. Life is short.
    (Even if you are blessed with good genes and are super lucky to avoid tragic or stupid accidents or a coming virus pandemic, you only have X years left, where X<75 ). And it will go very quickly. Pooof.
  13. Live in THIS moment, keep 11% of your attention on tomorrow and next week and your future long term goals and plans, and forget the past: it's over now so don't let it control you anymore. Let it go.
  14. So live healthy, get some exercise, if you drink alcohol and do recreational drugs do so in moderation and prepare to outgrow both, and for gosh sakes eat some fruits and veggies every once in awhile.
  15. Fourth:
  16. I tell you this:
  17. Don't dream or wish your life away in 'if only' statements.
  18. Don't wait for someday or someone, don't wait until after X happens or Y does this or that, or Z appears.
  19. There is no someday. There is no them. No one is coming to rescue you.
  20. But: you have the power to create your own dreamy somedays and rescue yourself.
  21. There is only you. And you only have this one life to live.
    And now that you've graduated, it starts now! Today! In this moment's choice of what happens next?
  22. So own it! Live it!
    Be the owner of your life. Make your own fun. Make friends. Be a friend. Go places. Do stuff. Make things. Join and build a community of like-minded people. Love those you want to love. Create something of value. Chase your dreams. As the corporate boys say: have a bias for action.
  23. Finally:
  24. I think life is much more fun and you can create much more happiness for yourself and around yourself if you simply allow yourself to love yourself.
    And if that is too hard for starters, then start small by liking yourself. Or even some aspect of yourself. I for one think you have amazing eyes, a beautiful smile and a stunning sense of humor. And you are clearly far more intelligent and creative and ambitious than you pretend to be: I admire that about you!
  25. Your life is yours to create.
    (It's also yours to waste, if that's your preference! Remember: think for yourself! I might be totally wrong!)
  26. Class of 2016: You can do what you want, when you want, how you want.
  27. Congratulations!
  28. Fight the power, keep on keeping on, and don't let the idiots keep you down.
    And please: think for yourself!