From what I’ve been able to sample from reports, UH commencement speaker Matthew McConaughey did better than “All right! All right! All right!” at the Friday night, May 15, 2015 graduation exercise for 4,958 students who ranged in age from 18 to 78. Wow! All those demographics mean to me is that UH had at least one student who graduated from college at the same age that I finished high school in 1956, and, at least, one graduate who is currently older than me at the present time. My matriculation date was the fairly normal age 22 when I took my BS in psychology from UH in 1960, on my to graduate school at Tulane and Texas.
The chances that a whole lot of these 2015 UH graduates are a whole lot smarter than I was on my Graduation Day are way up there.
I loved what I read of Matthew’s remarks:
* “Where you are not is as important as where you are.”
* “An honest man’s pillow is his piece of mind.”
* “The truth’s all around us all the time. Put yourself in place to receive the truth.”
* “Let’s make it (the world, our lives, etc) a place where we break a sweat, where we believe, where enjoy the process of succeeding in the places and ways e are fashioned to. Where we don’t have to look over our shoulder we’re too busy doing what we’re good at, traveling toward immortal finish lines. We write our own book, overcoming our fears. We make friends with ourselves. And that is the place that I’m talking about.”
All I could add are the following:
Tom Jefferson did not promise us happiness in his immortal message. He wrote that we are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. What Jefferson didn’t say was so important here. And Jefferson seemed to understood that we all simply had to grow in our individual wisdom of what those things he left our truly are:
(1) Pick a career that matches your passions and abilities and you have chosen a good shot at what passes for the often uneven flow of human happiness in one’s life work. Happiness does not come from doing what your parents think you should do, or from a career area you’ve picked because employment demand is good in that area, or in becoming the richest, most powerful kid on the block by the time you are age thirty, on your way to running for President at age thirty-five. As Shakespeare said best: “Do thine own self be true.”
(2) Whenever possible, find out what you really most want to do with your work life and your ongoing education before you create a life style that requires you to pay the bills in support of a family. Of course, if marriage and family is your goal above all else, don’t blame your spouse and children later may feel like you missing out on other choices in life.
(3) Pray or meditate that you are blessed to awaken early to the realization that happiness is giving to life – not taking from it.
(4) Pray or wish too that you then quickly make the next connection in the chain – that happiness is loving – and loving is giving – not taking.
(5) Hope for early wisdom too to the fact that taking responsibility for the lessons of our pain and disappointment in life is the channel to life-altering change, whereas, making pain and disappointment the rationale for blaming others or ourselves is little more than a ticket to ride in a cycle that repeats the same dire result until we either learn from it responsibly, and move on, or get sick and die.
(6) Your future is not the same one we elders once faced. You are in charge of a world in which technology itself is changing the way we relate to others and ourselves – and in ways that we are only beginning to imagine. All we elders ask is that you act in some ways also to protect our libraries, our historical preservation efforts, and the beautiful expression of whole thoughts in complete sentences and published works.
Thank you, Class of 2015! Now Go Get “Em! And don’t worry about our bill. The Pecan Park Eagle does not charge for commencement thoughts.