I'm not quite old enough to be your parent, but I'm old enough to have messed up... Big time! If you know someone getting ready to kick off the next chapter, share this, and feel free to add to it!

Ahh "commencement", the word "commence", to begin... They'll tell you all about it at the ceremony. Let me tell you what it really means... Life is about to get much, much more difficult than you're expecting, and that's okay! Challenges and experiences make character. Failures and successes make you well rounded. I used to think it was a badge of honor that I had never been fired from a job, and then... I was fired, and it lead me to much greater things than I had ever imagined. Who would've thought?! Some things you may think are really important right now, and in time, they won't be, so take this from someone who, at 34, has been through all these things in recent years. Here's some simple advice:

  • Take care of your health! Yeah, you can eat whatever you want right now without gaining weight, but that may very well change.
  • Don't be afraid to shake things up: move, get outta dodge, see the world. If you let homesickness control you, and the comfort of being with your friends supersede taking chances, you'll stunt your growth. If you leave the Treasure Valley and move somewhere else, fight the feeling of homesickness and stick it out, great things can happen.
  • Take charge of your FINANCIAL health: Let's be honest... Do you NEED a new car? Do you NEED a ton of clothes? It may seem a long way off but those things will come. Focus on building credit the right way. You know how it's way easier to maintain good grades than it is to catch back up if you get a random D or an F? Same thing with credit... Make that score your PRIORITY; the fancy things will come later.
  • Know there's no deadline: It's okay if you spend your 20's getting to know yourself and traveling. I used to think I'd be married with a kid by 23... Now I'm 34 and I JUST got married and I'm so happy I waited cause I met my PERFECT person when I was 30. Imagine if I had settled so young? I'd be divorced by now, for sure...
  • See the world: Get out and travel... SAVE some money and use it to get some great life experience and understanding of other cultures.
  • Make Mistakes: Learn from others' mistakes but get out there and make your own. Take a risk, learn from it, then pay it forward by sharing your wealth of knowledge with the next generation.

Bottom line is this... Whether you're going to college or heading straight into the work force, moving away or staying here in Idaho, you're at a major turning point in life. Enjoy the moments with your friends while they feel like they're family, because those moments don't last forever. Have a late night out, have a good cry when your heart is broken, and get back on the horse and keep going cause life can be pretty great if you grab it by the horns!

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