This spring I sat through three commencement ceremonies and read the advice offered by speakers at several more. Very few people seemed to dispense the type of wisdom I have to offer. It’s essentially an accumulation of old adages and advice that’s been passed on to me through the years, as well as the result of reading and personal observation. In the interests of preserving humanity I offer these thoughts to the college graduates of the class of 2000. The list isn’t long and the order is random, implying no hierarchy of importance:
- Life is like dismantling land mines. Step carefully or something is likely to blow up in your face.
- Learn to expect the unexpected. Life is not like an alarm clock where everything goes off as planned. Life is as uncertain as a grapefruit’s squirt.
- Consider the advice of the American Automobile Association: Drive with care. Life has no spare.
- Work hard. The job you save may be your own.
- Life is like a loaf of bread. The yeast of hard work raises the dough.
- Heed this warning from a compliance officer speaking at an LUTCF conferment: “Life started as a cell and, if justice is done, some agents will end up there.”
- Footnote to above: Live your life so your autograph is wanted more than your fingerprints.
- Notice the motive of 92-year-old Barbara Hazelaar of Fairbanks, Alaska, who was lifted from her wheelchair June 25 for a 20-minute ride in an ultralight: “What do I have to lose?”
- Be certain that even if you have plenty to live on, you also have something to live for.
- Brain cells come and go, but fat cells live forever.
- From a CPA: Keep your head up and your overhead down.
- Remember, too, that when you finally save enough for a rainy day, some of your relatives will start sending in bad weather reports.
- A fool and his money will be lucky to get together in the first place.
- From a psychologist: If you burn the candle at both ends, you’re not as bright as you think.
- If life looks a little cloudy, maybe the window of your soul needs washing.
- You don’t stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.
- Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying.
- Another tip from the AAA: The highway of life has more toll roads than freeways.
- People are like tea bags-you have to put them in hot water before you find out how strong they are.
- From a general agent: Suit up, show up, shut up and listen.
- Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.
- If more husbands had self-starters, fewer wives would have to be cranks.
- Adopt these ten letters as a financial blueprint for the rest of your life: GTP. STP. LOTR. Give 10 percent. Save 10 percent. Live On The Rest.
- Nothing lasts as long as a necktie you don’t want.
These may not be the most profound thoughts formulated for the benefit of humankind, nor perhaps the most brilliantly expressed, but they all relate to survival. Ignore them at your peril. It doesn’t matter how clever you are, you still need to be alive and comparatively healthy to have a reason to get up in the morning.
A veteran producer, Ron Hauenstein represents New York Life in the Spokane, Wash., area. Comments on his column may be addressed to Mr. Hauenstein at 818 W. Riverside, Suite 500, Spokane, WA 99201, or firstname.lastname@example.org.