Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Fantasy Commencement: Chapter 1

Ever since I graduated from college, I've fantastized about what I'd say if I were the speaker at one of those. I've actually come up with some good stuff, but never wrote any of it down. Where would I put it? Create a new file drawer for "Fantasy Commencement Address"? C'mon!

One of the things that's made me feel neurotic for much of my life, but which has turned out to pay serious dividends, is that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I keep incrementally working on everything I've ever worked on. 10,000 progress thermometers glacially eke forward. And this is one of them. So, as new commencement address ideas emerge, I'll publish them under this tag.

You need to budget for screw-ups.

Try not to screw up, obviously. But when, inevitably, you do, know that it's budgeted for. It's expected. It's part of the game.

You will, for instance, lose your wallet a few times over the course of your life. And need to replace the money and docs. Budget for it!

You'll receive a bunch of parking tickets (and, if you park in NYC, will be towed at some point). Budget for it!

You will buy a few things that seem spectacularly useful but which you will never, ever, use. Budget for it!

You will loan money to friends who won't repay (my grandfather said "never loan money you're not happy to kiss goodbye"). Budget for it!

No one proceeds through life immaculately. Your shiny new car will, over time, acquire dings and scratches. Recognizing this doesn't give you free license to be thoughtless or incompetent. But you are allowed to enjoy being alive - here on this sole refuge of color and action and oxygen and water and sunlight and food in a frigid, dark, vacuous, dead universe - even when you drop your iPhone in the toilet (budget for that, too!).

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