New Beginnings

New Beginnings

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

New Beginnings

June, 1996

Dear Graduate,

Well, this is it! Graduation is over and you’re ready to begin life’s journey! I know you have lots of mixed feelings. That’s the weird thing about most of life’s big moments—very rarely do they consist of one emotion. But that’s okay. It helps to make the good times more precious and the not-so-good times bearable.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what sage advice I could pass along. That’s one of the hard parts about being a parent—determining what should be said and what should be left for you to discover. I finally decided just to offer a little insight to life’s basic questions. Some people go through their whole lives without ever giving them any thought. Too bad—as you search for the answers, you can make some wonderful discoveries. They can also be frustrating; just when you think you’ve found the answer, you’ll find the need to ask another question. (Which explains why even at my incredibly advanced age, I still don’t have any answers!) At any rate, I hope that sharing this little piece of myself and my soul will somehow help to carry you through when the questions come along.

Who? It took me a while to realize that this is probably the most important question of all. Take time to discover who you are and be your own person. Strive to be honest, respectful and happy. When you are at peace with yourself, everything else will fall into place. Just be careful not to wrap your identity in possessions. Allow yourself to grow and change. And remember always that you are not alone—you have your family, your friends, your guardian angel and God (not necessarily in that order!).

What? This is a tricky one, and at first this question had me fooled. I thought the question was, “What will I do today?”However, I found that things really got interesting when I instead asked, “What is my passion?” Discover what it is that burns inside and keeps you going, then nurture it. Take it apart and build it back together. Do whatever you want with it, but never let it fromyour sight. Do it because that’s what you love to do. The joy it brings you will keep you going through some of the doldrums of life.

When? This is the sneaky one. Do not ignore it. It will keep you balanced. Some things are best done now. Procrastination usually just creates more work. But keep in mind that there is a season for everything, and some things are better left for another day. As hard as it may be, remember to take time to rest and enjoy the miracle of each new day.With practice, you will learn the pleasure of doing some things now and the unique delight of waiting and planning for others.

Where? Surprisingly, this is the easiest one. You will always have the answer with you if you keep your home in your heart and put your heart into wherever you call home. Be an active part of your community and you will discover the special charm that will endear it to you. Remember always that the simplest act of kindness can make an enormous difference, and that you can change the world.

Why? Never stop asking this one. It’s the one that will keep you growing. Let it. Let it challenge you when you’ve become too complacent. Let it shout at you when you are making decisions. Let it whisper to you when you lose sight of who you are or where you want to be. But you also need to be careful with this one. Sometimes the answer does not come for years, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. Recognizing that basic fact can keep you sane and allow you to move on.

How? Ah, this is the one on which I can’t advise you! This is the one you will answer in your own special way. But you’ve come so far in the past few years, I know that you’ll do fine. Just remember to believe in yourself and in miracles. Remember that the greatest discoveries come after stumbling over questions. And please remember— always—that I love you.

Congratulations on your new beginning.
Love,
Mom

Paula (Bachleda) Koskey

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