Class of 2000
[Y]ou will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People dont talk about the soul very much anymore. Its so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit.
[H]eres what I wanted to tell you today: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others.
Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.
Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of the azaleas, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live.
I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned.
By telling them this:
Consider the lilies of the field.
Look at the fuzz on a babys ear.
Read in the backyard with the sun on your face.
Learn to be happy.
you can learn all those things, out there, if you get a real life, a full life, a professional life, yes, but another life, too, a life of love and laughs and a connection to other human beings. Just keep your eyes and ears open.
Look at the view. Youll never be disappointed.
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