Congratulations graduating class of 2014:
To the class of Twitter, and Facebook, and technologies yet to come. Yes, I am writing in a medium that many of you consider antiquated, so I hope Mom and Dad (or Grandma) share this with you or you catch the digital version on your phone.
I doubt a local superintendent would hand me the microphone to give you a stirring graduation speech. They know better than to let a loose cannon roll into the commencement room floor.
Many of you have big plans once your tassel is turned. No doubt you want to set the world on it’s heels, come up with the latest viral video, invent a video game or devote yourself to some extreme sport. Some will find a job, some will go to college and some will defend our country. Most of you will leave home and venture into the world. Maybe you will come back here, maybe you won’t.
Yes, Mom and Dad, they do come back. After six years away from home, 10 if you count college, my wife and I moved back to where my roots were planted. We left the big city and returned to my hometown.
Yes, like you I had big plans. Most of them involved getting out of my hometown and never turning back. But, you know what I found out?
After having a child, with another on the way, home didn’t seem all that bad compared to the big city. So my wife and I agreed, and we picked up our big dreams and we moved back to southern Ohio.
My hometown newspaper was where my dream to be a big time journalist would have to come to fruition. That was not a bad move at all.
I am here to tell you, that unfortunately most of you will not become Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, George Bush or Barack Obama, Blake Shelton or Lady Gaga. There is nothing wrong with that.
Most of you will spend every minute of your time trying to carve out some kind of an existence. Yes, you might have to move back in with Mom and Dad. When you move back, you might have your spouse with you if not an additional papoose or two.
Earning a living can be hard and school helps prepare you for the hard knocks of life. You have been approved to proceed.
There is much to come, job, companionship, family and putting down roots.
Like I said, you can trust me on this because it happened to me. There’s nothing wrong with settling down and becoming a respectful member of the community and not achieving the fame and fortune you may have dreamed. Fame may not be all it is cut out to be anyway.
I really don’t have any tips on how to become rich and successful. Those ideas never worked for me, so I don’t see what good it would do to share them with you. But I will give you some tips that have served me well or things I have learned along the way.
1) Don’t take yourself too seriously — I had problems with this in my young adulthood (truth be known even today). Stop and smell the roses. Have a sense of humor, learn to laugh at yourself. It beats the alternative.
2) Don’t work all the time — You may think you are on the fast track, but many things suffer if you devote too much time to the job. The people you love will miss you and those connections may be lost forever. Don’t lose those important connections/memories with children.
3) Keep and maintain friendships — Oh you may not miss your school friends now, but after you have been away from them for a while you will realize why you cared for them in the first place. Don’t be afraid to look up an old friend and rekindle an old friendship even if it has been 30 years.
I have been going back to my high school reunions. Truly, I really didn’t like school, so I find it odd that I go back. I didn’t go back in the beginning, there are always reasons not to go. But like I said, in the last 10 years I have been going. It’s funny how in 10 minutes you can get up to date on someone’s life. Even the classmates you didn’t really get along with aren’t so bad later in life.
Want something that will stay with you for a lifetime? Make a friend.
4) Life’s tough, you have to roll with it — My recent illness has made me approach things day by day. Any day something or someone can be taken from you. Don’t let there be regrets. Tell the people that you love, that you love them. You never know when someone you care about may be taken from you or when it is your last day on Earth.
And with that graduates, I send you out into the world. To divide, conquer or just do your best! Make your Mommas and Poppas proud.
Congratulations, you did it! The next part is not easy, but you have plenty of time to work on it.
Steve Triplett is the managing editor of this newspaper.