Dear high school seniors:
You are nearing the end of your high school career, and preparing to embark on a new adventure. You’re likely met with feelings of joy, fear, and excitement as this stage comes to an end. There are so many things you can do with your life and the choices you make now will echo for the rest of your life.
If you are like many other teens, you may have already met your first love, and as you plan your college years, you may want to plan together. Maybe you’re thinking about going to your second choice school because you want to be close to each other. Maybe you’re thinking about abandoning your dreams all together because your love is all that matters.
Don’t do that.
Choose your dreams first and follow those relentlessly. If this love is real, it will remain. There is an entire world out there for you to explore, knowledge to absorb, and adventures to have. You may not know it or believe it now, but I promise you that true love never goes away. It doesn’t matter if you’re apart for 10 days or 10 years—when you love someone, you always will.
Pursue your passions. Live your life and if that means you only see your boyfriend/girlfriend on the weekends, learn to be okay with that.
Find yourself. Who you are at 18 and who you are at 25 will likely be different. Your style will change, your music tastes will evolve, your political stance may differ, and you may realize later that you are nothing like the person you are today. Give yourself the freedom to explore and make mistakes. Try not to make those mistakes permanent.
Explore the world. I grew up in a small town in southern Colorado and many of my peers never left the area while I have traveled the U.S. and the world. I’ve lived in Houston, Phoenix, Denver, and the San Francisco Bay area as an adult. Every time I set foot on new ground, knowing nothing and no one and learning the area, making new friends, building relationships, and finding my way, my mind has expanded.
I no longer feel like “home” is a geographical location but rather, a sense of peace within. Don’t make the mistake of never leaving home—or your comfort zone.
Get lost. Give yourself the gift of being lost, not knowing what to do, and allowing yourself to find your way—whether that’s finding your way in a new town or in the bigger life-sense of feeling lost. Every time you find your way you build your resilience and confidence in yourself.
Time goes by so fast. The days now may seem to take forever, but the years fly by and one day you’ll look up and realize that your life has zoomed by. Don’t waste it. Make the most of every moment you can.
As you cross that stage to graduate, the world is your oyster. You can make it what you want, and it is my hope that you choose to live big, bold, and magical lives. Live the adventure you dream about.
If you want to do something, do it. The book of your life is one you write daily.
Make it epic.