This is a msg sent by a friend.If any forum members like to
read..... for a change
This is the commencement speech by the writer, Anna Quindlen,
to the graduates at Villanova this year.
It's a great honor for me to be the third member of my family
to receive an honorary doctorate from this great university.
I have no specialized field of interest or expertise, which
puts me at a disadvantage talking to you today.
I'm a novelist.
My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever
confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only
part of the first.
Don't ever forget what a friend once wrote Senator Paul Tsongas
when the senator decided not to run for re-election because he
had been diagnosed with cancer: "No one ever said on his/her
deathbed, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"
Don't ever forget the words my father sent me on a postcard
last year: "If you win the rat race, you're still a rat."
Or what John Lennon wrote before he was gunned down in the
driveway of the Dakota: "Life is what happens while you are
busy making other plans."
You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing
that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out
there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people
doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only
person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular
life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your
life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life
of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account,
but your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much
easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a
cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or
lonely, or when you've gotten back the test results and they're not so
Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried
never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent.
I no longer consider myself the center of the universe.
I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband.
I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say.
I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me. Without them, there
would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard
cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch.
I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if those other
things were not true. You cannot be really first rate at your work if
your work is all you are.
So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life,
not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the
larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those
things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself
on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch
how a red tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls
with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb
and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who
love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up
the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter.
Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the
best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.
Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.
Take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work
in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister.
All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing
well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes. It
is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way
the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises
It is so easy to exist instead of to live.
I learned to live many years ago. Something really, really bad
happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had
my druthers, it would never have been changed at all. And what I
learned from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all:
I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it
is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you
I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of
it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried
to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned.
By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the
fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face.
Learn to be happy.
And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will
live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.