Congratulations, Mitch, your first lap’s run;
You’ve left boyhood behind, you’re twenty one;
A formal, legal adult, fully grown
And from this day, my son, you’re on your own.

If truth has any worth, it has to be
To your lifelong advantage that you see
Now, at this point, that no one ever cares
About those crises that you can not share.

No one can make your mind up, Mitch, but you.
You must decide what you will be and do;
No other living being on this earth
Can prescribe what you’ll be, or what you’re worth,

Unless you choose to let someone dictate
Your life’s terms, lad. You’re free to abdicate,
To give up on your life, waste it away,
Squander tomorrow on a wild today…

You alone arbitrate your life’s extent.
You’ll be the final judge of how you spent
All of your time, and when that judgement’s made,
You’ll allocate the passing/failing grade.

One life is yours, to do with what you will:
One soul, one mind, one destiny; fulfil
Each one, or squander it? The choice
Is yours and private ’til you give it voice.

And at the end of all, the bottom line
Has to be more concerned with me and mine
Than it can be with yours, his, hers or theirs,
For the unvarnished truth is, no one cares

What you do with your life. “That silly tit!
I’ve problems of my own, who gives a shit?”
That’s the response you’ll earn if things go wrong,
For every man must sing his own life’s song.

And ‘though that might sound harsh, let truth be told;
Each person who’s alive is growing old
And grappling, more or less, with thoughts of death.
No one can breathe with someone else’s breath.

None feel your pain, experience your fears,
None think your thoughts, hear music through your ears,
See rainbows with your eyes, smile with your lips
Or feel sensations through your fingertips.

As none can know the mind that rules your ways,
So none should think to designate your days.
Take strength from that. Be proud to stand and know
That you are seen to stand, prepared to grow.

Go for your goals, strive for what you desire,
Know what you want, and keep going when you tire.
Weigh your decisions, calculate your chance,
Weigh up the odds and plan far in advance.

But if you fail — and that but’s a big bitch! —
To realize yourself, that’s your fault, Mitch,
Not mine, your mother’s, family’s, wife’s or friends’.
It’s yours, and yours alone, and there it ends.

One more truth, son. The older that we get,
The greater grow our fears that we might yet
Fail, or give up, or lose that vital drive
That keeps us viable and makes us strive

To beat, improve upon, revise, update
All that we’ve done before that’s second-rate,
For nothing, ever, that’s already done
Should offer half the challenge or the fun

Of what’s upcoming, what we have to do
Tomorrow; something still undone, still new;
Something bigger and greater, something fine
That we can look at some day, saying, “That’s mine!”

So that’s it, Mitchell, that’s all my advice
For you to read, consider, say “That’s nice,”
And promptly disregard, to carry on
Living your life, setting your foot upon

The next, singular step along the way
To where you’re going. I hope, once there, you’ll say,
“So far, so good! I’m here, safely arrived,
Whole, unimpaired, unhampered and alive!”