Mercy Health

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Shon Cook Law Offices in Whitehall

Saturday, May 14, 2016

To The Class of 2016 - Editorial By Andy O

 12 years ago… ok, maybe 13 years ago if you are like me and did 7th grade twice, you set out on a journey to begin to find out who you are and what your purpose on this Earth might be.  It might seem like a lifetime ago to you… but let me promise you something….to your parents, it seems like yesterday that they stood there fighting off the tears that are inevitable when they see their precious little one get on a bus for the first time or have to leave them behind with a brown bag lunch and the hopes that everything they did for you up till this point, has you ready for the first few miles down the road. 

Well, you made it!  Up’s and down’s, in’s and out’s….here you are and here’s where we’ll pick up the road ahead instead of the path you have walked down to get here.  Road?  Well, maybe it’s more like a freeway.

I picked freeway, because that 12 years you seem to think took forever…well, that’s about to speed up….tremendously.  It’s what you’ve prepared for and it’s what everyone finds at this point in their lives, however a freeway with no sense of direction or rules is a mess by any definition, and over the course of time, I think you will probably find a pot hole or two in that freeway which leads me to some thought’s on the matter.

As life unfolds…the first thing to remember is to expect the unexpected.  You can never in a million years plan accordingly for everything.  You can sure try, but life has this amazing way of doing what it can to catch you off guard.  It will leave you asking “why me?” some days and others it will leave you on cloud 9 not able to imagine the joy you’re experiencing.  Life is filled with these up’s and downs…there is no controlling them…. the very best you can do is manage your reaction to them and how you let circumstances effect your life.  But be ready, it’s coming.

Next, I want you to make sure that you are truly happy.  It’s time to start thinking about living life to YOUR expectations.  What is it that will make you truly happy?  Is it a career?  Well, it’s part of it…but what you do does not define who you are.  Is it money?  Might be, but you’ve heard this before…money can’t buy happiness.  In fact, to some, it’s a great cause of anguish.  They either have none and want more, or have some and still struggle to find inner peace and purpose.  Is it family?  Friends?  Hey, these are the kind of things you should be asking yourself.  BUT!  You absolutely have to be happy with who you are before you set out to make sure someone else is happy.  It’s like the oxygen mask on an airplane.  Make sure yours is on first and then you can help those around you.  If you seek happiness for others first…you will be creating a void in your life.  I am not saying be greedy, or self-centered….but it’s a fair warning from someone who really thought joy came from filling the needs of others first and forgetting about himself.  It’s a recipe for disaster.  Take the time to know you.  Don’t rush into being a grown up until you are sure that your needs are met!

BEWARE!  There are those along this freeway that you couldn’t imagine in a million years… waiting!  There are people who have no scruples, no self-esteem, no way to better themselves and no intentions of being part of any team.  These people are not standing on street corners asking for hand out’s, they are not disabled or unable to learn.  I hate to admit it, but they are standing there waiting to take what you have.  They have no problem profiting off your hard work, they have no problem making you feel small and trying to control you.  They have no problems stealing credit or placing blame.  These are dangerous people. They can’t be avoided.  They will pop up around every corner and when they see that you have anything better than them….the process of dragging you to their level begins.  Don’t let them.  Be proud of what you accomplish.  Be bold in your ability and know that who you are, and what you offer is unique in the entire universe.  There never was, and never will be another you again.  YOU have to make sure you scrape these people off as quickly as you can.  Don’t let them drag you into their misery. 

Be kind.  Be compassionate.  Be forgiving.  Be willing to admit you were wrong from time to time.  Be willing to look at things through the eyes of someone else and do what you can to learn and grow from their experiences.  Strive to understand that life is hard…it will be hard for you, and it’s even harder for some around you.  Every single person on this planet struggles with something.  Be willing to share that struggle from time to time… and lessen the burden on those not as capable as you.  Give back.  Know that who you are and what you have is valuable.  When your feet are planted, it’s so incredibly important to be willing to help others learn, grow and become better people.  Be inclusive.   Remember every day what it feels like to be shunned or left out of a conversation.  Trust me, it still sucks no matter your age to feel like an outsider. 

In closing…I want to give you a little secret.  As this whirl wind of life unfolds for you….always remember, that things will work out.  Don’t get caught up in a panic over things.  There are peaks and valleys, there are time’s you’ll feel rich and times you won’t have a nickel.  You will find out just how great a swelling of pride feels inside you and you’ll also experience emptiness of unimaginable magnitude.  It’s all a part of the human experience.  For those who love you….love them back in return with no expectations, give that love freely and often. 

I wish you 1000 Irish blessings as you set forth form this point.  YOU are important and YOU are the future.  We’re all proud of who you’ve become and honestly….we’re all waiting for the next chance we get to cheer you on as you amaze and astound all of us….just by being you!

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