Friday, June 10, 2011

Meme: Commencement Address

Yesterday, I discussed giving myself a challenge of writing a Commencement Address. I don’t really have many people who read my blog, but this meme is more for myself than for others. It is just a writing exercise I suppose, inspired by all of the graduation news I have seen recently.

Here is the body of what I might say at graduation (below). If you do this exercise, let me know, and I will read yours as well.


When I was younger, I thought life was all about balance. In actuality, a balanced life is a life that does not challenge you. Sometimes you need to focus all of your energy into one area of your life. I mean, we don’t bat an eye when a new mother and father focus all of their energy on that bundle of joy; we recognize the importance of being unbalanced at times. I was unbalanced in college as well – studied continuously for a few weeks around finals. Spent another week going out every night (it is harder than it sounds).

Read to enhance your life, not to escape from it.

Have sex (religious folks can insert “in a marriage/monogamous relationship”) to express love, to wash away a crappy day, because your lover looks happy, sad or indifferent. Have sex to say “there is nothing this good on television.” Have sex more than you would admit to your friends because it helps us connect with the ones we most love.

Skinny dip in a public pool at least once. You will be able to draw upon that experience later in life and remember it fondly. And if you get caught, the stories might even be better.

Don’t trade sex for food. Unless the food is really good. Or you think the sex will be really good.

Eat your veggies and learn to cook. Learn to dress up things that are good for you with spice. And add spice to all aspects of your life. It makes the bland palatable, and it makes the wonderful extraordinary.

Say “yes” to a date when you want to say “no.” Either you will be pleasantly surprised, or you will have funny stories to tell others.

Forgive your family even if you don’t think they deserve forgiveness. The relationship with them is worth more than any lesson you can teach them. And swallowing pride is less painful than not sharing their lives when you get older.

Change the batteries in your smoke detector every six months.

Drink red wine.

Laugh at children’s jokes, even if you don’t get them. Or even if the joke is about farts or poo. Seeing them join in the laughter is worth every bit of the acting you may have to endure.

Technology, once Fix-a-Flat was developed, has not improved our lives at all.

Don’t be embarrassed to purchase condoms. If you are single, it means you are taking responsibility for your sexual health. If you are a woman, just think of it is making a statement about not relying on a man to protect you in all aspects of your life. But never make love with a man who you don’t think will protect you.

Buy memorable gifts for your nieces and nephews.

Alcohol won’t solve your problems, but it does make those around you seem more interesting.

You will find yourself trying on a dress you can’t afford that looks awesome on you. Buy the dress anyway.

I guess I could sum up these thoughts with the following. We are only on this earth for a short time - make the most of it. Don't let fear keep you from being the person you are called to be. And share your talents with the world; your gifts were never yours to keep anyway.

11 comments:

Xmichra said...

Very well written! I think the best part was the last part :"And share your talents with the world; your gifts were never yours to keep anyway." ~ That is heavy and so true. Good job Leesa!

Deb said...

Honestly? ---This has to be...the best advice I have ever received or read before in my life. It was honest, raw and so down-to-earth. This hit home for me re: forgiving relatives and pushing the pride away. You're absolutely right on every. single. thing you touched upon. Thank you.

Michael said...

Amazing!! "Don't let fear keep you from being the person you are called to be" Yes! Yes! and Yes!
Thank you so much for writing this!

Zephyr said...

I love this line too: "Don't let fear keep you from being the person you are called to be." That's why I will soon no longer be married.

Leesa said...

xmichra: that was my favorite part as well.

deb: you humble me.

michael: you are quite welcome.

zephyr: you and me both, sweetie. We are divorcing because of fear, more than anything else.

mrwriteon said...

Leesa, my dear. It is so nice you are back. I've really missed you a lot. And your wisdom is as succinct and to the point as ever. You made my day by commenting on my blog.

Xmichra said...

I have played along :)

Leesa said...

ian: thanks for such a sweet note.

xmichra: thanks, sweetie. Loved the words. Loved the thoughts.

Knot said...

http://gawker.com/5811485/conan-obrien-delivers-the-years-best-commencement-speech

Sherpa said...

What is a spoke detector, and why do I need to detect them?

Leesa said...

knot: thanks for the video reference.

sherpa: thanks for the catch.