Graduation May 2021

Every year I receive graduation announcements from family members, friends, and neighbors. All these families are enormously proud of their young adult’s perseverance in completing their education, no matter the level.

You are no exception.  And, for that reason, I will give you some principles that stand the test of time and eternity. [Although I doubt you are thinking in terms of eternity right now.]

Below are several books which make for excellent reading as you walk into your future. If you read and apply to your life post-graduation, you will have a solid foundation upon which to launch your private life and your professional career. 

This is a  way of helping you avoid some of the hard lessons so many young adults have failed to be taught at home, in school, and our culture today.  Some of these principles may seem obvious to you, and you may say: “I already know that!”  Well, you may know the principle, but do you put that principle into practice every day?

I, Janice am a person of “Faith” – that means I am Christian and was brought up as a Christian.  My spouse is of another faith.  Although our paths are quite different, we are remarkably similar in our personal beliefs around basic principles.  You may be a person who has had no upbringing in any faith.   You may be a person whose family was divided into two faiths or more.  You may be a person, not unlike myself, who, as a young adult, searched for answers, asked many questions, and could not seem to find a person with the answers I sought.  This led to decades of a desert-like spiritual and emotional life of wandering in the desert of life.  I do not want that for you because you have a choice. 

You can choose now to answer these life-altering questions.  Here’s a great game plan, read and pause to think about each question and what it asks of you. Critical thinking and decision-making skills are not something taught in schools and universities in the US. If they are, they are taught with a slanted bias to whatever is culturally acceptable now.

Are you in?

This set of questions will help you form your own basic set of principles.

Question #1 – What do you believe?

Question #2 – Where did this belief come from?

Question #3 – What are you FOR?

Question #4 – What number from 1 being the lowest “I don’t know” to 10 being “I have a vision, mission and life plan” would you give yourself in your life area?

Life Area 1 – What do I want my home environment to be moving forward after graduation??

Life Area 2 – What do I want my finances to be moving forward after graduation??

Life Area 3 – What do I want my social responsibility to be moving forward after graduation??

Life Area 4 – What do I want my lifelong learning/growth to be moving forward after graduation? [there are three here:  Spiritual, Personal, and Professional]

Life Area 5 – What do I want my health and wellness to be moving forward after graduation?

Life Area 6 – What I want my relationships to be moving forward after graduation? [did you know you have many relationships in your life?  Social, Intimate, Professional, Personal]

Life Area 7 – What do I want my spiritual life to be moving forward after graduation?

Life Area 8 – What do I want my professional life to be moving forward after graduation?

Life Area 9 – What do I want in my life in terms of FUN moving forward after graduation?

Life Area 10 – What do I want in my life in terms of having a family, parenting & lifelong spouse after graduation?

Life Area 11 – What do I want in terms of my personal safety in my life after graduation?

Life Area 12 – What do I want in terms of myself in my life after graduation?

Question #5 – Are you an ethical person?  What makes you believe you are ethical?

I bet you have rarely, if ever, thought about half of these in your merging adult life.  I know this because I mentor and coach people every day of all ages, and many still do not have a clue.  It is as if they are wandering around in a foggy life, going through the motions each day.

You might consider thinking of a person or couple whom you admire, and have things well thought out and ask them: “How did you cultivate and plan…… [insert a paraphrase of the questions above…”

Most people let life happen to them by living by default.  Start living life by your design.  Take time to dream, to envision what kind of a life you want.  In order to live a meaningful, full, vibrant life, you need these answers, and you need to have a plan on how you are going to get what you want out of life. 

I encourage you to read the books listed below, in this wonderful moment of bliss after your graduation and honestly think about these things.

Today Matters by John Maxwell

Know What You’re For by Jeff Henderson

Let The Journey Begin by Max Lucado

It’s Your Ship by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

Change Your World by John Maxwell

One of the things I learned a when I was in my 30’s was this:  I am a life-long-learner, and I love to read.  What I noticed is there are some books that are timeless, and I started putting them on their own shelf in my personal library bookcase.  Each year, I would read each one of them again.  This ingrained the information in my head and after 10,000 hours of reading, I began to have these timeless principles, words, values and so one immediately on the tip of my tongue when speaking to others. 

When I met husband, at age 17, he had an already well-formed life bucket list of what he wanted, at what age he wanted to achieve those items on the list, and he had already envisioned having and being all of the items on his list.  Yes, there were setbacks, hard times, adjustments in timetables, and expectations, but he and I always worked the plan.  Did you notice I said, “he and I”?  I, as his spouse had a choice to walk beside him and support his plan or resist and be on a different road.  That is called alignment.

Yes, I had plans and dreams of my own, and they have all dove-tailed into our chosen life goals, plans, and vision for our lives as we walk this road of life together.  Partners in life must communicate and live life on common ground.  Even with different goals, dreams and plans we came to a place of alignment and happiness of working our plan, realizing our dreams, and living a life of fulfillment.

Every day and I mean every day, my husband and I are asked this question:

“How do I get what you have and where you are in life?”

Our answer is always the same:

“Have a plan and work your plan.  We put in the hard work of education, immediate gratification, and desires, to have and live the way we do now.”

You know, sadly, after we give our answer, those who ask look discouraged, turn and walk away.  What if they asked:

“Would you show me where I can draw up a new plan for my life and realize my dream?” 

What would happen?

My prayer for you is to enjoy the journey, no matter what path you take.

The future is yours to have.    Congratulations!!