Graduation

Its graduation season for many high schools and universities in Thailand and since I’m probably never going to give a commencement speech today’s Public Issues is dedicated to them.

I guess the first order of business is congratulations. Congratulations on completing the first leg of your journey and make no mistake this is just the first leg.

There are a few universal truths that you should know before you begin the next leg of your journey. Prices will rise, you will get old but remember that no matter how old you get in the eyes of your parents you will always be a baby. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 and starting university or 49 with your kids starting university in the eyes of your parents you will still be in diapers and a dummy. Accept it and cherish your time with them, they won’t be here forever.

Also remember that we live in a world that’s far from perfect. We live in a world where other people around your age are willing to blow themselves up or fly planes into buildings or kill for a scrap of what you have right now. Remember how lucky you are and also remember that you can either add to the various imperfections that make up our tiny little speck of dust or try to make it better. Remember this whether you’re sitting in a boardroom at 30 or trekking the world with the peace corps at 24.

I am sure many of you are apprehensive about what the future holds and I am here to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you knew everything you were going to do and know how its going to pan out then what is the point of living. There is mystery in not knowing, its great its beautiful its romantic. I know people who had it all planned out when I graduated high school, the ivy leaguers, the overachievers who knew that they were going to do this and this and this when they graduated. Guess what? Life doesn’t work that way. Even those guys were thrown curveballs along the way, even the smartest kid in the room will experience failure and frustration and moments when they didn’t know what was going on and didn’t know what was coming next. And I am telling you right now that hey, that is okay. Its okay to not know.

But also bear in mind that there is a difference between not knowing and not doing. If you have a dream, if you have a goal, if you have a craving for white castle, follow it, do it because at the end of the day even if you failed the process of acting upon your dreams are going to lead you to places you would never have guessed at or known about and you’ll be better for having experienced it.

I leave you with just a small and tiny thought. We, all of us, are just a collection of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms sitting on top of a planet made of carbon and hydrogen and oxygen. We’re all we have people. So to quote Theodore Logan and Bill S. Preston, “Be excellent to each other.”

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