Virtually good grad advice

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graduation

It is fair to say that the high school graduating classes of 2020 are the absolute champs at senior skip day. Most of them left school sometime in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, and have not returned since. Many are now graduating without ever reconvening in a classroom.

They have pieced together graduation ceremonies and “drive by” or internet hosted graduation parties. What this means is that they are being cheated of the wisdom of all who would have gathered to eat cake in a garage while imparting sage advice such as, “Enjoy it. It goes fast kid!”

In honor of the graduates of the high school classes of 2020, I have compiled a list of random graduation advice. Pretend it was given to you at your grad party while you sipped a flat soda and wondered when you could leave this lame party to hang with your friends in a field somewhere.

This will go against everything you have probably heard about education and your future, but let me tell you that doing your best does not mean studying every hour of the day. A successful life includes balance. Relax, take breaks and take care of yourself. Enjoy yourself.

Value your friendships

Some friendships will last and others will not. In either instance, the memories are sweeter if you left on a good note. Always be kind and thoughtful. Go the extra mile. Keep in touch. During this time of life, it is so easy to lose friendships. It’s great to get a job and a partner, but don’t let that overshadow the friends who helped make you who you are today.

However, don’t live your life trying to please other people. Listen to your gut. This goes for friendships, work, family and romance. Take note of how people make you feel. Spend more time with the ones who inspire confidence, happiness and security.

Do not waste a moment trying to impress the wrong people. Be kind and move on. Pick your battles. You don’t need to always be right. A word of advice: being civil to people you don’t like is not called being “two faced.” It is called being an adult.

Romance

When dating, ask yourself if they are right for you instead of putting all your focus on being right for them. Don’t waste time and energy trying to impress the opposite sex. The ones who require you to jump through hoops aren’t worth impressing anyway. The ones who are worth it won’t require you to do so.

Let me tell you this truth: If your love interest wants you, you’ll know. If your partner comes between you and those close to you, he/she may not be the one for you. Most dates will not be love connections. It’s good to go out, have fun and meet people.

You won’t always know right away if someone is “the one,” but you will often know immediately when they are not. Cut your losses and theirs. Do not waste time on romantic relationships that have no real future. The person you choose to make a life with will be the foundation of not only your future — but that of your family. Choose wisely.

Family

Spend time with your extended family. As family trees branch out, getting everyone together becomes more challenging. Grab the chances you can now. Listen to the family lore. Let your aunts and uncles tell stories. Take photos with your grandparents. You will cherish them.

Focus on the good

Allow yourself to feel more joy. Focus on the good. People are often nasty because they feel bad about themselves; don’t take it personally. Fill your life with laughter. Be a problem solver, not someone who gives up. Do what makes you happy. Have a career that allows you to live a life you love, not a career that is your life.

Stop obsessing about your weight in your teens and twenties. Really, stop right now! You will love and appreciate your body more than you can imagine as you age. You are handsome and/or beautiful. Also, it’s smart to spend money on quality nutrition. You won’t always be able to live on fast food.

Having a plan is important, but so is the ability to pivot. Sometimes the right decision looks wrong and the wrong decision just might take you exactly where you need to be. Wonderful things can happen when you let go of trying to plan and control everything and let life take you unexpected places. Sometimes when things appear to be falling apart, they may really be coming together.

To sum it up my best advice is to stop worrying so much about what people think, do what makes you happy and remember that your mother is always right.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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