Today, our Glendale public schools are holding their commencement ceremonies around town. Thousands of young adults and almost adult-aged kids will be saying good-bye to those structured years of education that were overseen by parents (remember those Thursday folders?). Many are looking forward to moving on to college, trade school or the job market.
Our third son is one who will take to Stengel Field tonight to receive his diploma. He has been accepted to a college in Denver and I wonder if he is as anxious to attend the school as he is to be away from home.
In any case, he will be pretty much on his own, responsible for making the day-to-day decisions that have been made for him over the last 18 years. Everything from deciding meals to managing his time will be solely his decision. I only hope that he chooses well; his father and I have heard sad stories of how some kids are just plain overwhelmed at college and crash and burn. If that’s the case, however, we offer a soft spot for him to land.
So, keeping in mind the many changes, challenges and opportunities that await our graduates, I offer my own commencement speech to the class of 2009:
First off — congratulations. You have successfully completed a course of education that began when you barely had figured out how to walk and talk. Over the last several years, you’ve probably gained and lost friends, learning along the way what was important in your relationships. Hopefully you’ve used that knowledge to build a support system that will give you advice when you need it and a shoulder to cry on when you don’t. Looking back, things that once made you happy when you were a little kid probably don’t any more. Let this be a lesson so that you’ll search for peace, something that will withstand the ups and downs of life, rather than a transient feeling of happiness that can change with your mood. Happiness is great, but it’s a feeling that changes.
And the one thing that you can count on is change. As the song says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” That’s true with the good stuff and the bad stuff. Just hold on because it’ll be different soon.
Right now our nation is experiencing an economy that is depressed. Opportunity may be harder to find, but it’s there. As difficult as it is to find a job or pay for school, look hard and be creative — you may end up going down a path that you never thought was possible. It may end up holding the keys to your dreams. Be open to new ideas — you don’t have to accept them, but be open to hearing them.
Have faith in something bigger than yourself. After all, we are all flawed. We get tired. We get angry. We suffer loss. By having faith in something more than what we are feeling, we begin to look outside ourselves to see how we can help others.
And everyone needs help. Understand that everybody has baggage, that there is no one untouched by pain. Reach out and help.
Ultimately, though, the key is to get over it. Don’t let whatever has hurt you define who you are. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize that the better part of your life is over and you were too busy being miserable to embrace all it had to offer.
Finally, love. Love fully, be kind and laugh as much as you can. Not only will you make those around you glad they know you, but you might help someone along in their journey.
On a personal note, I want to say thank you to those who have called and sent e-mails since the announcement the CV Sun is soon 'merging' with the Glendale News-Press. We all appreciate your thoughts and warm wishes.
ROBIN GOLDSWORTHY is the city editor of the Crescenta Valley Sun. She can be reached at (818) 637-3230 or at Robin.Goldsworthy@latimes.com.