My niece and eldest nephews are in what I consider to be the truly formative years of their lives. One graduates high school next week, one graduated high school last year, and another graduates college later this year. Although the world has changed in many ways since I navigated the same passages, there are many lessons I learned in my youth that I am convinced are still applicable today....
Some high school and college friends will be friends for life. Other friendships will naturally fade away as you grow further apart. Cherish the few that remain close for the long haul. They will be welcome touchstones in your life.
In the years to come, you will face difficulty and sadness. It can’t be escaped. Keep your family close. Choose your friends and your life partner wisely. We all need help getting through hard times.
Mistakes made can change your life forever, in an instant. May your mistakes be few and minor. You can avoid a lot of regret by making good choices.
Your education will serve you well for your entire life. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow, and become a well-rounded person.
Consider traveling a little before starting your career. Once you get entrenched in the working world, it’s hard to take more than a week off at a time to do anything.
Never compromise your personal values and principles. Beware of people (or employers) who try to persuade you to do so.
Show your parents that you love them all the time. They won’t be around forever.
Live in the moment, but plan ahead.
P.S. To our nieces and nephews: Aunt Laurel and Uncle Ron love you and are here for you. XOXO