If I were to give a speech at my high school graduation...

Here's the speech I would have given if I were allowed to at my high school graduation. Maybe it's a good thing I wasn't chosen.

It seems impossible to fully live as yourself, without regrets. I have done terrible things that seem all right at the time and grow worse with thought, things that I know are wrong but are what I think will make me the happiest. Also, too many of us have too long been swayed by the force of friends, family, and society into doing things we wouldn't normally do. The power of this force is unbelievable, brings me to do things unrepresentative of myself.

However, I regret nothing I have done. Mistakes aren't for stultification or grief, but rather for learning. I have been my best teacher; my experiences at work and school, and in relationships, have made me who I am today.

Sometimes I like to fail. I have broken nearly every rule that has been set upon me, and I wouldn't change anything I have done, because I have been myself, and have grown from it.

It's like "The Night at the Roxbury;" head-bobbing Doug and Steve want to open up their own nightclub, pick up women, and become successful and popular, but they can never gain entrance to the Roxbury, and their father completely disapproves of their ventures. Nothing seems to go right for them, and they're about ready to stop disobeying their father, abandon their ambitions and settle into the fake-flower business. However, they get into a car accident and start meeting the right people from there. They succeeded because they believed in themselves.

Both good things and bad come with every experience in life. While it is unhealthy to dwell on the negatives, neither can we allow ourselves to push them from our minds, for they may prove constructive in the future. Just as we lose from our gains do we gain from our losses. For no reason should we forgo taking a chance, pursuing a dream, to evade the pain of failure or defeat. What do we have to lose? We can be disillusioned and bereft, but, despite the difficulty certain times may present, trying to live out the fantasies we entertain is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Some of us may have months before they return to a life of responsibility and work, some but a few days. We look forward to college, jobs, families, happiness, and with these things will come fear, hardship, and hatred. Whatever direction your life takes, whatever you will encounter, I hope you grab at the chance to preserve everything you are, everything you truly hope to be, for there are plenty of opportunities to make reparation with others, but there are fewer to completely forgive yourself for betraying who you are.

I want your every action from this point on to be completely reflective of who you are. After I step down from this podium, after you walk away from this ceremony with your diploma in your hand and your future to craft, I hope what you do is not just something you want to do, but something you would have done anyway.

In fact, I hope you all gain nothing from this speech. Everything I say I hope will fall upon your ears as obvious, every lesson I might teach you I hope you have already learned. As a peer, there is little I can impart to you that has not already been touched upon, but anything I can say that can enhance your life or illuminate some part is worth my breath.

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Alan Baggett 8 years ago from Russellville, Alabama

You got to love the Butabi Brothers. Well versed and your passion shines through.

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