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If you were asked to give a commencement address for college graduates, what would you say?
Hello and welcome from PJ MacLayne’s blog: Mountain Musings.
To the graduates of 2015.
Today will be a day of hard earned pats on the back and joyous congratulations. You’ve grown considerably and achieved a tangible goal. For some of you, this is the first tangible demarcation between the you of yesterday and the you of tomorrow: no longer a child, no longer just an adult. But, I have some bad news for you, grads. Or, good news, depending on how you look at things.
Your work is not done yet. You are rising, but there is always another rising to come.
Take the proverbial look around. You have climbed the hill and now you gaze back fondly over the course you took to get here. There are so many fond memories, accolades, hopes and goals–some achieved, some lost and some saved for a rainy day. However, while you were toiling the days away, a choice has arrived. A new direction.
Have you faced the new direction you’re headed yet? Have you even decided on that direction? You’ll have to do that–either by default, lying down in frustration and taking what is handed, or by active choice, taking the steps toward that goal symbolized by the diploma you will receive this year. I hope that you will actively choose to face the next hill, the next growth and demarcation between the you of yesterday and the you of tomorrow.
Don’t tire now. Your work is not yet done. In fact, it is just beginning. All this preparation, whether you’re graduating high school or college–a mom or dad who has gone back to get their degree, the veteran who had to wait a few more years to see their dreams of an education achieved…it was only preparation for the next big rising. Now that you have risen, you are ready to embark on the next part of your journey. Lace up those boots. Strap on your best armor. Keep that blade sharp. Forge ahead. Put your back into it. There are rough times and much more learning ahead.
Some of you will go on to seek more degrees, higher degrees, special certificates–but all of you will need to learn how to be the you in the next phase of the journey. This newly risen you. For some, that will be learning how to do the job you prepared for. Others, it will be learning how to cope as the steps to your dream become more numerous than you had planned and prepared for. Your work is not yet done. You face another demarcation between the you of yesterday and the you of tomorrow.
This journey we call life is about learning. Education is here to fill your head with the things you need to live the life you chose to live. To think. To adapt. To prepare. To strive.
I hope that you will pad the gaps with anecdotes, memes and funny videos–the icing on the cake that makes those gray days a little brighter. Those vibrant crayons that fill in the details of the you of tomorrow. Think of the child you once were, and remember to play. Play like the dog who’s been cooped up all day and can finally have the run of the house–the yard, maybe even further than the fence-line. Having fun is healing and learning and strength building. Not every moment should feel like work while you prepare and move on.
As you go along this journey, you may start to notice that others pause to put down roots. They never do seem to get far from where they stop; distracted in building their homes and lives. Do not worry if you don’t measure up to them, or fear that you’re doing something wrong should you choose not to set your roots to ground. Your legs are carrying you and if you want to get to the you of tomorrow, you can’t worry about the resting legs of others. And never mind how they rise. They’re just a reminder to take time for the things that matter. To take time to notice and not just catalog things. Take the time to watch a sunset, observe the sunlight through the trees, hear the sound of the ocean, feel the cool spray of a misting rainstorm and see the super moon over New York City.
Some journeys will take you far.
Some will wend in the circles of one’s back yard.
Don’t pale at the thought of chasing your tail if it’s what you’ve chosen. A dog finds that journey quite invigorating–and as our best friends, they probably know a thing or two we could learn by their example. The you of tomorrow, after all, is just at the other end of the you of yesterday.
So, today, enjoy those pats, with the gratefulness of Man’s Best Friend…and then break through the gate and find your road to the you you’re rising to be. Thanks for stopping by. Continue reading the circle by going to PJ Fiala‘s Blog next.
PJ Fiala is originally from Missouri. She moved to Wisconsin with her family when she was 13 years old, city kids learning to farm. The farm started out with 28 rescue cows (they were adopted from the Humane Society who took them from abusive circumstances). With all the hard work and the deep winters, Wisconsin was a hard sell until PJ met her husband. They have four children and three grand children. The pair enjoy riding their motorcycles, on which they meet new places and visit places new and old.
PJ comes from a long line of veterans: “My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.”
Return to P.j. MacLayne‘s Blog
Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscapes. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks.
PJ Fiala (@pfiala) says
Fabulous advice to graduates and, actually, everyone.