The following is a high school graduation speech that is meant to actually be honest and not just the typical fluff and pander to make people feel good:
Wow, look at you. You are graduating high school. It’s exciting… although I’m sure for some of you, your teachers are even more excited that you’re leaving than you are; some of you are not good people. Either way it is exciting to be a graduate because you are now fully qualified to say, “Would you like to super size that?” You’re also qualified to say, “Welcome to Walmart,” but you won’t be able to find a job doing this because a retired pensioner looking for something to do already has that job, but that works out for Walmart because the retirees are friendlier than you and more likely to show up for work on time and not hung over; they also don’t ignore customers because of playing on cell phones like many young people… I haaattte that. The other thing you’re qualified for is to live in your parents’ basements because a high school diploma really gives you nothing. This paper you’re getting is pretty useless job wise, but this makes sense since, while some of you earned this diploma, others were pushed along being handed credits just to get you through the doors. The great thing is you are now on your own and you’ll quickly learn that you reap what you sow… so you’re screwed. Many of you will end up regretting not taking school more seriously because you will hit a wall; you won’t have any work ethic; you won’t understand what it means to focus on a task, and many of you don’t even have the basic English, math and writing skills required to get a decent labor job and keep it. At the same time, those of you who have worked hard, you get rewarded with more school and likely lots of debt, which you gladly accept because that’s what high school taught you to do. At university many of you will either flunk out or graduate with a useless degree like English, history or psychology where you’ll be left needing to take a program at college in order to actually get a job.
So enjoy tonight; enjoy this summer because… well, your life is about to be crapped on. Welcome to the most tumultuous years of your life as you try to figure out what you want to do with your life while balancing school expenses, developing self identity and independence, losing old friends while trying to forge new ones and trying to figure out how to meet and maintain a romantic relationship that will hopefully lead to some type of marriage whether officially sanctioned or common-law. Either way, statistically half of you will be divorced… fun.
So enjoy tonight because you are about to venture into the early stages of being an adult. Welcome to a world of responsibility and disappointment. You know all those dreams you had growing up? Dreams like ‘I’m going to be a doctor,’ ‘I’m going to be an actor’? Well, you’re about to realize how much smarter and more talented everyone else is, which will likely lead you to give up and live a bitter life possibly in a van down by the river… old people get that reference. Some of you will continue to pursue your dreams. Maybe you’ll move somewhere or try to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but what you’ll likely find is that your dream was stupid. It was a waste of energy because it couldn’t be done or something you merely liked doing on the side and not as a job. Many of these dreams are like a carrot dangled in front of you to inspire you to work, but it’ll amount to crap all. Others of you will achieve your dream only to find that now your life is a little emptier because you no longer have a dream to pursue. Welcome to adulthood.
Welcome to adulthood a time in your life where you work a job or jobs (since one doesn’t pay enough) that you hate because you’re desperate and can’t find anything better. For a lot of you; this is what marriage will be like because you’re desperate or afraid you can’t do better or, like in many cases, you’ll be too blinded by hormones to realize that your partner is an idiot. Just ask your parents about this. For now, your partner is an escape from the things that make you angry like school, work and your family, but eventually you’ll turn this anger on your spouse, which means you’ll end up in pointless fights over why one of you leaves the toothpaste lid off and squeezes from the middle when smart people squeeze from the bottom.
Some of you won’t face any of this though. Some of you will escape the trappings of mediocrity because you’ll be in prison. Some of you will stand out as you had hoped and make big news… although this will likely be the reason you are now in jail.
Before I get too negative, take a moment and look around the room. Look at everyone here. See how young and hopeful you are? Enjoy this because this is the youngest you’re going to be for the rest of your life. The odds are this is the thinnest you’re going to be; from here, most of you are going to grow guts and thunder thighs; you’re going to be fatties. You girls with the well proportioned bodies and you guys with the six packs, enjoy tonight because soon you’re going to get fat. Isn’t growing up fun?
And see all the guys? This could be the last time you see this person with all of his hair. A good chunk of you guys are going to suffer from male pattern baldness; that’s a treat. See the prettiest girl in the room? This is likely the most popular she’s ever going to be, and in a few years everything’s going to start to droop and sag like her popularity. In a few years she’s going to be overweight and the bad attitude and prideful rudeness she has will no longer be masked by youthfulness. She’s just going to be a nasty chick… and not in a good way.
On the plus side, some of the people here who were the most mistreated and considered outcasts and/or ugly could very well end up the most beautiful and successful. Many of the most successful people hit their stride after the awkward high school days, so if you’re ugly you still have a chance… accept Bobby; he’s screwed.
I know I’ve been negative, but the sad reality is there is a lot of truth here. Life isn’t easy and for a lot of you it’s going to suck. For a lot of you, your bad days will outnumber the good. But, there is hope. Happiness is a lifestyle, not something you buy. Your life will be the sum of your choices. If you make the right decisions, you will have a good life. Great relationships, liking your job, getting along with others, this all begins with how you choose to see your life. Now as a young adult, it no longer matters how lucky or unlucky you’ve been with what parents and family you have. You’ve reached a certain point where no one will really care that you weren’t hugged enough or your parents got divorced. You are now responsible for your own life. I’ve been told in old age people ask three questions of themselves: Did I live? Did I love? And did I matter? The majority of people don’t really live. The majority of people don’t really love. The majority of people don’t really matter… but you can be one of the few to not throw your life away. You could be one of the few who chooses to see life in a better way. You could be one of the few who sees the beauty in the small things and learns to appreciate your job no matter how menial or challenging it is or isn’t. You could be one of the few who takes care of yourself physically and not ignore your health because you’re too busy or tired. You could be one of the few people who strives to be patient and to bite your tongue in order to have a better marriage. You could be one of the few to say no to pride and selfishness in order to be a more caring person. You could be one of the few who doesn’t just get by in life, but you actually thrive. It’s up to you. This is your life; how are you going to live it?
Rev Chad, www.ChadDavid.ca