This spring I was really honoured when I was asked to speak at the Baccalaureate Address for this years Grade twelve class at ARHS. Both my children and my husband, as well as many good friends were in the audience. Here is what I had to say:
Lots of times people ask you, “What would you tell your younger self?” That is , at forty or fifty if you could go back and give your younger self advice what would you say. To be honest I never thought much about it until I was asked to speak to you tonight.
As I wrote out what I wanted to say to you here in this place, as you graduate, and go out in the world I thought a lot about who I was as a young woman, both what I believed and what I needed to hear and this is what I came up with:
When I was young, your age, I knew some of these things, but some of them I have come to know later.
Know how truly beautiful you are.
They say beauty is wasted on the young because you don’t know how truly beautiful you are. To those of us in our forties and beyond, each of you is pretty, each of you is handsome. You have not been blemished by time and wrinkles, but you will be. Every day you look in the mirror appreciate the good you can see, your young skin, your bright eyes, and don’t take it for granted. Enjoy it for it is fleeting. Stop being hard on yourself, and appreciate it . Youthfulness is the gift you have right now, know that you will not own it forever. It comes and it goes and it is meant to be savoured.
2. Feed Your Spirit.
We are constantly told to feed our minds and our bodies but society has basically stopped telling us to feed our spirits. You , right here and now, are more than just a body in a chair. You have a soul, and spirit inside of you that is both sacred. It is the part of you that never grows old yet it is ancient. You will need to nurture that spirit inside you as you go through life. As we face challenges it is that quiet space inside of us that will rise up to meet us and help us along the way. Find the source that you need to feed your spirit. For me it is through prayer. You will find your own way, just make sure you remember that sacred part of yourself for you will need it.
3. Create the Life You Want
All kinds of people will tell you what you should do but no one really knows what you outta do. Listen to the advice of those you love and respect but always make your own decisions. If you don’t know what to do next, just do something. Learn something, be active and engaged. Do not go down your parents basement and spend a winter playing video games. Always work always learn, and take a few chances because all those turns in the road will add up to your life.
Most likely your future, what you end up doing, where you end up living will be a big surprise. Be open to the twists and turns that arise. Some of you are on a straight path and will end up exactly where you plan to go. But those of you are the gifted few. The rest of us are blessed in another way and we need to be open to the possibilities. We have to remain curious and learn and discover where we are going by being open to the possibilities that surround us. I was really impressed this year when a young business student I know took a job working with autistic children. I loved his willingness to follow his spirit and try something that was off the beaten path for him. Maybe he’ll discover something totally different about himself, maybe this decision will change his life. Or maybe it won’t. Either way he will know. I say to you remain curious in the next few years and through out your life. Curiosity makes like more interesting. Be open to change, because it to is interesting.
Don’t expect your path to be easy because for many it isn’t but still it is beautiful and we are put here to experience this beauty.
4. Honour your parents
Right now take a moment to honour them. Your parents are your home base, they are your compass. They are passionate about you and they more than anyone else in the world believe in your goodness.
Yes I know They may have made mistakes. My parents did with me, and I did with my children. Plenty of them. But I know that parents try hard, and that they do the best they can with what they have to give. So as you take control of your future, and I encourage you to do that, to make your own choices, not the choices of your parents, always repsect and honour your them for they have got your back.
…and when they text you at one in the morning answer them. They just want to know you are okay.
5.Remember Where You Came From
Never ever, never ever forget where you came from and the community that raised you. Always come back home. We are the community that loved you and we are the community that is waiting for your return.
Please , always speak well of the place and the people that rallied around you, always let your compass guide you back here, for no matter where you go, what you learn, how successful you become, this place here, is home, and with all it’s humility it will remain your home.
And remember this, wherever you go, this community loves you.
We love you now and we’ll love then.
My friend Aline filmed the talk and if you would like to watch it you can click on this link: