Your Future is Here Today

Wendy Aron
Aug 20, 2015 · 3 min read

A Sherman Colins Disorder Graduation Speech

When I moved into a new apartment last summer, I took with me just a few precious things. My cat. Her mouse. And some books that had personal meaning to me.

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Gift from my brother, a doctor

One day, I was skimming through one of these books when a yellowed newspaper clipping slipped out. Written by Woody Allen, it was a very funny send-up of a college graduation speech that had appeared in The New York Times around the time I was graduating from high school.

I guess I had tucked it away because it was the type of graduation speech I dreamed of writing for the Times one day.

Well, since then, I’ve been revising a lot of dreams.

Now, I’d like to write one of those great, uplifting commencement speeches — the kind that go down in Graduation Day program history. One full of beautiful, inspiring prose about finding one’s purpose, or how to better serve humanity.

The kind of speech that sticks in your head until the first elderly man drives into your graduation gift car in a Costco lot.

Instantly, your lofty thoughts are replaced with rage. You get out of your car and scream at the old man. In response, he drops dead of a heart attack.

You are so remorseful that you attend the old man’s funeral. There, you find out that the man you had scared to death was a clown related to the inventor of deer crossing signs.

Turns out you once fed a deer at a theme park in Florida, so now you are completely guilt-ridden. You think to yourself: “What a horrible person I am. The only way I’m going to redeem myself is to dedicate the rest of my life to making sure deer cross safely.” And you become the world’s first deer crossing aide:

That’s just one small illustration of how it’s not really thoughts that shape personal destiny, but rather, the feelings that give rise to these thoughts.

A single person’s self-concept can actually alter world history.

So, let’s clarify yours as of today.

Guaranteed the people you have chosen to hangout with for the past four years are going to give you invaluable insights into how you feel about yourself.

So consider your friends here today:

Have they said things that generally made you feel good?

Were you able to laugh together when things went wrong?

When you had conflicts, how did you feel about the way they were resolved?

How did they respond when you made a mistake that adversely affected their lives?

And most importantly of all, did they take the time to listen to you — especially when they had more enjoyable places to be?

Then, think of your professors, adults often not of your choosing.

What was it about them that made you like or dislike them?

Did they show respect for your ideas in class?

Were they compassionate when you handed an assignment in late?

How did they respond if you challenged a grade?

And most significantly, in addition to your academic performance, did they take an interest in any personal struggles you might have been going through? Did you feel comfortable talking to them about your personal life? And why was that?

The answers to these questions might lead to some productive conversations with the friends and family surrounding you today. Conversations you can use to identify the people here who are truly worthy of your love.

Because throughout life, you’re going to have to call on the emotional resources these people have helped cultivate within you. And with that type of support, you’ll be able to surmount any setbacks the future may hold.

Even dents put in your new car by the elderly.

If you know someone who needs to be loved, please recommend this post.

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