The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
On Tuesday, I celebrated the graduates at one of the local high schools, and this evening after work, I will watch even more graduates walk. I am sure that I will laugh, cheer, and cry. Working with young people is one of the biggest blessings in my life, and I am so grateful for everything that I have learned with and from them.
For today’s graduates, I want to remind you that you are unique. Yes, thousands upon thousands of people your age will be graduating from high school this year, but you are that only one who is you. Only you can tell your story. Only you can run the races or play the games in your future the way you will. Only you will create what you will create–whether it’s an oils on canvas masterpiece or a baby boy or girl down the road.
In his aforementioned speech, Neil Gaiman concluded: “And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes.” That is great advice! You will make mistakes as you continue to grow and learn. Make the most of them. Don’t bury yourself in a grave of errors when you can instead look at what went wrong and make better choices the next time around.
Tonight is yours. Celebrate, cherish each moment, hug your friends close and feel their hearts beat against yours. Enjoy every last goodbye for this time in your life. Tomorrow, you have a clean slate and a new start. Make the most of it. I’m so proud of you, and I love you all!
*from his 2012 commencement speech for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia