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Life Offers Opportunities At Every Stage

This past weekend I attended my son’s college graduation in Denver, Colorado from the University of Denver’s School of Business.  There are certain events in life that mark a transition from one stage of life into another – forcing us to look critically at where we stand now and at the direction in which we  are heading.

Graduations are one such of these occasions.  It has been 44 years since I graduated from Dartmouth College in the spring of 1967.  Sitting in the audience I was reminded of how much possibility and opportunity we see in our younger years.  “Rules for the Long Road” was the theme of the commencement speech delivered by former Cisco president John Mordgridge, and it succeeded in including every generation present.  However, the most memorable point he made that I took away with me and that I would like to share with you is this.  Life offers opportunities at every stage of life.

“I long had a goal of becoming president of a company.” Morgridge said, “But it was not till I was 57 years old that I became president of Cisco Systems with its 34 employees. Life offers opportunity at every stage.”

As we get older, it’s easy to forget about looking at the world with new eyes, to maintain that hunger and desire to do more.  We find comfort in routine and familiarity.  As a plastic surgeon, a lot of my work has to do with helping patients reverse or slow down the aging process.  We all want to look and feel as good as we did when we were in our 20s.  As we age, I think it’s important to look at how our attitudes and values change with every stage, not only the lines and creases on our faces.

I will leave with Morgdriges departing words to the class of 2011.

““Stay hungry. Stay foolish. I’ve always wished that for myself. And now as you set out on your new phase of life, I wish that for you. Congratulations, and good luck.”