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Advice for the Graduate

posted Friday May 31st, 2019

ab grad

Dear Annabelle,

Today you graduate from high school. You were born such an old soul, so to me, these rituals feel a little funny. And a little sad, because this means you will “leave leave” soon, as one mom (whose kid is staying in town for college) put it to me last night at your final high school dance performance. I know you’ll never really leave us — and it feels funny for me to give you advice, since pretty much everything I know that’s worth knowing, you’ve taught me. But I feel the need to send you into the world with a little advice, so here goes. Nineteen pieces of wisdom for the Class of 2019.

1. Do not cut bangs. You’ve made it this far — be strong. I can send you a picture of me from eighth grade if you need a reminder.

2. Marry someone smarter than you. The other stuff will shake out. But you need to feel like this person is your intellectual equal — at least. They should feel the same about you.

3. Keep dancing, making art, playing music.

4. Tell people what you think, but be careful about when and how you do it. Be honest but consider feelings — and consequences.

5. As soon as you can (but not during college), get a big dog. At least one.

6. See live music whenever you can.

7. Take risks, whatever that looks like for you. For your dad, that means scaling big mountains and taking on politicians. For me, it means pitching big stories and going to scary places. It will look different for you, it does for everyone.

8. Here is the key to baking, from your great grandmother Evelyn Sealove: BUTTER.

9. Read for pleasure, no matter how busy you are with other things. It’s the best way to be a good writer/thinker/talker/human being. It doesn’t need to be the “great books.” Read what you love, whatever that is.

10. Avoid unnecessary left turns.

11. Eat more protein.

12. If you’re going to talk behind someone’s back, make sure they can’t hear you.

13. If you are stressed out, take a deep breath.

14. Call your mother. And your father. Check your email once in a while.

15. Make new friends, and continue to treasure the old ones. Don’t let them slip away.

16. Travel whenever you get the chance. Pick your traveling companions well.

17. Practice the Golden Rule. It applies to everything.

18. Don’t get caught.

19. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. That’s from the Beatles. You can pretty much figure out life from their lyrics.

And finally, remember how much Dad, Sophie and I love you. Always.

xoxoxo Mom

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9 Responses to “Advice for the Graduate”

  1. Beautiful writing. Powerful wisdom. Amy, I hope you can turn this into a graduation speech in the future. All the best to Annabelle and her family!

  2. Great advice!

  3. Loved this but noted the difference between your advice and mine to my grads:
    1. Be Safe
    2. Condoms are your friend.
    3. Everyone lies about their sexual history (see number 1 and 2 above.
    4. Don’t get caught.
    5. If you do get caught, remember these words: “I want to call my lawyer”.
    6. You are not smart enough to talk your way out of a police/administrator interview. See number 5 above.
    7. You are smart. See numbers 1,2,and 4 above. Just not smart enough to survive an interview without your attorney. You are smart enough to know never to drink/smoke and drive.
    8. I will ALWAYS be your attorney. And your mom. And never hold you in judgment, even if you were not safe, were acting dumb and/or did get caught… as long as you did NOT talk without your lawyer present.

    Amazing difference between your background and mine.

  4. This list is perfection right down to avoiding “unnecessary left turns!”

  5. So wise! Lucky daughter, lucky parents

  6. Congratulations to Annabelle and her truly amazing mom/family!

  7. Congratulations Annabelle!

    Great advice for graduates and, well, just about everyone.

  8. Congratulations Annabelle! Awesome advice!

  9. What an amazing person you’ve brought into the world. Congratulations and much love to all of you, as she celebrates this ending and embarks on all the beginnings to come. (I am not sad that her next big thing is in my neck of the woods!) ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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