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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!