I won't claim this as my own. I'm reposting and passing along - feel free to do the same if it moves you. We have the author's permission:
Thoughts Around Graduation Day - For Folks of All Ages!
by Jess Hardin
If there is one thing that High School and College Graduations remind me of, it’s how many harmful illusions students often carry with them as they enter the so-called adult world. I’m talking about culturally embedded lies that we hear from the time we are kids, lies such as young women and men thinking they’re “not good enough” when they have gifts and abilities that make them not only worthy but special. Or believing that their worth hinges on what will be their income level, or that money equates with happiness. It would seem that a majority of modern graduates imagine that they are personally powerless and the government all-powerful, that fitting-in is more important than distinguishing oneself, that technology can fix everything, and that love is an assuaging comfort instead of an opportunity, celebration, commitment and service. Commencement speakers all across America and the civilized world give speeches that reinforce the stock illusions as well as ever more debased values of the dominant world-order. It makes me wish I could be invited to stand before a graduating class or two myself, a token patriot outlaw from the outback advising and extolling an entirely different way of perceiving and doing. I can picture letting loose with an uncensored speech that provoked as well as affirmed, resulting in the departing students tearing off their bleak gowns and dancing like Boston Tea Party rebels atop their folding seats.
A small sampling of this sort of outlaw counsel follows, including novel (and sometimes archaic!) concepts that you might find enlightening or helpful no matter what your age or stage of life:
Every moment is a decisive moment, and your future is a blank canvas. The only things standing in your way are the fears and habits you are attached to. No one is in charge of your life but you!
You are an American citizen, not subject. Freedom isn’t something guaranteed, it’s what you personally claim and then defend.
Don’t depend on other people’s rules to determine your actions. Develop a personal code of honor, and then live up to it! Promise your allegiance to your friends, your family, your community, your cause, and the land you love. And always keep your promises.
Responsibility isn’t obligation – it’s the willingness and ability to respond.
Beware of any solutions that are sold, bottled or regulated.
Be suspicious of anything that requires fossil fuels, brags about being “disposable,” admits to having been artificially colored or flavored, or pretends to be something it’s not.
Bravely explore anything and everything that increases your degree of sensation and depth of experience, that stretches, inspires, informs or invigorates you. Taste the many diverse flavors of life, being sure to spit out the bad.
Travel and explore as much of the world as possible. This will not only make you familiar with other regions and other kinds of lifestyles, but it will also help you appreciate any place that you ever call home.
Neither our problems nor the problems of the world are caused by feeling too much. Rather, they’re caused by us feeling too little! By opening up to the pain of conscious existence, we also open ourselves up to the fullest experience of joy.
Try to remember that “making a living” isn’t the same as really living. Find work that reflects not only your skills, but also your beliefs.
Watching adventure stories on the television is a poor substitute for having adventures yourself.
There are just so many hours between birth and death… spend them carefully, on what matters most. Ideally you will discover, and then fulfill your most meaningful purpose.
The point isn’t to gather riches, but for us to have a richer life.
Having toys is not the same as having fun. Focus on sports where you actually get to play. Swim in chemical-free water, and in places where you’re “not supposed to be.” Walk barefoot through clover. Cry, laugh and sing. Hug and howl!
Never take anything for granted — not your health, your home or your family. Never answer a question by saying “whatever,” because it means that you don’t care and you know very well that you do!
It would be wise to avoid any drugs, careers, relationships or lifestyles that deaden your awareness, impair your growth or distract you from your goals or calling.
And pay attention, for goodness sake! Focus solely on your sweetheart when you’re with him or her, and on no other food than that food which you’re eating.
Remember that nothing is worth anything, unless it’s authentic!
All events, both good and bad, are valuable lessons that we can be grateful for. Avoid stubbing your toe on the same rock twice. And don’t fritter away too much precious time explaining your mistakes – just learn from them, then go on!
All the world is a great gifting cycle. Learn to give all you can. And just as importantly, learn how to graciously accept every gift that comes your way.
Take time to “be little” even if you think you’re at an age when you need to be “wise” or “cool.” Crawl around on the ground after interesting bugs, look for animal shapes in the clouds, and don’t worry if you get grass stains on your clothes!
Find divine Creation and your place in it, in every blade of grass, in every home’s backyard, but don’t forget to make pilgrimages to truly wild places.
Expose every harmful illusion or lie. And whatever is real and good, protect and nourish with all your might.
There is no one that will do the vital work for you, and thus there’s nobody else to blame! Both the responsibilities and the rewards are yours. Take credit! Then give thanks…
You have dreams, hopes, maybe even a special calling that you’ve seldom told anybody about. Now it’s time to live those dreams!
Remember that it’s hardly ever “too late” for anything, so long as you start right now.
Expect a miracle. That miracle is you.