Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 7, 2021

Another year, another graduation . . . speech!

Every year around this time I sit by the phone . . . waiting. I figure some school somewhere will call and ask me to share this nearly four decades worth of journalism knowledge with the young folks they are getting ready to unleash on the world through a graduation ceremony. After all, I spoke at my high school graduation more than 40 years ago. It's something everyone ought to do every half-century or so.
And yet, every spring I continue to be shocked that the phone sits silent.
Until this year!
There I was, sitting in the world-wide Sagamore News Media HQ when the phone rang and what popped up on caller ID? Yes! It was a school! It took me a second to answer. I wondered if I should sound busy, distracted, overly polite? One should never take little things for granted. So, with great anticipation I picked it up and promptly found out it was a wrong number.
Another year down the diploma. Not one to let words - good or otherwise - go to waste, I am sharing these pearls of wisdom with the eight or nine of you who regularly follow these dribblings.
Without further ado . . . ahem . . . Dean, members of the board, distinguished visitors, moms and dads, distant relatives invited simply for the cash envelopes and, of course, graduates.
You see standing before you a svelte guy. OK, maybe svelte isn't the perfect word, but a little more than a year ago you would have seen a morbidly obese guy - or in technical terms - a big'un,
And yes, I could bore you with one of those motivational speeches about how, you too, can lose 75 pounds and change your life and pay me $29.95. But that's not what this is about.
No, boys and girls, this is about choices.
Because no matter who you are, where you come from, what color your skin is or which bathroom the state says you have a right to use, you live your life through a series of choices. You choose when to get out of bed. You choose what to eat. Where you are going. What to wear. How to act.
On another level, you choose your friends, your interests, your likes and dislikes.
Even deeper, you choose how you want to live. You choose whether you want to work hard, how honest and ethical you wish to be. In short, you decide - either consciously or without much thought at all - what kind of person you want to be.
In case you're wondering, no, I did not wake up one day and say, Golly gee willikers! I think I'll become morbidly obese! What I did decide was to get two fast-food sandwiches for breakfast. I decided to have some candy in my desk. I decided to go to the all-you-can eat trough for lunch . . . and supper. I decided to have an evening snack . . . and a late-night one as well.
And I decided to lose some weight and do some exercising . . . tomorrow. Yes, we lie through our teeth to ourselves and those around us. I wrote a column about a plan to get healthier, and indeed I did. Problem is, I wrote the column in 2008. I started exercising in 2015.
Why? Because we are now a nation obsessed with instant gratification. We prove it through our electronic gadgets and gizmos. I proved it with trying to eat myself to death.
There's an old saying. What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying. If a fat person tells you they are going to go on a diet simply nod your head. In a few months you'll know one way or the other.
So that's this year's message. If you think it's just about food and fat and failing you missed the point. Life, graduates, is about choices.
And oh yeah, it's about one other thing. Once you make those choices, on purpose or otherwise, there are - good, bad or indifferent - consequences. What will you choose?

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