Yesterday, at lunch with my coworkers, the talk turned to graduation. And commencement speakers.
While I think that college commencement speakers have a chance of leaving an impression, I think we can all agree that high school graduation speakers are, for the most part, a giant waste of time and oxygen. I can say this because I was 1 of the speakers at my high school graduation. I gave what is probably 1 of the worst speeches ever, and I’d like to personally apologize to every human crammed inside that sweltering school gym.
Also, 18-year-olds don’t listen to anything.
But if you could go back and give your 18-year-old self advice, what would you say?
My coworkers were hilarious. A flood of words rushed out over our table:
- Don’t do drugs!
- Don’t have sex with that guy!
- Don’t take out all those student loans!
- Don’t get married!
- Don’t date him, him, or him!
Lots of “don’ts.” And we all agreed that our 18-year-old selves wouldn’t have paid any attention. But there was also the unspoken understanding that all of those horrible mistakes got us where we are today, and were somehow necessary. Horrible, yet necessary – much like vaccinations, or family vacations.
To my 18-year-old self, I’d probably just say this:
Everything is going to be fine. Wear sunscreen.
Because I was wound a bit tightly, and am just now learning how to let the fuck go. Also, sun damage is no joke.
So, happy graduation season. And if you’re in Iowa, enjoy eating ham buns at a party inside a cleaned-out garage. My husband makes fun of ham buns, acting like they’re just ham sandwiches. But we know the difference.