New Castle News

June 6, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: For the Class of 2013, there’s no looking back — promise?

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Congratulations, Class of 2013!

You made it.

Your last history lesson is history.

Your last final — final.

The unsure children who once needed help to climb the school bus steps will now stride confidently across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Go ahead, rock that robe!

Go ahead, flip the tassel from right to left!

Go ahead and toss your mortarboard into the air even before the speaker finishes his final sentence.

You’ve earned the right to celebrate.

All those late nights studying.

All those early mornings following the late nights studying.

All those people who teased you in the hallways. And, worse yet, all those people who ignored you.



Time to move on.

But consider this a warning: You will be tempted to spend the rest of your life checking your review mirror.

Don’t do it.

“I have memories — but only a fool stores his past in the future.” — David Gerrold


Powerful, powerful things, those memories.

They’ll make you laugh. They’ll make you tear up. They’ll make you want to relive them all over again.

And, if we let them, they’ll make you crazy.

If you remain stuck in the past, you’re just going to remain stuck. In the past.

And stuck in the past is not a good place to be.

But, if you’re going to get stuck somewhere, be sure it’s between your past and your future.

You know, that tension-filled zone that’s one part fear, one part doubt and one part excitement.

Some people call it “Now.”

Every day, in some small way, loosen your grip on what’s behind you and grasp a little harder what’s ahead.

In other words, use the past.

Learn from it.

Let it be your springboard to a brighter future.

Just don’t stay there.

“Adulthood is when the ghosts of childhood appear.”  — Terri Guillemets


One of God’s greatest gifts is your memory.

Powerful Bible verses will bubble up at just the right moment.

Words of affirmation, uttered by a parent or coach years ago, can inspire you today.

The aroma of cotton candy can take you back to the amusement park.

Or to your vacation at the beach. Or your first home run. Or your favorite Uncle Joe.

Like Peter Pan, we’d love to soar back and never leave.

But here’s the flipside. (There’s always a flipside, you know.)

Your memory is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons.

The time you froze during speech class. The game you struck out with the bases loaded. The drunk uncle who made a pass at you.

The meeting with your doctor that he opened with, “I’m sorry. ...”

Not only do we want to forget those moments, we wish they had never happened.

Regardless, it’s still OK to use the past.

Both the good and the bad.

Learn from it.

Let it be your springboard to a brighter future.

Just don’t stay there.

The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” — Bill Keane


Before you have a chance to burst from the starting blocks toward tomorrow, be prepared to live in the past awhile longer — at least through the summer.

And that’s OK. Just think of it as your grace period.

At graduation parties and other family gatherings, you’re going to hear ...

•“When I was your age ...”

•“You’ll realize soon that high school was the best time of your life.”

•“The world you’re entering is NOTHING like the good old days.”

•“Boy, I wish I had a chance to do it all over again.”

I won’t argue their validity. Those statements are probably true for those who share them with you.

But they aren’t real any longer.

So go ahead and let your elders regale you with stories from the past. Give them an opportunity to confess their regrets.

And by all means, learn from them.

Let them inspire you or teach you what to avoid.

Experience is often the best instructor. And it’s much less painful when it’s someone else’s experience.

“Praises for our past triumphs are as feathers to a dead bird.” — Paul Eldridge


Your future is now.

And you must cling to that phrase along the journey of life. You must.

Let me give you the bad news first: You know all the touchdowns, all the A’s, all the extra-curricular activities you’ve amassed through your school days? In and of themselves they are meaningless. Gone.

Unless someone has kept a record of what you’ve accomplished, it no longer exists.

But here’s the good news: Together, all those things have made you who you are TODAY.

Right now.

All the studying to get the A’s yesterday has made you a much better student TODAY.

All the weight-lifting and running that made you a great football player yesterday has gotten you into prime physical condition TODAY.

All the volunteer work you did yesterday has made you a more compassionate young person TODAY.

And what you do today — all the choices you make and habits you sustain — will make you who you are tomorrow.

And that’s the version of you that employers will want to hire. That’s the version a potential spouse will want to marry. That’s the version of you who can help change the world.

There’s no looking back. There’s no standing still. There’s no such thing as resting on your laurels — whatever a laurel is.

Only forward motion gets you to where you desire to go.

“Bring up the past only if you are going to build from it.” — Doménico Cieri Estrada


It’s your grace period, remember, so feel free to check back into 2011 when you get together with friends over the summer.

Remember all the fun you had in 2009.

Gather wisdom from the negative experience you had last year.

In other words, use the past.

Both the good and the bad.

Learn from it.

Let it be your springboard to a brighter future.

Just don’t stay there. Please.

Your future is way too bright to remain stuck in the shadows.

And we can’t wait to see you shine.

(To follow Tim Kolodziej on Twitter, CLICK HERE.)