I've been seeing a lot of news coverage of graduation commencement speeches. Sandra Bullock surprised a senior class at a New Orleans high school with a short address and Charlie Day yelled at the Class of 2014 at Merrimack College. They gave certain advice to graduates such as:
- Bet on yourself
- Don't pick your nose in public
- Make your own opportunities
- Leave the house with a skip in your step
- Don't give a shit about what people think
Of course, seeing all of these commencement videos reminds me of my own graduation, which took place a year ago.
We didn't have a super famous person come to our school. I kind of remember that he was a pretty successful entrepreneur and that he talked about Hurricane Sandy. But I don't remember really what his advice to us was.
I do remember being scared and sad for a lot of weeks after graduation. Scared that I was back at home to no job prospects or graduate school prospects. Sad that I left the happy, comfortable home I made in San Diego with my friends. Life had just become fifty times more confusing than it was before I got a diploma.
Despite all the wisdom and advice that people tried to pass on to me, I did not take chances or do something crazy. I didn't move across the country to start a new life. I didn't join the Peace Corp. I played it safe.
My life is pretty simple as of now because of this. I have two part-time jobs now, meaning that I make my own money and am able to slowly pay off my student loans. I live in my childhood home. I am surrounded by the love and support of my family and friends. I live in a town that just declared a stage two drought condition and I live with two dogs.
I have career and life goals, but you don't need to hear more about them.
I've realized that I can talk about my goals over and over again, but the thing that really matters is what I'm doing right now to make them happen.
When I graduated, I thought that I had to be doing something amazing right now, one year after graduating. I actually know some people from my class who are doing the extraordinary. Some of my classmates are in the Peace Corp and some have moved or plan to move far away from their homes to start a new career. But I'm not them.
So what am I doing right now? What am I going to do after I finish this blog post? Will I keep marathon-ing television shows that I've watched before on Netflix? Will I ever finish that story I've been working on? Will I go take pictures of those purple trees that I saw yesterday?
Probably neither of these things. I will probably put on my shoes, do my make-up, and go to work, where I will be picking up half-eaten string cheese from the ground and getting tear stains on my jeans.
While it's not glamourous (I don't think taking care of children will ever be anything close to it), I have the job for a reason, and until further notice, it's what I'm doing now. And I can't really picture myself doing anything else at this moment.
It doesn't really matter if what I'm doing right now is amazing or not. Because there are a lot of amazing things ahead for me that I'm building towards.
And all I have to do is concentrate on what I'm doing now.