An Open Letter to the Class of 2011

Ten years ago I was in your shoes. Closing the book on high school and childhood and ecstatic to begin life on my own. Like you, I was grateful to my parents, teachers, and friends, but ready to put everything I learned from them to the “real life” test.

Here’s what you need to know about the next decade.

Every day – every moment – is a gift. Right or wrong, we determine the path of our journey. And believe the cliché: It is a journey, not a destination. Rather than spending time worrying about how you’re going to live life, instead recognize that you are living life. And then own it. Don’t second-guess your decisions, even when they turn out to be wrong. Own them. Own every moment, because even the sad, painful, and stupid ones have value. Own every victory and every failure. Trust and love yourself and embrace your strengths and weaknesses, because God made you to be loved. Look to the future, but not so far that you miss the present. Now may be all that you have, and how you choose to redeem the time is entirely up to you.

My recommendations?

Laugh until it hurts, until you cry, or better yet until you pee a little. Stay longer than you planned. Crank up the music louder. Return that phone call. Go outside every day, no matter what. Be honest. Forgive without hesitation. Love with reckless abandon. Lend a hand to others in need, even when it’s inconvenient or you think they don’t deserve it. Don’t be afraid to be afraid … But don’t be afraid to be brave and overcome those fears, either. Don’t let life’s routine lows keep you cynical, bitter, or numb: Cry when you need to, sleep when you must, and celebrate and savor everything in between.

Ultimately, life will not turn out how you think it will or should. Keep an open mind and an open heart. People you don’t yet know will become major influences in your story, and those closest to you now might not be around ten years from now. Your talents and passions, however legitimate, may develop in a different direction or change completely. Your chosen career field may shift or disappear. Be open to all the possibilities … Life will take you for one hell of a fun ride if you’re up for it.

Congratulations on hitting this milestone … Here’s wishing you the best of luck in the next ten years’ worth of milestones.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”
-Robert Frost

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9 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Class of 2011

  1. loved the letter. Even If one grad reads this,and applies just one piece of wisdom, you will have helped many. The universe can always use more love in the form of words.

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