Class of 2016 – Congratulations!

graduation

According to the National Center for Education Statistics 3.3 million students will be graduating over the next few weeks.

To all the graduates, congratulations! You should be extremely proud of yourself.

As you say good-bye to this chapter in your life take a few minutes to think about what you’ve accomplished.

If nothing comes to mind, here’s what you’ve done over the past twelve years:

1. Studied for and passed hundreds of tests,
2. Made friendships that will last a life time,
3. Made tough decisions to let some friendships go,
4. Handled numerous awkward conversations,
5. Crammed your mind full of facts, figures, and information,
6. Your first kiss,
7. Learned to drive,
8. Your first job,
9. Participated in sports, band, dance, or an academic club,
10. Laughed a lot and shed a lot of tears.

Whew!

What comes next will be up to you. For some, you’ll go to college. Others, you’ll start working. No matter what you do, own it. By that I mean it’s up to as to how far you want to go. You really can achieve your dreams but it’ll take work and perseverance.

Set-backs will be inevitable. Mistakes will be plenty. Failures you bet. They happen to all of us. Learn from them and then get up and get dressed and get moving.

Awhile back I read a list of 45 Life Lessons as written by a 90 year old. Here are the top the top five:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.

Here are a few more lessons that I’ve learned along the way:

1. You are never alone.
2. Karma is real.
3. Don’t give up your power to anyone.

I believe our founding fathers got a lot right when they drafted the Declaration of Independence. But there’s one thing I think they got wrong and that’s our right to pursue happiness.

In my opinion, happiness isn’t anything to pursue. It’s a way of being in every moment. So my advice don’t pursue happiness, just be happy!

Finally, to my niece who happens to be one of the 3.3 million, you are a shining star! There isn’t a doubt in my mind you are going to succeed at anything you decide to do.

Now all of you, take a deep breath and step into the next chapter of your life!

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