An open letter to the graduating Class of 2021…
When you are young, it is easy to dream.
Take advantage of it.
Even if the odds are unfavorable, the options are endless.
I remember being about 10 years old when I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
My response was, “I want to be a professional basketball and soccer player.”
Not one or the other.
Of course, the adults that asked the question knew the gravity of reality, but they kept it hidden to themselves.
They knew the question was much less about the actual answer as it was to get a child to dream.
When the time is right, reality will always interject and redirect a child on its own.
Until then, allowing a child to gain some kind of perspective that there is a future version of themselves out there is important.
It is difficult for a child to consider those complexities, but the seed is planted.
In most cases, a child is simply going to respond with whatever their peak interests are at the time the question is asked.
And that’s fine because the dream does not have to be perfect, it simply needs to exist.
As graduating seniors, it is still easy to dream.
The idea of the future you — the one with a job and family and mortgage — still seems so far away. Maybe so, but remember that the sixth grade you thought high school graduation seemed far away, too.
In fact, the “future” is always closer in reality than it seems.
For elementary students, the idea of the future means going to middle school. For middle-schoolers, the future is high school.
For high-schoolers, the future is college. For college graduates, the future is the idea of a first job, first house, marrying the love of their life.
From the day you are born until some time in your mid-20’s, everything you do is a milestone. Everything you do is celebrated, then replaced with the next milestone to chase.
In this case, high school is over and now it is time to pursue a degree or find where you fit in the professional world.
But once all the major milestones are achieved, what will motivate you to chase the next dream? The natural timeline of dreams will be over.
Adults have a tendency to not dream as much as kids do.
Adults have all of the same options still available to them, but those options become more complicated because of finances, family, professional commitments, just to name a few.
It is why landing a career that excites you will be the most natural way to continue to challenge yourself. Work will remain fun instead of monotonous.
It will remain easy to dream.
Even if the odds are unfavorable, your options will be endless.
And so will your happiness.