NoCo Classes of 2022: Congrats, but Here’s What You Need To Know
You did it. You made it. You've graduated from high school. Awesome job, and we're all very, very proud of you!
For the last couple weeks as the confetti has settled from the graduation ceremonies, you've probably done a lot of the same things a lot of us older than you did when we all graduated. You've partied. You've gotten out and enjoyed some awesome Colorado sunshine. Maybe you've been camping already this summer? Have you hunted for a summer job yet? Nah, there's always next week. Relax and enjoy it a minute!
Maybe you're headed to college this fall, whether CSU or UNC close to home, or maybe you're putting a little distance between you and your parents and heading down to Boulder or even cooler than that, out of state. Your future is so bright. Bet you can't wait to get started.
But let me offer you - the fine, promising young citizens you are - some unsolicited advice.
Don't focus too hard on the future. Just. Enjoy. Every. Second. Of. Right. Now.
Because you're going to be me and my peers before you know it. It goes that fast. One day I was graduating from Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado with all kinds of dreams and ambition. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do or where I wanted to even go, but I knew it needed to be something big. If I could just get that break or make that opportunity for myself, I knew I could succeed. I knew I could have a big house and a beautiful wife and nice "things."
And now all of sudden in the blink of an eye, I'm on the eve of my 45th birthday with a huge mortgage payment, a beautiful wife, two amazing kids, stress, responsibilities and the subsequent cliché "old man" backaches and gray hairs that come with all of it.
I built shelves in our kids' playroom this weekend, then painted one of our bathrooms and touched up a few other spots around the house. I sanded and varnished some steps for an old boat project I'm working on. Got some Vietnamese takeout Sunday night for my wife and I for dinner - after story and bed time, of course - and now here I sit writing to you, after watching just half a MasterChef Junior with my wife who finally couldn't stay awake any longer and had to go to bed. She's seven years younger than me, by the way.
What did you do this weekend?
I'd make a joke about Will Ferrell having a "nice little Saturday" planned from the movie Old School, but you're probably too young to have even seen it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my life - every bit of it. And I thoroughly enjoyed my teens, 20s and even my 30s. I spent a lot of my 20s and 30s with you on the radio right here in Northern Colorado, although technically if you just graduated, you probably weren't born or were a baby then. But your parents and I probably had a blast in Old Town at this station event or that and probably did a few shots together back in the day.
There's a meme flying around from the NBC sitcom The Office, where Andy says "“I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Yep. He nailed it. That's that I'm trying to say here.
I wish I didn't wish all those days away so fast. And that is my unsolicited advice to you.
You're going to spend the next few decades of your life waiting for stuff. For vacation in a couple months. Or waiting for that big bonus to come in or a tax refund, before you can go splurge on that thing you really want but have waited for all year.
You're going to tell yourself "if I can just get all of my list complete, I'll be in a better spot" or "our relationship is a little rocky right now, but if we can get past this or beyond that, everything will be better again." If I can just pay this off or refi the house to reduce that debt.
And before you know it, you've spent so much time "looking forward" to something, one day you wake up and realize that the things you look upon most fondly are the things that already happened. You daydream about what's behind you, rather than what's to come. If only you'd appreciated them more while they were happening.
I can't tell you at what point in life it happens, but it will happen to you too. I promise I'm not having a mid-life crisis, by the way. I truly am happy, blessed and very lucky to have the life I do. But it does happen. One day you'll be on the back side of your life and won't know how you got there. Blink and you'll miss it.
So do me a favor - if you've read this far - before you go out there in the world and try to make something of yourself, realize you already are something. Enjoy that. Enjoy now. Be proud of what you've accomplished up until now, but give yourself a break if things don't fall in place right away. Don't be in a hurry.
Call that person who made you chuckle this year. Go dip your toes in Horsetooth one afternoon. Fly a kite, take a road trip, stay up all night. Do all of it and enjoy every second of it.