Class of 2017: Have goals, but enjoy the present

May 20, 2017 • Editorial

To those who are graduating this year, coming from my lofty years of experience, I am about to give you some timely advice. Take it for what it’s worth.
Don’t waste too much of your time worrying about the future. The real-life problems will blindside you at 1 p.m on Friday when you least expect it.
Enjoy where you are now, in the power of your youth. In 15 to 20 years, you will look back at your high school or college photos and realize how much possibility you had and how great you looked.
You will also ponder on the roads you never took and wish you had explored: That is inevitable. But for now, remember to wear sunscreen, and don’t drink and drive.
Have goals for the future, but enjoy your present. You are standing at a threshold you will only cross once, and right now there are many possibilities for you to explore.
Do one thing every day that scares you a little, but in a good way.
Sing, even if you sing off-key.
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, and more importantly, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead in life, sometimes you’re behind. The race will be long and, in the end, it’s really only you at the finish line.
Remember all the compliments you receive, forget all of the insults. If you figure out how to do this, please share it with me, because I’d really like to know.
Don’t feel too guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. Some of the most interesting people I know were still undecided at 19, and some of the most interesting 45-year-olds I know still don’t have a clue.
Keep your old love letters. Shred your old bank statements.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the Macarena on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.
Don’t be afraid of your body or of what other people think of it. It happens to be the greatest instrument you will ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it except in your living room.
Read the directions, even if you decide not to follow them.
Don’t read too many beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Instead, realize that your body is a miracle.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good, and someday you will appreciate that. Be nice to your siblings. They happen to be your link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but there are a few special ones that you will want to hold on to.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise, politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll remember that when you were young, prices were reasonable and politicians were noble.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you will have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out and, at the end of the day, you’ll want to have pride in yourself in earning your own paycheck.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 50, it will look 80.
Be careful whose advice you take, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the trash can, cleaning it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it is really worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Barbara Beck is publisher of the Roswell Daily Record. She can be reached at

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

« »