The other day, my wife asked me if I knew how to freeze thyme. Of course, by listening to her, I heard the question, “Do you know how to freeze time?” My first thought was that one show with the girl that stopped time by touching her fingertips together. Then I started thinking that it is graduation time again. So, I give my address to the class of 2008.
Congratulations on making it this far along the path of life. Many people never make it to where you are today, and many who do will stop once they get there. It is my fervent hope that you don’t stop here, but that you move on to the next step with enthusiasm that befits your youth.
Make no mistake; the times that we have given you have the potential either to be a new golden age where you can enjoy prosperity, or to be a dark age where everyone gets to suffer. Whatever they are, they will be whatever you make of them, since we have given you a brutal hand to play. For that, I apologize on behalf of those who control the world today. I hope you learn from our mistakes and do better for the next generation.
As in years past, I want to give you a few pieces of advice that will help you to make this world as great as it can be.
1. Don’t lose the humor of life. No matter how bad life may seem at the time, there is always something to laugh at. Usually, you can at least laugh at yourself. If you can’t laugh at yourself, learn to.
2. Never take anything too seriously, including yourself. There are very few things that are ever as serious as they seem to be. Pencils have erasers, computers have delete keys, and people can apologize.
3. Especially when you are young, be young. Make mistakes, do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, and enjoy life. Soon enough, many of the enjoyable things will be harder to find, but you will always have the memories.
4. Everybody has bad habits. Spend some time breaking one of yours. You’ll be surprised at how easy it really is, and you will get a huge boost from succeeding.
5. Tell someone that you love them, and prove it. Do this whenever you are feeling a little down and out, or lost. These are the people that will help you get back to normal.
6. Get lost. We get so buried in routines that we rarely venture off the beaten path and try something new. Once in a while, make a turn when you should go straight and vice versa. You’ll be surprised at what may be at the end of the road.
7. Find one thing that you are passionate about and make it your cause. Do something to help forward that cause every day that you can.
8. If you haven’t already, you will soon start identifying with a political affiliation. No matter which party you belong to, get in the habit of following the news as presented by the “other guys”. Your own party is only going to tell you things you already believe. The other side may cause you to ask questions. Questions are good.
9. Find someone that you don’t like, but that you don’t know why. Try to get to know that person. You will either find out that you really do like them, or you will discover the reason you didn’t like them in the first place.
10. If anyone ever asks the question, “How do you freeze time?”, give them this answer:
a. Cut both leaves and flowers of thyme as you need them throughout the growing season. Don’t worry about taking too much at a time – the more you cut, or even shear back, the more it will grow.
b. Store fresh thyme leaves in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
c. Retain maximum flavor by freezing thyme. Freeze branches on cookie sheets, then strip off the leaves, put them into plastic containers and return them to the freezer. Or mix finely chopped thyme with just enough olive oil or butter to bind them together, and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays.
d. Dry entire branches of thyme on racks, or tie them into bunches and hang them in a dry, well-ventilated spot away from direct sun. Store dried leaves in airtight jars.
Finally, this is really your time to shine. The keys to the future are now yours. Some people may make you take them away by force, others will gladly hand them over to you. Be good stewards for the world and take a little better care of it than we did. Do good.