No Path Uncharted.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Alma Mater.”

Dear Students of Montevideo Senior High,

You are embarking upon a great and arduous journey. A journey that some of you won’t make it more than a few more years (I hope I am wrong, but statistics say I am not). A journey that will take some of you the next eighty plus years. You currently have plans. I am here to tell you, those plans will probably change. You may go to college. You may fail out of college (I did a couple times). You may get married (again, I did, twice). You may have kids. You may not do any of these things.

Life can throw surprises at you that you never saw coming. Maybe you will contract a disease. Maybe you will cure a disease. The key is, no matter what, stand firm in your beliefs and your resolve to fight through whatever comes. This life is ravaged with battles and you will have your scars. Do not let them define you!

There are those who say this life is what we make it. I say, life is a surprise. Take it as it comes in all its glorious forms and make the most of every opportunity you can. You never know when your opportunities will be up. You never know when, after years and years, an opportunity will reemerge in a different form than you originally considered. The only regret most people have is the opportunities they didn’t take. So, jump on board with anything that presents itself.

Make relationships. This is one key. You never know who will end up being your most important support in this life and we all need support. Make those relationships now and keep them through life. I am amazed that I still have a few friends that I have known since KINDERGARTEN!! For me, that is a long long time. Make those relationships and keep them, but that will take weeding in your garden of friends. Some have to be thrown out so others can grow.

Finally, in all things, HAVE FUN! I know 18 year olds who feel old and worn down. I know 60-70 year olds who feel as young as high schoolers or college students. You are only as old as you feel, so hold on to your youth as long as possible and have fun! If it is not fun, its time to seek out new things. The journey will continue.

Sometimes the journey will move forward, sometimes it will move backward. Just keep it moving. You never know what is around the next bend in the journey. Through it all, keep your attitude positive. It will help you in the long run to not be so negative about anything. Work Hard. Play Hard. Give when you can. I promise, it will come back in a good way for you.

This is the advice I wish someone had given me in high school. Pay no attention to groups, or cliques. Those who are only seeking popularity will be the most unpopular within ten years. Those who seek genuine friendships will be friends for a lifetime. Stay the course and fight your battles until the bitter end. You will be great! But, it is up to you to be EXTRAORDINARY!

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