With graduation season once again upon us, our thoughts turn to the many students who are preparing to enter the next phase of adult life. Some will continue their education. Some will begin careers. All will face the pressure of juggling competing claims on their time and attention.
In 1990, Bill Watterson, creator of the famous Calvin and Hobbs comic strip, addressed the graduating class of his alma mater, Kenyon College. Watterson was just ten years removed from his own graduation, and shared with the graduates some of the struggles he faced as he worked to break into his chosen field and then dealt with the pressures that come with success.
In a speech entitled “Some Thoughts on the Real World From One Who Glimpsed it and Fled,” he notes that “having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive… To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”
Watterson’s humor, wisdom, and experience are an encouragement and inspiration. Take a moment to read his full speech, and consider passing it along to the young graduates in your life. It may just be the reminder that you, and they, both need.