††††††††††† First I would like to welcome and warmly thank everyone who has come out this Saturday morning to support the graduating class of 2003.Thatís about how far I gotwhen I sat down to begin writing this last night.Then I decided I should probably start thinking about this before I start trying to write another boring, rambling, unguided and unhelpful commencement message for your sheer enjoyment.Well the first thing that dawned on me was how powerful I am standing up here today.I mean I am the only thing that stands between you and this pile of diplomas sitting on the table behind me.It is up to me how long you have to sit here waiting and when you are allowed to move past high school and commence on your journey through adulthood.Before I can let you go, though, I have to come up with and offer you some piece of life changing inspirational thought that you must carry with you for all eternity.

††††††††††† ??? in his address at the baccalaureate service last Sunday spoke of coming to life, not becoming yet another lifeless, souless drone who measures his life on a forty hour clock; the man who drags himself out of bed each and every morning to start his daily eight hour dose of hell.Maybe he leaves to bus tables at the local diner, but he could also be dashing off to take an express elevator up to his beautiful office the size of a small nation to run his Fortune 500 company.These men both lack a necessary part of life: passion.Without a passion or love to work for, ones life will soon become a bleak, barren, and endless cycle of years and years of your life, if you could even call it that, wasting away.It is passion that sets man above all other beings on Earth.

††††††††††† So now Iíve fed you this word, passion, and told you how much you need it, and how important it is and what not, but Iíve failed to travel down its rocky road of definition.I found passion defined as the object of oneís enthusiasm, and this definition kinda disappointed me.With this definition, a passion seems to be little more than a hobby or pastime, but thatís not it at all.A passion guides and rules your life; it defines who you are, and as I mentioned just a few sentences ago, each and every one of us, no matter who we are, what our friends are like, or how much money we make needs a love, something to strive for; something to make you human.

††††††††††† Now all Iíve talked about is the easy stuff, the fact that you do in fact need some sort of passion, but finding it is a whole other issue in and of itself.First of all, your passion will not just come to you; in all likelihood you wonít get drugged up one night, and slip into a hallucination in which you discover your passion in fits of nightmares about giant pink bunnies that are chasing you across the countryside of northeastern Djiboutian province of Marijuana.So since it wonít come to you, youíre going to have to go out and find it.Now with any normal piece of guidance, we could talk to people, find out what other people think, and look to our peers and those we look up to for guidance, but the key is that you are searching for YOUR passion. Everyone else may offer the perfect guide to finding their passion, but finding what you love is one of those things that you have to try on your own.So, how exactly do you find it?Well as badly as it works on the ITBS, guess and check is the only effective method for finding your passion.

††††††††††† You have to keep trying things, all kinds of things: everything from sports like Parcheesi and band to other fun activities like camping in front of the school and learning random boy band dances.You have to learn to think outside the bun; to realize that you really can eat out and lose weight with Subwayís seven subs with six grams of fat or less.You canít just let your life stagnate in the present, you must continue to grow, experience new people, places and things.

††††††††††† I decided that every speech had to have at least one list of three things, so I decided that this would be a good place for it.So here they are: Tomís three magical steps to achieving maximum personal growth and breadth of experience.Well, maybe not so magical, but good to listen to nonetheless.First, you have to realize that you will neither look good or be good at everything the first time you try something new.Donít be afraid to look dumb or perform terribly, especially if youíre new at it.What if youstumble upon something that you will love in due course, but youíre too afraid of looking bad when you are trying it on for size, just like a pair of shoes, or something like that.I could use the Michael Jordanís cut from his high school basketball team as support, but I decided to choose a less used, slightly closer to home example.

††††††††††† Freshman year, wow that seems like so long ago doesnít it, a young man, lets call him ďTom,Ē was a little nerdy, Mr. Happy, fresh out of middle school strapping young lad.Well the first track practice Tom went to seemed easy enough for him, maybe because they handed out forms, but the second practice was a completely different story.Tom died, he was running along a power-line cut and he stopped breathing, keeled over, assumed the fetal position and died.The next day, following his palís decision to quit the team, but Tom returned and ran his first meet.In some track meets they run the boys and girls together in one heat to move it along; well in Tomís first track meet, he lost to everyone, except for this one girl.Let me tell you, he was flying like a penguin with one wing.Well the moral of this story is that three years later, Tom realized that he had found a passion, something to drive him.His freshman year, Tom would have thought running would be the last thing heíd ever actually enjoy doing, but as he matured and improved, he found that he and running were like white on rice, peas and carrots, Forrest Gump and Bubba.

††††††††††† Hereís Tomís second magical step to achieving maximum personal growth and breadth of experience: go out and see the world in whatever way possible.This could be something as liberating as going on a three month trek across the African savannah and jungle or as inconsequential as visiting the Covington Wal-Mart instead of always hanging around the one in Conyers.Whatever the scale whatever the scope; experience different areas, different cultures, and different people.If you never experience anything other than what you are used to, you will never know what you might be missing or you will have no sense of value for what you have.Maybe you will find someplace or something that you like more that life in Conyers or Georgia; but you could just as likely discover that Georgia is where you belong and you will come to love it even more after visiting other areas.The world you have seen and the experiences you have had are essentially your life, your bounds; the more you experience the richer, more well rounded you will probably be.

††††††††††† Well nowís where I start apologizing to all you wonderful people because I lied earlier; I really only had two points all along, I just wanted to get yíall really fired up for my big kicker after hearing my amazing first and second points.

 

Then I have to write a conclusion at some point.