Dear Graduate: Life in a few words.

It’s the time of year when lots of advice is handed out in graduation speeches. Flowery sentences and tortured paragraphs. I can’t remember a damn word of mine. Which is why, when I address a graduating class, I like to keep it short - listening to anybody for longer than twenty minutes puts me to sleep, even if I’m the one doing the talking. And I have concluded that the absolute best, most honest, most helpful bottom line to deliver is always the same. It’s a 60-second lifesaver to throw to every student, one that respects, protects and celebrates each individual’s abilities and unique gifts. Here it is:
*As you go through your life, be true to yourself. No one knows as much about you as you do.
*Do no intentional harm. And remember,
*You are what you think.
     We live in our heads. There are fancier ways of saying it, and lots of expensive research about it,
     but the truth is you create your own day. No one is in there but you.
*Find your bliss.
     Your bliss is the happy thing that makes you forget, even for a moment, everything else.
      (For me, it’s the sound of my hockey skates on the ice. Never mind that when I fall it takes four
      people to get me up.)
*Keep your style.
       Life throws you curves. People tell you how, when, where, and what you should be. Don’t let it
       change the way you celebrate your own style. The way you feel about yourself will always affect
       the way you feel about others.
*Nurture your mind. Feed it, challenge it every day. People don’t stop learning because they get old;
       they get old because they stop learning. (Grandmaster Pereira)
  Nurture your body. Give it what it needs and respect it.
  Nurture your spirit. Give it space and quiet. It supports those two off-the-chain entities just
      above, and will outlast them.

That’s it. If someone had told me this at graduation, I’d remember more than the fact that Susan Russell was sitting on my left and some kid whose last name began with an S was on my right. And that my girlfriend’s party was canceled by her father the cop. After he bailed her out.