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—Illustration by Matthew Hollister

Shh, An Old Person is Talking

The two-minute commencement speech you'll actually want to hear.

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Greetings, young coloradans. By the looks of all the selfies you’re taking, I’m guessing you’re all about 22, which means you’ve only very recently began to enjoy some of our state’s signature craft beer and whiskey—and our incomparable legal cannabis.

If you’re younger than 21 and graduating today, you’re probably smart enough to realize you really shouldn’t partake in much of this for another three to five years. But if you celebrate, do so in moderation.

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Of course, “Colorado” and “moderation” don’t exactly go hand in hand. Colorado is extreme. We push our physical, mental, and intellectual limits. We go big with our trucks, our beards, our skis, our ideas.

But even though every cell in your system is telling you to gulp, I’d urge you to sip. The main benefit of youth—apart from the fact that nothing hurts yet—is that you’re free to go in any direction, professionally and personally. Think of all there is to do in the Centennial State: rock climbing, craft distilling, opening a restaurant (or a food truck), starting a farm that supplies restaurants and food trucks, working for a social cause, inventing an app, joining a band…or one of our state’s nine Fortune 500 companies. Your options in Colorado, at this age, might be infinite. And, as diverse as those opportunities may be, so too are the political opinions.

Colorado is, and probably always will be, a deep, regal shade of purple. I happen to lean a little blue; you might lean more red. Digesting these disparate viewpoints—really thinking about them, accepting them, and finding ways to work with them—will make life here more fun, more interesting, and way more productive. (Same goes for the weed, except maybe not the productivity part.) But, with some luck and plenty of attention to detail, Colorado can count on permanent status as a great place to be. It’s up to you to make it a great place to do.
P.S. Always wear sunscreen.


Three honorary degrees for recent newsmakers:

Ph.D. in Big Wall Climbing, Awarded To: Tommy Caldwell

In January, Estes Park’s Tommy Caldwell, along with his climbing partner, Kevin Jorgeson, became the first to free-climb El Capitan’s 3,000-foot Dawn Wall in Yosemite Valley. Weather, exhaustion, and especially Newton’s Second Law of Motion conspired against the climbers, but in this case willpower outmatched gravity.

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Master’s in Bad Behavior, Awarded To: Lance Armstrong

We wanted to believe Lance Armstrong pedaled to seven Tour de France victories using only his amazing lungs and smooth legs, but he didn’t. So we can’t say we were entirely surprised when he coaxed his girlfriend into taking the blame for his February car wreck in Aspen and then fibbed to the authorities about it.

Bachelor’s in Communication, Awarded To: Marjorie Silva

Cake got a little less sweet when Azucar Bakery owner Marjorie Silva found herself at the center of a religious discrimination lawsuit after she refused to decorate a cake with anti-gay messages. Here’s hoping no one has to eat those words.


Best Line From An Actual Colorado Commencement Speech:

“Graduation is about one thing—presents. Wait, I read that wrong. Graduation is about being present. Stay in balance and keep your foundation strong. Your diploma is an inanimate object. So be the animator and bring it to life.” —Eric Strough, South Park animator and University of Colorado alumnus, University of Colorado Boulder spring 2014 graduation.

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