A couple weeks ago, I posted about my son’s graduation and how I was preparing to give a toast to the graduating class of 2018. Today, I am sharing my toast with you. The future is bright for many and I am very proud of my son for his accomplishments throughout the past twelve years. So this post is to commemorate his achievements and act as a reminder that life is not a linear path, but a unique and winding one instead. It is what we do with the path before us that matters most.
To the Earl Marriott Secondary graduating class of 2018:
Thirty one. Thirty eight. Fifty one and Ninety six. Numbers, I’m sure you had hoped to leave in Ms. Liang’s math class. But these numbers matter because they demonstrate just how near you are to the cusp of a journey. Your journey.
J.K. Rowling was 31 years old, struggling, and rejected by dozens of publishing houses when she found success with her first Harry Potter book. Despite her dire financial situation, she poured herself into a story she loved. The result as we all know was not simply a brighter future for her, but a revolution in literacy that touched the world deeply. She taught us perseverance.
Stan Lee was 38 when he achieved recognition for his first hit comic title, The Fantastic Four. A few short years later, the Marvel metropolis was born. Mr. Lee showed us what it means to follow your own instincts.
Samuel L. Jackson was 43 years old when his career took an upward turn with his first award winning role in Jungle Fever. The reason for his opportunity was a friendship he had nurtured with Spike Lee, a then unknown film maker just starting out. Samuel is living proof that treating others with kindness goes far beyond being a decent human being, as kindness is a gift shared between two people.
Abraham Lincoln, after being defeated famously in several elections, became President of the United States at the age of 51. His politics change the course of many lives and in doing so altered the path of historic events. President Lincoln demonstrated a determination so fierce that even when all hope was lost, he refused to give up.
Harry Bernstein published his first novel, The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers, at the age of 96. Though his success in the literary world at his ripe age is impressive on its own, his title is a memoir of his early life which even the author has stated that the further he wanted to get away from his past, the more it consumed his present. Mr. Bernstein teaches us that every stage of life has value. Every stage of life has purpose. And every stage of life has the ability to offer us amazing experiences if we simply just open our eyes to them,
You are at the beginning of your very own unique journey. Though the pressures of the future may loom over your head, I encourage you to live each moment. Age, graduation, the passing of time has no set clock on when you will find what it is you are passionate about. There is no expiry date on success. The only real thing you have to do in this life is be the be possible you, that you can be. And you are already there. So dream big, work hard, and follow your heart. It knows exactly where it is going.
As parents, it has been a privilege to watch you grow and learn. Your struggles have been our struggles, but your successes, those are yours alone. We couldn’t be more proud of you.