I am a firm believer of living an adventurous life. You might ask for the definition of "adventurous," but that's like asking for the answer to a problem in math. Those of you who've had me in class know that I'm not interested in your answer - it's the solution I want to see. How did you arrive at your answer? So it's the same concept on a much grander scale. How you live the adventurous life is all about the living, the process; it's the solution to a challenging question to which there is no one correct answer.
Stop and think for a minute about your strengths - your passions. What do you like to do? Even if all you hear, or think you hear, is that you need to do more, you need to work harder, you need to try again - there are talents that you possess that maybe you've never taken time to discover or develop. Is it playing the piano, playing hockey, writing poetry - are you willing to sit with a friend in need? Do you like to take things apart and put them back together again in a different form? It's important to be able to talk about your interests because you're not defined by your GPA. You are not defined by your SAT scores, and believe it or not, you are not going to be defined by the colleges to which you are accepted.
The ability to know yourself is what will set you apart - not your strengths and talents. You might disagree. Certainly this society loves our celebrities - singers, actors, athletes, who are defined by their talents and the hard work that brings them success and therefore fame. But if you could ask them, they would likely speak of their constant pursuit of something bigger; the challenges they face to push beyond the image we have created of them.
And what are your struggles? Don't ignore them - embrace them. They are part of what defines you. How you acknowledge and process your shortcomings says more about who you really are than anything else. Share your struggles with others - learn to laugh about them. Give your best effort every day, but understand that you're still a work in progress.
And when you're feeling frustrated by how challenging and hard life can be, just stop. Celebrate - or at the very least recognize - the small opportunities to do nothing.
As you leave this place, may you go calmly amid the noise and the haste of the world;
May the gift of silence awaken you to the present moment,
And may you learn the importance of keeping peace with your soul.
Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and wrong.
Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.
Remember that each time you close your heart to another, you add to the darkness;
May you travel from this moment forward in awareness of our bonds to one another and to the Earth, and in commitment to your communities wherever they may be.
Go in peace.
Be always thankful.
Love one another.