As we watch another crop of new graduates turn their tassels and "commence", we have to consider our own commencements. What are we doing with what we have learned from living and from the world around us, that informs our life purpose? How have our hearts and minds been changing, but not our actions? How are we each graduating to a new and more authentic level of expressing our unique gifts? As we swim quickly though the rough waters of day to day routines, we ignore the water and the incredible freedom we have to change our strokes and explore new direction. How much are we letting other people's expectations hold us back from what we really want to try and do?
I am a connoisseur of commencement speeches. I have witnessed and studied hundreds of them. Not an expert, but David Foster Wallace's brutal truths from his Kenyon College address still ranks #1 in my book. Just found this video that takes an excerpt of DFW's speech and provides outstanding graphics that help drive home the power of his words.
Please watch, listen, read the entire speech. It will alter your orbit and shift your frame of mind to question your own default settings and certainties.
We are all trying to graduate. Get to the next level. Only a few times will these milestones be accompanied by a diploma. Real life is a more powerful teacher than universities, if we pay attention to what we see and feel. There is no "means to an end". Avoid the age old trap of settling for the less meaningful present to build a fulfilling future. The means is the end. To think of the thing you are doing as the purposeful place to discover your purpose. To embrace where you are and do it with passion. Make now, the focus. Now is the best time to live. We have no choice. This next year, will be the best year and the best chance to become you. "Later" is a brick on the path to the Emerald City.
Congratulations graduates, that includes you!
Do we need a diploma and student debt to wake us up?
Stop, tread water. Look around. Notice how fortunate you are. Be grateful. Consider the shortness of time. There are no guarantees. Listen to your heart. The water is amazing. We are in an ocean of opportunity. Now what?
Thanks for reading. Now Commence! John