I was wondering what advice I’d give my graduating senior high students as they were beginning their careers and I was ending mine. It turned into a kind of optative prayer for the non-religious. The music is Sturzstrom’s (tglancy’s) beautifully simple piano reminiscent of Satie or Debussy.
A profane prayer.
I don’t wish you eternal happiness.
It’s not achievable or even desirable. Sadness makes the rare occasions of ecstasy possible just as mountains are not possible without valleys.
Know that every lowpoint in your life precedes a better one. Unless you cheat yourself and end it early.
May you never have a job that contributes nothing to others and gives you no satisfaction.
The greatest joys you will have will not be achieved seeking your own pleasure but doing something for someone else without expectation of reward. But rewards will come anyway.
Don’t put up with a meaningless life in the hope that someone will rescue you, unless that someone is you.
There are many routes to success but you may need to change lanes constantly. Buying stuff to impress other people is like trying to catch bubbles with a mousetrap.
Some of the most beautiful people you meet will disappoint you.
Some of the ugliest will surprise you.
Keep your eyes and ears open – every day something will surprise you.
You will hear a lot more if you shut your mouth.
Everyone sees opportunities every day. Interesting people will take advantage of them. It’s up to you whether you’re one of these people.
Most people that offer you something are genuine – accept and you will make the right decision most of the time.
May you not endure an unrewarding job in the hope that after retirement your world will be perfect. Every day of your life you waste is a day you can never get back.
Everyone makes mistakes. Smart people learn from them. Dumb ones make the same mistakes, day in, day out.
Listen to advice. Then do what you think is right anyway.
Try to keep everyone happy and you will keep no one happy. Including yourself. Morality is not complicated. Do what’s best for most people most of the time and you will gain respect.
Be proud of your strengths but accept your weaknesses.
The person who tries to be perfect is destined for a life of personal misery.
The person who claims to be perfect is destined to live with no friends.
Acts of kindness never go unnoticed.
You will remember some kid’s small kindness years after you have forgotten which brand of shoes he wore.
The “in crowd” you so desperately want to be a part of will break up into separate nobodies in a few years.
Advice for girls only: Potential lovers are very forgiving about body-shape, height, breast- or penis-size. They don’t want a partner who goes on about their weight, their self-esteem or gossips about everyone else. They just want someone who smiles and makes them a laugh.
Advice for boys only: (see Advice for girls only.)
People close to you will die. Grieve your loss, celebrate their life and determine to enjoy your precious time with the ones who are left.
You will die. This is not a reason for despair.
You don’t need to believe in a god or some universal soul or energy-pool to live a good life.
At the end of your life there will be no memories and no “soul” – just as there were none of these before you were born.
But parts of you will go on.
The elements which made up your body will be recycled throughout the universe.
You will exist in the memories of those who crossed your path.
You will be remembered for small kindnesses.
May your life be a useful one.