Dear graduates

William (Bill) Lutz

May 4, 2014

It’s a special time of year for many of our community’s younger residents, graduation season. It is in the spirit of this season that I would like this opportunity to direct a few words towards them.

Dear Graduates,

This is clearly an exciting time for you. I am sure you are counting down the days when you no longer have to go to school. As you know, you are entering a new time in your life. If there is one small piece of unsolicited advice I can give you, it’s simple. Don’t let the world get to you.

I remember when I graduated from High School, life seemed so scary. I was no longer going to be in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of a place I had to be at for years, it was time to move on whether I liked it or not. Even worse, was the amount of self-induced pressure I put on myself to try to have my whole life figured out by the time I crossed that stage to get my diploma. I knew for certain I was surrounded by fellow students who had the comfort of knowing the next moves in their life; it was almost as if they could go on their existence on auto-pilot. They had no worries, no cares, they just knew when and where they had to show up and they knew the work they had to do.

In all honesty, no one at anyage has their life completely figured out. Not one single person.

You are entering a world of amazing possibilities and with those possibilities come consequences. Each choice you make from here on out is going to open up new doors, but you are going to leave other doors behind. Some of you will go to the military, some to college,some of you will start jobs. Some of you will wake the day after you have your diploma and not have a clue on what is going to happen next. Don’t worry.

You are also ready to enter into a world that is hard for everyone to understand. I am sure all through your life you have heard your parents or your teachers say you need an education to get ahead in this world. Yet, I am sure you see the stories of people not too older than you that have gone to school just to find a world of empty prospects. There is no longer a “one size fits all” blueprint for a successful future;in fact, there never really was. You simply have to take what you are given and make the most of it.

Take solace, you are living in a world where people are always reinventing themselves, they are always changing. You don’t have to have your life figured out, but you need to take responsibility for your future and work towards it, even if it’s a small step, you have gone farther than those that never have taken that step.

One of the most important lessonsyou will learn is that you must always push yourself to move forward. More than just your career, your life is going to take on different dimensions and you have to find a way to get up each day and make it happen. There are going to be great things that happen, both good and bad. Many of you are going to find spouses and raise families. You are all going to lose loved ones along the way. And through all of these events, there is no instruction book, there are no easy answers; there is no way to be the perfect son, or daughter, or mother, or father, or spouse, or co-worker, or boss. There just isn’t.

And I can guarantee you that the struggles you will face in the future will be the same struggles others face as well. I honestly believe the greatest gift we can give each other is the gift of ourselves; our lives were not meant to be lived in isolation. No matter what happens in life, we need to be supportive and caring of one another. This imperfect world is made up of imperfect people. Be willing to admit your weaknesses and your fears to one another and when someone comes to you with a problem or a struggle, and if we are honest, sometimes the best thing we can say to one another is, “Sometimes, I feel that way, too.”

With a little help from your friends, this world will never get to you.

William (Bill) Lutz is a Miami County resident and weekly contributor to the Piqua Daily Call