Life. Yoga. Joy.
Inspiring a life with smiles...™
A message to the graduating class of 2017
You are the last group I taught as a high school English teacher. With everyone asking you about your future plans, you may feel a bit scared even as you are excited… Trust me when I say, I totally get it… I've been there. (Hell, with the transitions I'm going through in my own life right now, I am there...)
My guess is that some of these thoughts are running through your head:
You may also have read all the online articles and memes (which circulate yearly at this time) about what we teachers FAILED to teach you in school.
Get over it.
I was hired to teach you English Language Arts. And along the way I tried to sneak in LIFE LESSONS whether you realized it or not.
But the truth is there is no way I can possibly teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to be prepared for...
I don’t have all the answers. No one does. Let's face it, half the time I am making it up as I go along...just as you are, and will be, doing.
But because I love you with all of my heart, here’s a few things I think that you are finally ready to hear now that you are young adults:
You always have a choice. Sometimes the options suck, but you still have a choice. And deciding to do nothing is…guess what…a choice… So whether you consciously or unconsciously realize it, you are forever making decisions on what to do. Period.
There will always be someone who you perceive as stronger, smarter, prettier, or having it easier than you, whether it is true or not. Who cares? You are perfect just as you are. True attractiveness comes from being comfortable in your own skin and being the best person you know how to be.
Picking up the habit of smoking (and anyone who knows me can FEEL the air quotes around the word “habit”) is just dumb nowadays. No one wants to kiss or snuggle someone who tastes or smells like an ash tray. And when the zombie apocalypse comes, your lungs will be black, you will not be able to run quickly, and the zombies will eat your brains.
Getting rip roaring falling down puking your guts up intoxicated on your 21st birthday is not a rite of passage. It is gross, will make you feel terrible at best, and can land you in the hospital…or worse…There is nothing cool about not remembering what you did the night before, and you will not be any sexier or braver by being drunk off your ass. There are far more fun things to do on that night.
College is a good option, AND college is NOT the only option. (Yep I said it.) There are great trade schools, apprenticeships, gap year programs, work/study programs, certificate programs, and other options which can help you create the life you love. And learning doesn't stop or start just from being in a structured program.
Speaking of dreams….Your dreams will change. And that is okay. What you once wanted may no longer seem as attractive to you as you grow older. That doesn’t mean that you wasted time, money, or opportunities. You wouldn’t be the person you are at that moment, if you hadn’t had the experiences you did. So appreciate your experiences, learn from them, take from them what you can use to pursue your next dream, and then move on.
As Julia Child said, "Have the courage of your convictions!" (Fun fact: She said this while trying to flip a potato pancake.) Stand up for what you believe in. AND recognize that someone, somewhere, will believe differently than you. Treat that person with respect even as you disagree. Accept that your opinions might change when you listen to what someone else has to say, or when you experience more of life. It is all part of growing as a person.
I could keep writing for days, and still not tell you everything I feel you need to know. But it just doesn't matter...you will be fine. However know that:
No matter what you are feeling at any moment in your life, remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Call, write, email, text, tweet, DM, etc...I am here if you need me not just as your former teacher, but now as your friend, and a member of your global community.
I love you.
I am proud of you.
And I can't wait to see what you do next.
Sending you love, light, and always always always...with smiles...
Congratulations Class of 2017.
PS - Do yoga. Twenty years from now, you will thank me for that advice...Trust me on this...
Samantha Eve, a