What I Wish I’d Have Been Told When I Was Graduating From High School

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, May 18, 2017 Comments Off on What I Wish I’d Have Been Told When I Was Graduating From High School
What I Wish I’d Have Been Told When I Was Graduating From High School

Dear Class of 2017, beware of money.

I forget who gave our commencement speech.  Probably said, Be a good American, make your family proud, reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground, same thing you’re going to hear when you’re wearing the flat top hat.  If they’d have said, “Hey, watch out for money,” I bet I’d have remembered that.

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“Sitting Here Tonight”

Your speaker will use those three words.  You’re “sitting here tonight” at the first big fork in life’s road and wondering which way to turn.  What you don’t know, is that the grownups up there in the cheap seats are still facing forks in the road.

Your first fork is work vs. more education.  Both of them ask more questions, like Do What, Do Where, Do When, Do Which First…

Life is fork after fork, some no fun, some come as result of taking the wrong road at the last fork.  What do you do when you went to law school, first professional in the family, waist deep in student loans and then find out that ¾ of all the attorneys on the planet are practicing in America?  Grandma’s proud that you’re wearing a suit to work, but being on a billboard soliciting 18 wheeler wrecks makes you feel like one of those buzzards that used to fly over grandpa’s farm.

What do you do when someone who said I Do at a previous fork decides they Don’t anymore?  Or your parents get sick?  Or your child gets diagnosed with some behavior issue?  Or you get diagnosed with cancer…

You’ve been banging on the door to be an adult.  Come on, make yourself a place at the grownup table.

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Being A Friend To Yourself

You’re gonna be amazed at how few of these friends from high school are a part of your life in five years.  The people you’re going to spend most of the rest of your life with include a spouse you may not have met, and children yet unborn.

The one relationship you have, of all the people sitting here tonight, till death do you part, is yourself, so be good company.  When you were a kid your identity was tied to whether daddy was rich or momma was good looking, and then you start drifting off, in the safety of your peers, and you become a generation.  One of the points of life – and not many get there – is to leave the herd and become a full, complete, imperfect individual.  You and all your inner stuff, your head, heart, and conscience, y’all have got to get to know each other in a no vacation, no graduation situation.

All those Do Right’s they’ve been brainwashing you with all your life…they really do matter.  You’re gonna have to decide if there is some Higher Power out there that you need to please, but hear me clear on this, you’ve got to please yourself.

When you lie, cheat, steal, doesn’t matter if you get caught, what you’ve told yourself is ‘I am someone who…’  And that’s the price, what I call the whore price…for some pitiful gain, I’ve sold my self respect…  I have no problem confessing that I’ve learned this the hard way.

One day at a time, trying to do right, unto others, unto to yourself, those add up to self respect, even if math wasn’t your strongest subject…

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Practical Matters

You were raised up in Political Correctness.  I apologize.  Your escape map is something your elders call Common Sense.

Not only are we not equal, siblings are not even equal in the same family.  Forget all that deserving nonsense.  We don’t even deserve being alive – it’s a gift.

And no, life isn’t fair.  I ceilinged out as a 5’10 white boy with a 12” vertical, so I never got to play in the NBA, but life was even more unfair to people I’ve known, diabetes amputations, dead from car wrecks, an aneurysm, suicide, and random acts of nature.

Pull your weight.  Live within your means.  If you can’t afford it, then increase your income.  Can’t do it, or won’t do, then do without, like a bazillion of your ancestors did.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, didn’t have indoor plumbing or granite counters.  Kid turned out alright anyhow.

You’re going to have to work.  It comes down to two categories: goods or services.  Make sure you end up on the clean conscience end of employment.  If your customer is a victim, every transaction makes you dirtier.  If customers pay different prices for same product, run for your soul.  If it doesn’t work, doesn’t last, if you wouldn’t sell it to your mother or buy it for yourself, roll on.

Your ideal job is one that uses your best gifts in a useful way.  If you’re creative, don’t waste it in accounting.  If you’re an introvert don’t go into sales.

If you feel a calling, follow it.

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Beware The Benjamins

They did a study on money.  Increasing your income from $5000 to $50,000 made a dramatic difference in happiness, security, reduction of stress.  At $50k you won’t freeze in the winter, you won’t get wet when it rains, you’ll have dependable transportation, food in the pantry, and money for play and treats.

Surprise, surprise, they found that increasing your income from $50,000 to $5,000,000 made far less of an impact.  You had a bigger house to not freeze in, and a bigger roof to keep you dry.  You could afford several automobiles, but still only drive one at a time.  You can only be in one room, sit in one chair, no matter the square footage.

As prostitution is considered the original profession, I consider money the original drug.  The number of lives wasted chasing wealth is…huuuge.

Debt is a collar and leash we place upon ourselves.  Researchers studying wealth invited millionaires to a conference.  The researchers drove up in BMW’s and Mercedes, the millionaires drove 10 year old Buicks.  Some had never made more than $75K a year.  Summary, it ain’t how much you make, it’s how much you keep.

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, which cannot end this story without reminding you that if you’ve ever asked Why, you’re qualified to ask the Big ?, what’s the point of life and why am I here.  

Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.  He can be reached at 81creativity@gmail.com.

P.S.  If you’re thinking about a certain field, ask Google about suicides and divorces before you sign up.  You’d be amazed at how high status equals high risk…

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