I am ( thrilled / perplexed ) that you asked me here to speak to you on this noteworthy day in your lives. It’s a real ( honor / indication ) that your first choice ( was me / didn’t show up.)
Because of this, I have ( carefully / hurriedly ) crafted my remarks into a message I hope you will find ( thought-provoking / brief ) and ( uplifting / barely audible.)
I realize that this is your day, and the last thing I want to do is to keep you from ( celebrating / texting ) your ( achievements with / body parts to ) your ( family / boo.)
But I’ve got something to tell you, something that I’ve ( learned in life / written down on notes ) and want to pass on to you. Unfortunately, the ( time is short / notes are lost ), which is what happens when you ( live life / put them on the counter ) at the ( fullest / Starbucks ) on your journey ( through time / to the graduation ceremony.)
Nevertheless, I’ll try to do my best, even though I seem to have lost my ( nerve / reading glasses ) too.
A lot has changed since 1973, the year I graduated high school. I remember so ( much / little ) of that day. You might be surprised, but I ( can still / can’t begin to ) tell you who spoke, what was said, and what nuggets of wisdom were dispensed.
In fact, I can’t remember ( another time in my life so memorably / what I ate for lunch yesterday.)
When I think back on my graduation day, I realize that nearly everything I learned in high school is something I’ve ( re-discovered / forgotten) over the years. Who could ( forget / remember ) the ( elegance / irrelevance ) of geometry? Not me. Or why Moby Dick was a (white whale / assigned reading?)
The point is, you’ve packed in years of knowledge, and over time it will be ( embedded in / oozing from ) the ( sturdy fabric / deteriorating folds ) of your ( lives / brains ) like ( a sturdy pillar / room-temperature ice cream.)
Other graduation speakers will concentrate their remarks on the next few years of your life. They’ll tell you that you have to make good choices. To set you up for a happy, and financially secure future. And they’re ( right / missing the point. )
What they’re not telling you is that in 30 to 35 years, you will wake up one day and realize that you should ( be at your peak earning power / remember your spouse’s cell phone number ) but you’re ( not there / drawing a blank. )
And that will be ( disappointing / just the start ). Over time, you’ll discover that the number ( in your 401K / of days in a year ), is suddenly (insufficient / elusive ) as is the ( home equity / capital of Honduras ) that you used to ( have in hand / know so well.)
Don’t be ( that person / alarmed). This is life. And it’s all in your ( hands / heads ).
The good news is that you’re looking at three or more good decades of peak ( earnings / brain ) power. You’ll have solid ( job prospects / blocks of ice cream ) on your ( journeys / shoulders ).
Take advantage of them, before the ( labor market / ice cream ) starts to ( tumble / melt ).
You might also want to turn to the person sitting next to you today and ( thank them / write down his or her name.) Because that’s a nice way to ( celebrate / remember ) another part of today that you will certainly ( cherish / forget.)
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to ( carpe diem / head to Starbucks ) in search of my ( destiny / reading glasses.)