Hi seniors. I want to thank you for inviting me to speak to you this year. Since it is the last year here for both of us, it is meaningful that you want to hear parting words from me. I know that you really want some “shoutouts,” and there will be some, but I find I really do have some things to tell you. It’s true, living a long life does give one, if not wisdom, then, at least, perspective. I am delighted and honored to be able to share my perspective. The next few years should be amazing. Life has a new chapter. If you think you changed a lot in high school, just wait.
We are both graduating. You are going on to the years that will polish you into adulthood and the world of work, adventure, family and fruition. My graduation is a little more restful, but I will continue to explore the world both without and within. You have excitement and probably some fear about the challenges ahead. I share both of those feelings. I intend to study as I hope you are going to do. Developing an intellect is one of the ways to find peace and connection to the world. Developing an intellect, an open interest in the world, is what you should be doing during the next few years. It is not as easy as it sounds. You have to taste everything and be open to the taste of everything. If someone were to ask me what to do (I know you won’t because what young person really likes to get advice), I would tell you to read a history of some earlier era, read the latest edition of Scientific American. Reread one of the novels you were made to read in school except this time read it for enjoyment. Take a dance lesson or two. Go for a hike in the wild. Go to a museum and spend the time to read the captions. Majoring in some subject, learning a career, will give depth but make sure to also do the work to get breadth. Having an open, inquiring frame of mind builds on itself and gives you a taste for sampling the world. I am going off to explore the world as much as I can and I hope that you do so as well. Your task is to gain wisdom by studying the world.