It’s that time of year once again. Those we love will soon parade on stage, dressed for success in cap and gown, to collect a piece of parchment signifying their academic achievement. If ever there was cause for a celebration feast, this is it!
With that in mind, here’s a recipe for graduates.
Start with one good egg hard (that’s you) boiled by a dozen years of school assignments and life experiences. Carefully remove the outer shell that too easily hides the essence of who you really are. Realizing you have nothing to lose, risk being yourself without the protective pretense you’ve grown accustomed to projecting.
Then sift through the collection of memories you’ve preserved in the vacuum sealed containers located in the pantry of your mind. As you unlock each memory, savor the fragrance of what those memorable moments emits. Take time to simmer.
Stir about the mixed emotions reduced from simmered memories. Take note of what you feel. You will discover that bitter memories and sweet ones blend together into a poignant and profitable picture of the past.
To this mixture of contemplations, combine your abilities and interests along with your hopes and dreams for the future. A focus on what’s ahead is the yeast that raises expectations of what in time might be.
Don’t forget to add a pinch of pride. Reaching this milestone in your life is a definite cause for feeling good about yourself. Processing reasons why you are “worth your salt” will add to the nutritional value of the feast you are preparing.
Make sure you add a half cup of humility to the aforementioned ingredients. Remember, although you’ve graduated you haven’t yet arrived. An honest estimation of what you have yet to learn will go a long way in making sure what you eventually dish out to others will be well done.
Pepper your parents with questions about what they wish they’d learned by your age. Their answers might surprise you. The truths they have to offer are nothing to sneeze at. After all, they have actually tasted firsthand what you are currently wondering about.
Extract from your grandparents a splash or two of wisdom from the vat of their fading perspective. Ask questions of those you trust who have a vested interest in your future. The flavors they’ve tasted aren’t easily acquired but will definitely add to the complexity of what you serve as you make your entrée into the adult world.
Make sure you marinate on the meaning of life. This is a step too often neglected. For this purpose, use a brine drawn from the well-seasoned advice of pastors, priests or rabbis. The values articulated by your spiritual mentors will release the potential within you. After all, faith is like chicken stock. It is the foundational ingredient that both flavors and enhances the other ingredients that life’s recipe calls for.
Parboil the lessons of life you’ve learned from the books you have read. In the process of completing school assignments, you’ve likely encountered authors who have identified a hunger in your soul for knowledge. What did they teach you about suffering, perseverance, forgiveness, acceptance and love? Coat your mind with those insights.
There you go. It’s a simple recipe that you won’t find in a typical cookbook. But it’s a recipe for a successful life that is tried and true. As you continue your educational pursuits on another campus or in a career of your choosing, it’s a recipe that will serve you well wherever you go and whatever you do. Bon appetite!
Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos is the full-time chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community on Mercer Island. He is the faith and values columnist for the Mercer Island Reporter and contributes original poetry each Blue Friday to KOMO news radio.