Buckley: Life is like an avocado - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Buckley: Life is like an avocado

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Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 11:30 am

Good evening students, teachers, and families of Red Mountain High School. I'm honored to have the privilege to speak before you today. Now, writing a graduation speech was all well and good until I realized I actually had to talk about something. I had a period where I was overwhelmed with possible - speech topics, as this is an open-ended speech. I could tell all of you just about anything right now. However, I wanted to focus on one idea, something that would stick. So, to my colleagues, my friends and to the whole graduating class of 2014, I say this: Life is like an avocado.

Now that simile may not make a lot of sense, and I won't be clarifying it much during this speech. That's sort of the idea though. See, when I said that life is like an avocado, some of you may have just scratched your heads, but maybe some of you were nodding your heads, because you've been waiting years for someone else to see life for the avocado that it really is. Maybe the optimists out there thought I was talking about how this seemingly odd and insignificant fruit, with the right amount of effort, can become guacamole, which isn't half-bad. Maybe the cynics in the crowd took it a different direction, that after all the toil to get through the layers of the avocado; you just get to an ugly, hard core of disappointment. Then again, maybe some people turned that idea on its head, that the avocado core is a seed, and that the point of life is to leave a legacy for the next generation. It's my hope that all of you see life’s avocado-like qualities a little different from the people sitting next to you, or from anyone, for that matter.

Now, what I'm getting at is that there are going to be ambiguities in life. There are going to be things, like the avocado, that are nonsensical, that are out of our hands and that are unknowable. As we move through life, our opinion about these things is going to change. There will be days when we think, "life isn't an avocado, it was never an avocado, and if I ever thought life was an avocado, I was living in a fantasy" and others where we'll think, "I can't believe I didn’t know life was an avocado, and my failure to acknowledge it only demonstrates my own short-sightedness." These changes in opinion are fine; they're part of the process of life.

What's important is that today, as we launch into the adult world, we make it our mission to figure out definitively how and why life is an avocado. We must take the deep questions we have about our identity, our principles, our future, our legacy, our purpose, and replace them with answers. That may seem hard, and it is, it's a lifelong process that not everyone masters. That being said, I don't think anyone here can say it's not valuable. Discovering who we are, where we're going and what we believe in, and then applying that to our lives is key to fulfillment. To be honest, the theme of my speech is incomplete. Life isn't just an avocado. Life is a journey to discover what the avocado is. That's why we're all here, right? As we move beyond high school, we're going to need to be prepared for the challenges and questions that await us. Our time at Red Mountain has helped us grow not just as students, but also as people and explorers. I don't just mean explore in the physical sense. High school has given us the academic, extracurricular, and social tools we need to explore our futures. We have a duty to use those tools to figure out how we can make a positive impact on the people around us and lead meaningful lives. Without those tools, life wouldn't be an avocado. It would just be some avocado-shaped silhouette that we could never go after. The years we've spent here at Red Mountain have opened doors for us, and that's something to be thankful for.

Today, we start a new chapter of our lives, and all I can say is never stop searching for your ideal avocado. If today that doesn't make a lot of sense, that's ok. It will someday, for each of us.

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