When You’re 18. Again.

I’ve been asked to speak to a couple hundred high school seniors tomorrow morning with the requested subject matter along the lines of “What Can You Expect From Here On Out?” Good question, right?

I sat in that exact gymnasium 35 years ago and wondered the same thing. We’ve all been there. Some of us attended college, others jumped right into the marketplace or joined the service. It can be an exciting time, but also a daunting stage of life.

I hope to give them a sense of confidence and freedom as they move on from their friendly confines.

I’m curious… what would YOU want to tell your 18 year-old self, knowing what you now know? What bit of advice or encouragement would you give? Please leave a Comment below … I just might steal your material. 

Wish me luck. (140 words)


  1. If you haven’t read this, you might wanna for some context: http://leaderbird.com/why-my-commencement-speech-bombed/

  2. David Burd says:

    See the rose and the thorn, but let the rose lead you.

  3. David… totally using that, golden! And, so true. Thanks, champ!

  4. Whatever [idea] makes your heart skip a beat when you think about it, that’s the natural direction to move in. Don’t don’t anything just for the money because you will never be content and it will never be enough.

  5. Jeepers, Mark… can you please come and speak in my stead? I just love your perspective, and you are a great example of following your heart rather than chasing money. Kudos, brother!

  6. Steve Stromme says:

    These words from George S. Patton: “A man must know his destiny. If he does not recognize it, then he is lost. By this I mean, once, twice, or at the very most, three times, fate will reach out and tap a man on the shoulder. If he has the imagination, he will turn around and fate will point out to him what fork in the road he should take. If he has the guts, he will take it.”

  7. Whoa… how have I not seen this quote from Patton? Thank you, Steve, this should hang on every locker and fridge in America!

  8. Before making a decision, ask yourself: How would I behave in this moment if I acted from a place of love? This can be multi-faceted. Ex- love for self, for others, etc. Often the things I regret are the decisions made out of fear.

  9. Drew… my word, you are wise beyond your years! You nailed it. Can you imagine if we all (starting with moi), made decisions in the fashion you propose? The world would turn upside down, all for the better. Thank you for sharing this insight, can’t wait to sound really smart and wonderful when I share it. I’ll give credit where credit is due, don’t you worry ’bout that. 🙂

  10. Live in the moment – don’t be in a rush to get to the next step . . . “can’t wait to get thru college,” “can’t wait to get my first apartment, my first job, to get married, have a baby . . . ” whatever it might be. Enjoy each stage of your life – right where you’re at. It’s true – the older you get, the faster time flies!

  11. At our 10 year reunion, I was not anywhere I thought I would be in my life. I had gotten divorced, my job was cut and I had to move home to mom and dad’s. A very kind, loving and dear friend said something to me that made me feel so good…it doesn’t matter where you are at, we love you for who you are (thanks Brent). So my words I would give to my 18 year old self, love you for who you are, not your job, maritial status or where you live, those things did not define me then and they don’t define me now. I hope your talk went well.

  12. So many things will grab your heart, when they do so, let them. But don’t get discouraged when they don’t grab you like they used to. Something [the right thing] will come along and hold your heart for good. Whether this be a significant other, your major, your faith, your self perception, your sports career, etc.

    You will stumble, but you will always rise up.

    Pray as if you will only receive the things you prayed for the night before.

    It’s okay if what you’re doing, others aren’t. You are you and only you.

  13. Sue, you are so right on with this! I, too, often am in a rush to get to the “next thing” in life, not sure why I do that. I need to “live in the moment” daily… thank you for the sweet reminder. You are loved!

  14. Ok, Renee… you are a fantastic writer, seriously! And, your heart is so good, I just love you. It was definitely a trip down memory lane, really enjoyed my time with the students, wonderful group of peeps who are gonna make a huge impact on the world. Again, thank you for chiming in, you’re the best. love love

  15. Kennedy, whoa. You, my girl, are full of wisdom… so proud of you! “You are you and only you”. I might need to put that on my wall or even a number sticker to remind all those around me of this truth. Thank you, thank you for sharing your heart and perspective, love ya, girl!

  16. Mona Volden says:

    Be true to yourself , follow your heart and live out your God-given talents to share with the world. Be brave and be kind – to yourself and others. Don’t follow the crowd and remember you will have days of unimaginable joy/mountain top moments as well as time lived in the valleys of darkness. Don’t let either of them define you but be times to give you perspective. Above all, be patient. Sometimes it isn’t the right time for the things you want. Remember God may answer- ‘no’, ‘not yet’ or ‘not now’ and it is in His time not ours.

  17. Mona, honestly… this should be framed in bullet-point fashion and placed on every student’s bedroom wall. You, my girl, have a wonderful heart and perspective, thank you for sharing! I’m forwarding your response to a few of my friends right now who need to be reminded of what you so beautifully outlined. Love you! Brent

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