I might have written it somewhere else
maybe in another poem
but it might be a nice way to start off this shindig.
You belong everywhere.
The age you are at right now is something you will want back in about ten years.
Try and be less reserved.
Be bold now. Tell her you’ve got a crush, or had a crush and if they make the right face then you still have that crush. It’s OK. She won’t stab your face.
This is a neat time, the age of exploration.
I was a desperate explorer.
I ain’t talking about Robitussin overdoses and turning an apple into a bong.
I am talking exploring limits and setting your boundaries. I am talking about toilet papering someone’s house you love. Ding dong ditching the mayor.
Take a lawn gnome hostage but not chopping it into dust, boundaries. The parents will forgive you. The cops will forget you. You are young and that has value. And the value is $29.95.
Get a journal. You should document this era cause the upcoming changes are shocking. Punks will become political activists in suits. Hippies will become business people for environmental agencies, Skaters will become graphic designers, Football stars will become glow in the dark pastors, Band kids will become ninjas, Cheerleaders will become employees for Cold Stone Creamery. Maybe journal it all cause you will forget. The future will seem so different. Teens in the future are going to listen to carnival music and you’ll say, “…aw back in my day.”
No matter how cool you were at your coolest peak of high school, in 4 years you will look back at photos and say, “Lordy I was a big dork.” You’re not a dork. But you’ll think that. It’s OK. This will give you the rush of humility. This is good. Be proud of how humble you can be.
Some of you are off to college. Screw you.
College is not a passport to success. A passport is not a passport to success.
Delaying self-gratification is.
Learn how to not want it now.
Studies show that the main thing that plagues our generation is that we don’t know how to delay self-gratification. If we can learn to save money, organize a game plan, read, clean up our lives, floss once in a while, then we will rule the world.
You will forget your locker combos, the concept of popularity and the valedictorians speech. You will remember the teachers who cared for you and you will remember being able to eat Taco Bell like an aardvark without barfing up any ants.
You want to be a doctor. You might end up working at Chili’s. At least for awhile. So what? Try the steak fajita pita. You’re working and there is honor in labor.
There are jobs out there you don’t have to hate. You will hate your first few jobs. Pretend it’s a game. Pretend you love hardship. “You want me to stay an extra hour? How about two hours!” Make sure you collect your overtime. Write stuff down.
Let’s not be scared about the future. Let’s be scared about our bodies getting even wonkier and weirder.
The Military is not what they are telling you. It can change you for the better. It can change you for the worse. It will definitely let you shower with many naked people. At once.
The end of high school is not freedom. A soaring, screaming, bald eagle with a cape is.
It is as hard to forget the bad stuff as it is to remember the good stuff. You will forget a lot about this time. Remember the hallway make outs. Forget the wedgies. Most bully’s end up on court TV anyway.
Forget all that crap about the journey not the destination.
Learn how to meet good people, try and remember their names and treat them well.
Die happy if you die surrounded.
You will forget peoples names. Only jerks don’t understand this.
Really cool people don’t know they are cool.
Some people will try to kick your face in. Know when to kick back and know when to tell your friends you punched someone’s foot with your face.
Even drug dealers think users are annoying.
Don’t think about sex more than you have to. Your parents think you don’t ever touch anybody. As far as writing a virginity pact. You don’t need some pact to stay a virgin if that’s your thing. Over 14,000 get busy after the first year of making a virginity pact. A pact or vow does nothing if you are lying to yourself. Also, SEX CAN SCREW YOU UP IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH TOO EARLY WITH THE WRONG PEOPLE.
A Grad speaker once said wear sunscreen. I would like to add to that. Please don’t use the sunscreen that stays white on your nose. It looks like you cried glue.
Learn something every year or your mind will die at a television altar.
If your friend gets cancer treatment, shave your head.
Young love has about a 20% chance of success. Unless you’re in the South where it is mandatory to get married at 19. Try to not get so broken up about it.
18-21 is a massive change. So is 21-25. Fall in a true love around 25. Date and learn about what you need before that. Kiss with all your might.
Tell strangers nice things about their eyes or clothes. You will change their day.
Some people are drawn to drama. You are not community theater. Fire the actors from your life. Just cause you know someone doesn’t mean you owe them anything. Especially if they’re a tool.
Ladies. Tell men exactly what you want. They are simple creatures. They do not read into things. Take him to dinner.
Gentlemen. Tell her how you feel a lot. Notice details about her and say you noticed it. Ask questions and just listen and hold. Plan things. You still might get it wrong.
Chicks are weird until about 24, 25. Chicks on the wrong birth control or Xanax are even weirder. Trust me on this.
If you don’t know what you want to be, so what. You will fall into something. Just do something or you’re just a grassy little speed bump. You want to be an artist or photographer, or writer? Don’t worry about being good, just begin.
Realize that guilt has guided very smart people in the wrong direction.
Imagine what it is like raising kids. Know that it’s hard. Let your parents know you know this. They may cry. Being alive is expensive and they wanted you more than those fancy romantic vacations. This should make you feel good.
Always have poor friends or acquaintances. It makes the purchasing of luxury automobiles and useless gadgetry ridiculous when people are desperate.
Somewhere, someone is desperate.
Some people aren’t very good at laughing. They will be mad at you. Wonder how they got that way and keep laughing. Maybe not in their face. No one loves a spittle spaz.
Ask old people how they’re doing. The answer will be long. This will help you slow down.
Go to other countries. Not a typical backpacking tour. Planned tour means you will hang with Americans on bikes and flirt with drunk Germans and someone will steal your Levi’s in the hostel and a guy from Poland will sock you in the face while bad techno plays everywhere and you will learn nothing except that your face hurts and not everyone showers. Get into other cultures and talk politics and love. Meeting other people is the only way to know if you believe what you believe cause it’s been handed to you, or if it really rings true in your heart.
Getting lost should be seen as a sweet chance to be found.
Remember, you belong everywhere.