I’ve been a teacher for more years than most high school seniors have been alive, and I’ve been a person for even longer than that. There are many things I still want to do with my life, many dreams I still cling to, but I’m not young anymore. I look at that as a good thing: I’ve had experiences that have given me valuable perspective on the world and my place in it.
Don’t Rush Into Things
High school seniors don’t have that yet, and they shouldn’t. If I could give one piece of advice to this year’s graduating class, it would be this: don’t rush into things. The world is a big place-a lot bigger than you are-and there’s a lot to be enjoyed. Too many people never get to live life to its fullest because they set out on one road early on and won’t allow themselves a detour.
I know that at this point in your life, you’re surrounded by people telling you that now is the time to make decisions. Supposedly, if you don’t know what you want to be or do by now, you’re barely worth the air you’re breathing. The truth is, though, that that’s complete and utter nonsense-I’ve never met a high school senior who was certain of his or her purpose in life. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do next, remember that you’re not alone.
Be Willing to Change Your Mind
And even if you think, right now, that you know what it is you’re supposed to be doing, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll get out in the world and find that you don’t. You’ll realize that you have a different dream or desire, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
There are some decisions we make that we can’t take back, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise. Developing a capacity for commitment is important. I, however, spent years and years in a job I didn’t enjoy because I tricked myself into thinking I’d made a lifelong commitment when I hadn’t.
Don’t do what I did. Get out there and chase your dreams, and don’t stop. One day, people will try to tell you that you’re too old for wishes and ambitions. Don’t believe them.