AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have a tradition of providing our graduates with a bit of life advice. You know, to prepare them for the crushing emotional defeat that is adulthood’s unending sequence of train wrecks, kaiju attacks and other disasters. This series of tidbits may seem familiar to those who have graduated more than once. I’m not saying I’ve wholesale stolen from my previous advice columns … just mostly
1.) Everything that is worth doing is kind of difficult. It’s either legitimately challenging, overwhelmingly tedious or a little bit of both. Don’t give up on something you want to achieve just because it’s a pain. There’s a good chance all of those hours of intensive labor will prove worthwhile once it’s complete.
Disregard if your goal is “become an Instagram influencer.”
2.) If you haven’t already, you’re going to have a lot of people tell you, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” This is true. It is also an unobtainable goal for 92.3 percent of people. The world doesn’t continue to operate if everybody is doing what they love. The world needs millions upon millions of people who aren’t doing what they love for a living. These people deserve more respect than they get.
3.) This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t work towards the goal of doing what you love, particularly if what you love is something that can be made into some sort of commodity. For example, fancy hats or novelty T-shirts featuring trite sayings like “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Perfect. But do not sacrifice everything else to reach that goal.
4.) Even if you don’t do what you love for a living, keep doing what you love just because you love doing it. Find time to read or play video games, write a novel, rebuild that classic car your half-insane uncle gave you in a fit of madness. Go ahead and put the finishing touches on that musical version of “Night of the Living Dead” you’ve been working on since middle school. Don’t be shy about posting that latest piece of “Fortnite” fan-fic. Anything you enjoy doing is a worthwhile endeavor.
5.) You’ve got problems. I’ve got problems. That guy over there with the eye patch who appears to be in deep conversation with a decaying Happy Meal box has problems. We’re all in the same leaky boat. Let’s try to be nice to each other.
6.) Genuine happiness comes from all kinds of places, but mostly from our relationships with a few key people: family, friends, lovers, a selection of fictional characters from pop culture with whom we become obsessed. Keep these relationships going. I’m saying this as a semi-hermit: You’re going to need other people at some point in your life. They often have stuff you need to borrow and can’t afford.
7.) Here’s the last of it: Eventually, you’ll be dead. Try to squeeze in all that cool stuff you want to do while you’re not dead.