From the miscellaneous drawer - Hard choices for graduates

How does one plan one’s future?
When one is over 80, it may not seem that should even be a question.
But it is. Folks my age may have thought that major decisions about life were only challenged and addressed in the age 12-20 years. Not so.
Back then, the life/living tests were rudimentary and oldsters often misinterpreted what they thought should be obvious to youngsters.
For instance, because I liked to know how things worked, it was suggested I should be a mechanic.
Because I liked to sing, I was told to be a performer.
For the first proposed choice, there was no understanding that my interest dropped off dramatically when imagined solutions failed to work to solve problems. For the latter, there was no accounting for extreme self consciousness, for stage fright.
Each 12-20 age group has so much pressure upon them.
Is the only true question ever asked: What do you like to do? What pleases you most to be doing? What do you have a long-time passion for?
If everything was equal, what would you choose to do?
And, no doubt, some seasoned advice by trusted advisors is to be considered. There has to be some realism added to the equation for the future.
However, I have long believed that sometimes extraordinary potential is underplayed, overlooked, undiscovered. And civilization is bereft because of that unrecognized potential. Were there to be a magic test to bring out that extraordinary gift, it would be a miracle for mankind.
I know what others proposed or imagined as my potential at 12-20. I know that it did not meet my own perceived need for the future.
Lucky the person who has a self vision and is allowed to pursue it. And even if there is a detour along the way, the journey is worthwhile.
So what’s the answer?
Ask the questions which should be asked by those who know you and respect you. And when that is done, ask questions of yourself. Those answers will be and are the most important to your future life, whether you are 18 or 80.
They should only matter, be of significance, if that result is what makes you want to exist in this world. Street sweeper or surgeon, attorney or artist. We each have only one go-around and we need to grab it and make it ours.
Those choices and others appear throughout life. Avoid the standards set by others and obey those that you make for yourself.
If you’re happy with your life, you are lucky. Stay in good health and have people or even one person who loves you and you are a success. Your life is better than many people experience on earth.
Those who are focused or fortunate, find their comfortable, essentially happy, perfect-fit niche in life. I hope you are one of those fortunate ones.
I was. And I’m still doing what I love.

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In the Ely Echo of June 30, 1997, twenty years ago, the headlines were:
• Ely sailor honored at Pearl Harbor sub site;
• Senate hears testimony on portages;
• World Press journalists visit Ely (since 1992) , roundtable set for Burntside Lodge;
• Ely’s waste disposal system - world renown- ready for overhaul;
• Nine is enough - Brian Olson pitches depleted Legion squad past Falls.