I'd like to offer the graduates in our area a belated congratulations and a tidbit of advice — because you haven't received enough of that in the last couple of weeks, right?
Over the past couple of years, my message to the cap-and-gown crowd has focused on getting some sun and enjoying the brief summer respite before life hits you right in the face with a fire hose.
This time, I'm not going to weigh down my words of wisdom with a “don't worry, be happy” mantra. But I would like to examine another chestnut of commencement season: “The world is your oyster.”
I am reasonably sure that whoever penned this philosophical tidbit was the kind of eternal optimist who sees the glass half full. The outer shell of the oyster, while course and jagged, is unique and like no other. The meat can be prepared and eaten any number of ways, depending on your preference.
Its undiscovered pearl was probably a metaphor for your life — its riches just waiting to be discovered from within. It is a thing of beauty made so only through the passage of time.
To the glass-half-empty pessimist, the oyster is something nearly impossible for an amateur to open without getting one's hand sliced to ribbons by the shucking knife. Once you get out of the emergency room, you have the same culinary options, but without proper experience, you could serve yourself a tainted morsel that could have you feverish and vomiting for a few miserable days.
And more likely than not, your oyster is not going to have a pearl — someone else got that one.
The wisdom I'm trying to impart via the shellfish is this: Your life is going to turn out exactly as you see it.
If you want to see your life as a shell you can't crack open without frustrating and hurting yourself, it will be that way. If your every endeavor is shaded by the imminent threat of discomfort and disease, it will be yours. And if you are prone to believe you will choose the oyster with nothing of beauty and value within while others get the pearl, why would you be surprised if that is exactly what you get?
If, on the other hand, you see your life as a completely original thing of beauty, filled with opportunity and waiting to be opened, it will be. You want your options to be varied and vast? It's your choice. If you believe your life will contain the pearl, it will.
The universe is a very generous thing. It'll give you exactly what you want. But don't take my word for it. Go ahead and see your life as excruciatingly difficult. Look at the future as hopeless. See the notion of financial stability as something others achieve, and watch how generously the universe delivers on your thoughts.
Conversely, try thinking and dreaming big. See your life as full of potential. Envision yourself eventually having the life you want and experiences that make you happy.
Unlike when you were a child, you now have the choice to determine your existence. What happens next is up to you.
So go ahead and expect your success, not your failure. Do what you need to make your life extraordinary. If it means going back to school, that's great. If it means moving to another part of the country, that's great too. There are no rules or set ways to make life wonderful.
There is no proven path to success except to do the things that bring you joy and cause no other person or thing pain. Why is this last part important? Because everyone around you has their own idea of what their proverbial oyster is. It's not up to you to define it for them. Focus on your own oyster.
And finally, be patient. Because what you are getting this afternoon is probably what you asked for a while back.
GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.