A few pearls of wisdom for graduates

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

If I could give all the local graduates some good pieces of advice to carry with them into the big, wide world, this is what I would say:

n Always wear your seatbelt. They really do save lives. I am living (if slightly banged-up) proof of that. A wrinkled outfit or slight discomfort is a small price to pay.

n Sunscreen is a great idea.  Ever noticed how that sun worshipper, Great-Aunt Edna, looks a lot like Uncle Mike's alligator shoes? And did I mention skin cancer, which is sadly on the rise?

n Good manners, kindness and consideration – they never go out of style and they travel well wherever you go. Sure, customs vary from culture to culture.  However, the basics of treating others the way you would like to be treated translates pretty easily.  As a matter of fact, the Bible's Golden Rule can more or less be found in every major religion.

n Pursue a career you love and enjoy. Don't go into a profession because it's what everybody else in your family does, or you think you'll make a lot of money, or gain a lot of prestige.  Trust me, putting in time at a job you hate will grind you down over time, affecting your relationships with everyone you care about.

n Never &#8220settle” when it comes to those key life relationships. You CAN do better than someone who mistreats you.

Don't think you can transform the other person once you slide those rings onto one another's fingers. If that guy is rude and disrespectful to your parents now, honey – chances are it isn't going get any better with time. If she treats you like a doormat today, what makes you think she won't keep doing it? 

n Keep learning. Education doesn't stop when you get your high school diploma or college diploma.  It's a life-long process. Whether it is through attending continuing education classes, reading good books, newspapers and magazines, watching some of the truly high-quality programming out there (sorry, that does NOT include &#8220I Love New York” on VH1), working crossword puzzles, or doing other brain-building exercises - keep using those little gray cells, my friends. You just might help stave off Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia while doing so - and make yourself a more interesting, well-rounded person, to boot.

n Don't take yourself too seriously. Take your faith, your family, your friendships, your work and your studies to heart. But remember you are fallible, all too human. And you will do some really dumb things sometimes.

Be the first one to laugh and poke a little fun at yourself! In the immortal words of the drill instructor in &#8220Stripes,” just &#8220lighten up, Francis!”

And that advice about the seatbelts and sunscreen? It really is good.

Congrats to all!

n n n

My mom is graduating this week, too - moving from Crowne Nursing Home to Pine Needle Place assisted living. Today, Wednesday, is officially Moving Day to her new home. Stop in and see her at the new &#8220digs” if you get the chance!

And speaking of continuing education, I am trying to re-educate my sorely out-of-condition body through the new Tai Chi class held at St. Thomas's fellowship hall Sunday afternoons. My gimpy old knee gave me some trouble at the first class last week, but I am so grateful to be in an exercise experience where there is lots of encouragement, support and understanding of your particular health problems. Fourteen folks of all ages, sizes and fitness levels attended the first class and everyone is still welcome to join us! The classes are from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday afternoon throughout the summer.  

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.