The Graduate


The Graduate of 2018

Born at the turn of the century (does that sound strange?  It does to me.), they don’t have a moniker yet like Baby Boomers or Generation X or Millennials.  Names like Generation Z have been offered up, but nothing definitive sticks.  I have one, a grandson, born in January of 2000.  Last week he graduated from high school as his mother, my oldest daughter, posted on Facebook his time as a caterpillar is over —  time to fly little butterfly.  All the excitement, pomp and circumstance, family celebration party, teary-eyed reminiscences of his mother and promises of a solid future.


What advice would I give him?  The same advice I would give someone getting ready to retire.  I believe it’s good advice for any new start in life.

  1. Believe in yourself.  You have innate gifts.  Be confident in your abilities.  Do in life what you want to do, not what others want for you.  There are lots of people out there with lots of advice (including me) on how things “should” be.  Realize that when the “should” word comes out, you are listening to their ego.  Take it for what it is and make your decision for what you want.  Be a little selfish.  Pander to your ego.
  2. Follow your passion.  That old saying  “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is true no matter what your age.  I garden on a large-scale.  People often comment to me, “That’s a lot of work” to which I reply, “It’s not work to me.  I love doing it.”  Yes, do what you love!
  3. Never stop learning.  Going off to college or trade school or taking a job, graduation isn’t the end of your education.  People who are life-long learners continue to grow and thrive.  It doesn’t mean you have to take formal classes.  Stay open to opportunities.  Be curious about life in general.  Ask questions!  Investigate what makes something tick. Then, you’ll always have excitement in your life and something to talk about when you meet new people.
  4. Speaking of other people, keep your old friends and cultivate new friendships, too.  Growing up I was a Girl Scout.  We had a little song that went like this, “Make new friends and keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”  People with strong support systems have an easier time adapting to life’s ups and downs than those without.  Change is inevitable.  Form your posse to help you through the changes.
  5. Exploring the world goes hand in hand with never stop learning.  Even if it’s just the world in close proximity, be curious about what’s around you.  A Realtor friend recently sent me a list of all the summer happenings in the Upstate.  With enough activities to fill a page there’s plenty to do and see in my backyard.  Get off the couch and out the door.  Or explore the globe.  
  6. Enjoy each and every day.  Tomorrow is promised to no one.  Live in the moment being mindful of the sights, sounds and smells.  Touch the world you have in front of you.  Mind-spinning about the future or reliving the past is time lost forever.  Enjoy today.  And enjoy it with gratitude.  Revel in what you have, especially the things that can’t bought.  Materialism is over-rated.  Stuff won’t make you happy. 
  7. Lastly, life is what you make of it.  There will be good times and not-so-good times.  You will meet good people and not-so-good people.  Choose how you will respond or not respond to what or whom you encounter.  Live your life on your terms.  No one knows what’s best for you like you do.  

Fly, little butterfly, fly!

Dedicated to Jake and all the graduates of 2018, no matter where you are in the world.  You are our future.  Get out there and put your dent in the universe!



12 comments on “The Graduate

  1. Agreed, although some of it is perhaps less applicable for those 80+ than for near-20s. For most, there’s a pretty big difference in health and energy–although both ends of the age spectrum may share financial insecurities. The upside for the near-20s is that there’s plenty of time to do something about almost everything.


    • I couldn’t agree more Elizabeth! While writing this post, I was thinking, “ahhh to be 18 again and know what I know now.” No one gave me advice like this. Fortunately, I had the health and energy to work through the ups and downs AND the financial insecurities of youth. K


  2. Hey Kathy, I loved this post. It resonated so well for the young, the old, and everyone in between. I have been following your blog for the past three years, since the first week I retired. You helped me ease into retirement with your words of wisdom. Just like a good book might find its way into your life when you need its context, your blog always shows up in my inbox just when I need it. I am on a yoga retreat with a friend who is having a hard time with retirement. Your post showed up today just for her I’m believing. I will share your blog with her and hope it helps her ease into retirement as well.

    Thanks for being here.




    • You’re welcome JoAnn. And thank you for the kind comments. A yoga retreat sounds like heaven. I hope it helps your friend with her transition into retirement. From my personal experience along with a lot of reader comments, it takes about 2 years to adjust…along with lots of effort at finding new meaning and purpose. Maybe your friend would like being a yoga teacher! Best wishes to her and have fun at the retreat. K


  3. I’m sure you are proud and congrats to your grandson! How cool that there are now graduates born in the 21st century. My son, who is in his 20’s and doing well at getting established, I think but he’s Impatient, were talking and I reminded him of Abraham Lincoln’s words- I will study and get ready and some day my chance will come. Thanks for a good post!


  4. Kathy this is absolutely beautiful! I truly enjoyed reading it and taking everything in it to heart. This applies to everyone, and My hope is that graduates everywhere live these words. Our world will be a better place with much more contentment for all if each one of us lives each day with these words in our heart.. I miss you, Sheryl


  5. I’m retired and love your posts. They always seem so directed to me. Looking at today’s suggestions, l realize that I have failed most.
    I’m saddened, but not surprised. I guess it’s time to reverse my downhill path and work to get to the top where the sun will shines.
    Thanks for the motivation. ♥️


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