Anna Quindlen’s almost-delivered commencement address.  (She ended up sending it by e-mail since people wanted to protest against her at the ceremony).


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 minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

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 breast? 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 gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office.

Full text


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jolene on August 25, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    inspirational :) as was the ‘signs’ post – thanks


  2. Posted by Lyna on September 6, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Ditto on that! Especially this particular sentence, “It is so easy to exist instead of live.”


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