Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.
I encourage anyone over 2 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '08:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, Wine would be it. The long-term benefits of drinking wine have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 5 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Do one thing every day that scares you. The adrenaline is best high and aphrodisiac Nature can offer you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love SMS. Delete all the hateful messages from your cell phone.
Remember that no one has control over what happens tomorrow so make the best decision upon the facts you have now but don’t worry about the consequences.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Even if you have nowhere to do it but your bathroom.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. And you’ll be surprised to know how less you knew about the person you know from more than 20 years.
Take a trip alone with your dad.
Be nice to your siblings. No matter how much you hate them now. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Make friends on not much fun you have, but who lessens your discomfort the most. Honesty among friends is a highly underrated virtue. Look for it.
Remember that picking up a bad habit is easy but kicking it is very difficult. That all habits begin with just once and just once more. Don’t force anyone to quit too. Don’t let anyone force you too.
No matter what Jhumpa Lahiri said about traveling by books without moving an inch. Traveling is the best way to know the country you were born in. And the strange people living in it.
Do an MBA, or at least try to do one. You’ll never realize how much there is to know about yourself otherwise.
Go to a good college. Otherwise you’ll never know what the phrases ‘Shining India’ and ‘Fire in the belly’ really mean.
Learn to play at least one musical instrument. You’ll realize how much music there is inside you.
But be careful whose advice you buy, and be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the Wine.
-- Anirudh Singh Chauhan