I cannot be with you this year so here is my message to you.
Congratulations. Graduation is both a completion and a beginning. Today you are completing twelve years of public school. This is an important accomplishment so celebrate, enjoy this day, make memories that you will look back on and smile. Tomorrow your new day begins and you move onward.
What will the next 12, 20, 50 years be? Well, that is up to you. You can be whatever you choose to be. You can choose your profession, you can choose how to spend your time, you will choose who you marry and even if you will marry. Yes, you can and will choose. Make sure you choose wisely. Make sure it is your choice because in the end, right or wrong, you will live with it.
Often we seek the opinion and advice of our parents, friends and others we respect. Seeking opinions and advice is good but, in the end, you still choose. You have an inner voice, intuition, or whatever you call it, and only you know what is right for you.
Steve Jobs said, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
I can say from experience that time goes quickly. Spend your time on the things you care about, with those you love because the next 12, 20, 50 years will pass in the blink of an eye. So always do your best, listen to your inner voice, have courage to follow your heart, love without expectation and choose wisely. However, if you make a mistake – and you will, we all do – that’s called experience. Choose to pick yourself up, lesson learned, onward.