It's official: we're all getting older. If you had a child graduate recently, I'm sure you felt a little older on that day more than most. But this isn't a column for you; it's for those kids who walked the line and are transitioning into adulthood and are getting a little older themselves.
For them, I'll say don't be afraid just to try. There are a lot of you recent grads moving out of this bubble we live in, and it'll be tough. Those first few weeks, maybe longer, you'll be homesick. But don't be scared to go. Don't be hesitant to drive away. And, most importantly, don't ever be afraid to come back home.
It's a much different world out there than when your parents left high school. It's a much different place than even a few years ago. College can cost about as much as a small house in some parts. Jobs after college - or straight out of high school - are as abundant as the snow that fell this winter. But nonetheless, you still need to do something.
You're no longer shielded by the halls and classrooms at Whittell or South Tahoe. No more teachers or parents making sure you're on the right path. It's all on you now, and that is a wonderful thing.
Don't be afraid of your choices. If you choose to go into debt to get an education, make sure you get the most out of it. If you look for work right away, remember not to be too proud for any job. And if you're in the group that takes a year off from everything, be sure to soak it all up.
The next several years of your life, you're going to be figuring it out. And to be honest, that might not ever stop because once you think you have a grip on things, that's when the bottom tends to fall out. Don't beat yourself up over mistakes, because they will happen. Celebrate your accomplishments and never look too far ahead, but far enough to keep yourself motivated.
If you are leaving home, be sure to take a few cooking lessons from mom and dad. Remember that you can get lunch at 7-Eleven for less than $2; you can do more than a few different things with microwavable noodles; and a large pizza can feed you for three meals.
Take care of yourself out there. And though there are a lot of people out there that might impede your path, the biggest deterrent might just be yourself. After spending a year with a lot of you here in Tahoe though, I'm sure you'll do just fine. If I could walk down to the sports book and put money on that, I would.
Congrats to the class of 2012, and good luck.