a sure type thing.
somewhere on the internet, the commencement speech from a boston highschool teacher telling graduating students what every 18 year old should know, “you are not special” is going viral. pretty fantastic if you ask me. this shit gets me crazy excited, and by this shit, i mean honesty. his number crunching is correct. 37000 highschools in america which generates about 3.2 million graduates, swimming helplessly into the grown up world, where they not only are pressured to make responsible choices for their future, but survive in a fashionable and commendable manner. you don’t have to be 18 to be reminded that you’re not special, this applies to even a 30 year old like me.
yesterday a friend of mine and i had lunch in a little eatery near my house when we overheard chatter from the owner with a patron about job searching and money making. this lead us to look at one another and burst out in rather comical yet borderline pitiful laughter. is this where we thought we would be at this age? no, of course not. being 30, relatively poor, under-employed, semi-properly educated is definitely not where i thought i would be now, especially not if you asked me even a year ago. every morning i wake up and i remind myself that i am chasing my dreams, and this is it. nothing comes easy, and nothing will be handed to me. i need to pay my dues. seemingly some of my friends are wallowing in the same journeys. i told my friend this: “we are chasing our dreams, thats more than what some people can say about themselves!” and her response was: “this isn’t my dream, this isn’t what i want to do!” in which case helped me realize that so many don’t do what they love in life. hello, have you not hear of “YOLO” (acronym for you only live once for you less hip folks). a year ago, i was a zombie who went to work every day contemplating creative ways to plot the deaths of my colleagues around me. i knew i had to get out before i would be 30 and in prison. a year ago, i wasn’t any more special than i am now.
what i can say though is that it is hard. “why didn’t we do this when we were young? why didn’t we do this in our early 20’s?” asked my friend. good question. after further contemplation, i’d likely say i was just terrified, and allowed routine and convention to take over my life with spurts of randomness and spontaneity that were sufficient. having said that though, those moments of reckless living did sidetrack me for months, perhaps even years of keeping focused on what i actually wanted to do. so really, i enjoyed my trip as much as i did to get to where i am today. after all that, it’s still a challenge to stay focused.
so, i agree, you are not special. i obviously am not a teacher, nor am i anyone you should even let tell you such words. but if you read the whole transcript from the speech, he states very clearly that you aren’t special because ultimately we all are. i hope you understand that the way i do. i think during career and personal planning in highschool we were all instructed to write letters to our future selves. i would love to be able to get my hands on that letter today, so i can be reminded of how the world seemed to me when i was younger. at the same time, if i could write a letter to my 16 year old self, what would i say? honestly, i wouldn’t say anything at all. if i knew where i was going to be going, then getting here wouldn’t have been half the fun. is it so bad to be in one of the most uncomfortable and unstable stages of adult life, yet be the happiest? no, i don’t think so.
so just remember… live free. do things you love. focus on what makes you happy. be crazy and fall head over heels in love. laugh loud. be in the moment. dream dream dream, and dream big while you’re at it. don’t give up.