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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 8, 2001

Classmates offer some wise words

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Staff Writer

It's that time of year when lei and mylar balloons are put on order, luau tables are being reserved for graduation parties, and on school campuses across the Island chain — possibly around the world — teenagers are thick into that phenomenon best described as "yearbook philosophizing."

It's truly an art form, from the ever-popular, "keep cool and stay just the way you are," to the more elaborate, "today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday" variety, or the catchy, "2 cool 2 be 4-gotten".

There's something about that time in a person's life, when you're just about to cross the threshold into the "real world" that makes you suddenly very deep and reflective in a single-red-rose-with-a-silk-ribbon, frenz 4-eva kind of way.

The amazing thing is that the sentiments stay basically the same throughout the years, throughout the generations. A Kaua'i High School yearbook from 1953 (stolen from my mom) contains pages and pages of loopy sayings in loopy handwriting: "Cute U: Stay as sweet as you always are." Ê

Many of the things we end up writing when we're at that age have to do with trying to sum up in 20 words or fewer how we plan to live the rest of our lives. (Yes, these are all actual yearbook entries):

"Never look backwards and you'll always be ahead."

"Be what you want to be for you were born to be only what you want to become."

"Do what you want to do and don't do what you don't want to do."

"Blitz da doobie."

(Wonder how THAT one got past the yearbook advisor?)

Many seem like the answers to a creative writing exercise — Use the words "today," "tomorrow" and "yesterday" in a sentence:

"Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

"Think of yesterday, live for today and dream of tomorrow."

"Memories of our past, I'll remember but the future will bring more and the present is just good times."

"Live for the future not for the past for life lies in the future and the past is just one big memory to guide you along the way."

But among all the squishy talk of cherishing memories and never changing are some wise words, words perhaps we should actually try to carry with us into adulthood:

"Anything worth doing is worth doing well."

"Always be content with what you have but never with what you are."

"Each man is the architect of his own destiny."

"What you put in is what you get out."

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

"Count your blessings, not your troubles."

Pretty good advice. Of course, it always makes sense to stay our cute selves and keep cool this summer.

Lee Cataluna's e-mail address is lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com