The Old Codger’s Corner: My Blessing…These Few Precepts in Thy Memory

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By Ken D' Angelo '71, Staff Writer

This is my farewell salute to the class of 2015. It has been my great and sincere pleasure to meet, argue, laugh, and learn with a few of you. To my sadness and loss, I never got to know all of you. The happy truth is that my association with you has brought a renewed zest to me and my 66-plus years. My weekly musings in this column have infuriated some of you; amused some of you and hopefully given most of you a point of view that was new to you. As a graduation gift I’d like to give to you a small list of important things that I’ve learned in the 44 years since I took my departure from Le Moyne.

  1. Find something that you love. You can call it a hobby, a diversion, or an avocation. You will need something, not involved in your career, to which you devote a part of yourself and which provides a renewal to your life. I am not going to give you a list. Each of you must find your own activity of renewal.
  2. Your career may be elusive. It may take you several tries before you find a good fit. If there comes a time where you are having fun and getting paid for it, stop right there, you’ve found it.
  3. The intensity of hangovers increase at a geometric rate as one gets older. Have as much partying as you want. Just remember that the recovery time seems to double every ten years or so.
  4. Travel, travel, travel while you can. Seeing other parts of the world will not make you smarter, but it will give you perspectives that you will not get by staying close to home.
  5. One of the most precious parts of my life are three friends that I met in 1967, my first year here. We still keep close to each other. Three to four times a year we take off on road trips just like we did when we first met. Do everything in your power to keep tied to as many of the friends you found here as you can. They will be the most valuable gift that Le Moyne has given you.
  6. Keep learning! After your formal education is completed comes the best part, learning for fun. Learn to make your own fishing lures, or knit your own blankets, or paint still lifes and portraits or any other enjoyable waste of time. Read, read, read whatever interests you.
  7. Stay in touch with your family. Especially your parents. I know full well from personal experience that family can make you crazy and parents can make their adult offspring particularly crazy. I know there may be exceptions, but in most cases, family will be there when others leave you in the lurch..
  8. As your commitment to career, children spouse and community increases, your personal freedom decreases. Your time for yourself gets smaller and smaller. If necessary, be a miser with the time you need for you. Don’t be afraid to put on the brakes if you overextend yourself.
  9. Do crazy things. See the Northern Lights with someone you love. Ride a motorcycle. Ski down a hill one level harder than your last. Go camping alone. When you find the love of your life, love their faults, weaknesses and irritating quirks. This may seem crazy but you’d want the same from them. I guarantee that you too have faults, weaknesses, and irritating quirks.
  10. Trust your gut. If something seems fishy, it probably is. If the hairs on the back of your neck are telling you to stop and turn around, do it. Instincts are there for a reason. Pay attention to them.

I suppose that this is not much of a graduation gift, but it comes from the heart of an ornery, stiff necked, stubborn Old Codger. Best wishes to all of the Class of 2015.