Congratulations, Class of 2019!
As you embark on this new journey, on life after graduation, we want to honor your achievements and welcome you to the full, wide world of “adulting.” When we first heard “adult” used this way, we were like “wait, what?” But then we knew you all must be quite familiar with the term. After all, your generation has coined other phrases with new verbs, like “Google it,” and none of us will ever be the same.
So with you—the most innovative, socially conscious, driven generation yet—we’d like to share some of our aged wisdom (yeah, we’re 40—very old!).
As you step out into the world, real life and real challenges await. But we’re confident that your best days are ahead. We’ve watched and admired the passion of young people today and, as a result, we see your generation gearing up for a bright future.
We know this because you stand up to injustice. In the face of increased acts of violence, you’ve spoken out against atrocities and banded together—across cultures and religions—to support one another and stand together for peace.
You’re also devoted to social responsibility. You care about spending your money with companies and brands with ethical standards and sustainable methods. In fact, more than 9 in 10 of you would switch brands to one associated with a cause, according to a report from the Haas School of Business at University of California-Berkeley.
Additionally, you’re committed to helping humanity. A recent AmeriCorps study shows your heart for giving back through volunteering, with 17 million young people volunteering 1.6 billion hours of service in just one year!
And you have opportunities to explore. Economically, you are entering a greatly expanded labor market and the lowest period of unemployment in decades. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 11 percent more new graduates will be hired this year than from last year’s class.
Now as you take all your admirable qualities, creative thinking, and actionable compassion into the future, we do want to offer you our best words of advice for when it comes to adulting.
First and foremost, Trust in God. Life in the adulting world can get hard and confusing and make you feel beat up. Knowing that God is looking out for you and taking care of you will enable you to keep going and to enjoy the moment. When you live in the moment, you become content with where you are. You stop worrying about other moments you might be missing out on. You forget about what someone, somewhere, may be thinking about you. Where you are is a good place. Where you are is where God has you right now.
Also, you should play the long game. Choose the long-term over instant gratification. Delayed gratification is the discipline of saying “no” to something you kind of want now so that you can have what you really, really want—even if you have to wait for it. You may have to say “no” to lots of new jeans and gourmet coffees so you can save money to buy a car, but it becomes possible when you have a vision of what you really want. Do you see the life you really want? Are you willing to say no to other things so you can build it?
At the same time, be careful what you ask for. We love praying about everything—from parking spots at the mall to victory for our favorite sports teams—because God wants a relationship with us. He wants to be friends. That means He wants us to talk to him about everything that concerns us, and He wants us to ask him for things. An answered prayer isn’t the end-all answer, though. Responsibilities can increase. Life can become harder. You might find yourself frustrated, tired, or unsure. Without you even noticing, the very thing you asked for can become a source of anxiety and self-doubt. But when God does answer your prayer, He won’t leave you. God has already prepared a way for you to handle whatever comes after. He will walk with you through every step.
Finally, speak kind words. The old phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” should really be “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can kill my soul.” Words can make all the difference in someone’s life. In a moment, our words can either tear a person down or change a person’s entire day. Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) says; “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” It’s a choice we get to make a thousand times a day! Jesus was always intentional with his words. He spoke love, life, and truth—filled with kindness. Can you imagine if the entire world for one minute only spoke life-giving words? We think the results would be amazing. We can all help change the world one word at a time.
There’s so much more that could be said about adulting, but we’ll close with this: In Jeremiah 29:11, God promises, “For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So go and celebrate this incredible achievement and look forward to a bright future full of adulting. God has good plans for you, and we believe your best is yet to come.