“The Never-Ending Saga of Taylor Swift and 22” — An Article
Do you remember back then when Taylor Swift launched her party-vibe song entitled 22? Yep! This song seems to be sung by everyone on their 22nd birthday. However, Taylor’s story with the number 22 does not seem to end in her RED album. On May 18, 2022, the megastar singer who has been nominated for thirty-two Grammy nominations picked her honorary doctorate degree from New York University. At this opportunity, she delivered a motivational speech to the class of 22 who attended their graduation together with the pop star.
“Hi! I’m Taylor,” that’s how she began her speech.
As she thanked the chairman and all the members of NYU, she continued her speech by saying, “As for me, I’m 90% sure the main reason I’m here is because I have a song called 22. And let me just say, I am elated to be here with you today as we celebrate and graduate New York University’s class of 22. Not a single of us today has done it alone. We are each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us, those who have believed in our futures, those who have shown us empathy and kindness or told us the truth even when it wasn’t easy to hear. Those who told us we can do it when there was absolutely no proof of that. Someone read stories to you and taught you to dream and offered up some moral code of right and wrong for you to try and live by. Someone tried their best to explain every concept in this insanely complex world to the child and that was you as you asked a bazillion questions, like how does the moon work? and why can we eat salad but not grass? And maybe they didn’t do it perfectly. No one ever can. Maybe they aren’t with us anymore. And in that case, I hope you remember them today. And if they’re in this stadium, I hope you find your own way to express your gratitude for all the steps and missteps that have led us to this common destination. ”
Taylor also mentioned how she dreamt to go to college like a normal kid back then when she was a little. But life is not always about getting what you want. “You don’t always get all the things in the bag that you selected from the menu in the delivery service. You get what you get.” She told the graduates about how they should be proud of themselves as they survived and got their degrees in the midst of a global pandemic COVID-19. And as a swiftie myself, I found so many wonderful words that Taylor said for the class of 22. Here is the list of them.
Life can be heavy.
“Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once. Part of growing up and moving into a new chapter of your life is about to catch and release. What I mean by that is, knowing what things to keep and what things to release. You can’t carry all things.”
Learn to live alongside cringe.
“Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. “Cringe” is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term cringe might someday be deemed cringe. I promise you, you’re probably doing or wearing something right now that you will look back on later and find revolting and hilarious. I can’t avoid it, so don’t try to. For example, I have a phase when for the entire 2012, I dressed like a 1950’s housewife. But you know what? I was having fun. Trends and phases are fun. Looking back and laughing is fun. And while we’re talking about things that make us squirm but really shouldn’t, I’d like to say I’m a big advocate for not hiding your enthusiasm for things.”
“It seems to me that there’s a false stigma around eagerness in our culture of unbothered, ambivalence. This outlook perpetuates the idea that it is not cool to want it. The people who don’t try are fundamentally more chic than people who do. And I wouldn’t know because I’ve been a lot of things but I’ve never been an expert on chic, but I’m the one who’s up here so you have to listen to me when I say this.”
“Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date or to be friends with back then in high school. The people who wanted it the most are the people I now hire to work in my company.”
You will inevitably misspeak.
“So, this might be hard for you to hear. In your life, you will inevitably misspeak, trust the wrong person, underreact, overreact, heard the people who didn’t deserve it, overthink, not think at all, self-sabotage, create a reality where only your experience exists, ruin perfectly good moments for yourself and others, deny any wrongdoing, not take the steps to make it feel right, feel very guilty, let the guilt eat at you, hit rock-bottom, finally address the pain you caused, try to do better next time, rinse, repeat.”
“And I’m not gonna lie, these mistakes will cause you to lose things. I’m trying to tell you, that losing things does not just mean losing. A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too. Now you live the structure and framework of school and chart your own path. Every choice you make leads to the next choice which leads to the next, and I know it’s hard to know which choice to make. There will be times in life where you need to stand up for yourself, times when the right thing is actually to back down and apologize. Times when the right thing is to fight, and times when the right thing is to turn and run. Times to hold on with all you got, and times to let go with grace. Sometimes the right thing to do is to throw out the old schools of thought in the name of progress and reform. Sometimes the right thing to do is to sit and listen to the wisdom of those who have come before us. How will you know what the right choice is in these crucial moments? You won’t.”
And, I’m a doctor now, so I know how breathing works.
“We are led by our gut instincts, our intuitions, our desires, and fears, our scars, and our dreams. And you will screw it up sometimes, and so will I. And when I do, you will most likely read it on the internet. Anyway, hard things will happen to us. We will recover. We will learn from it. We will grow more resilient because of it. And as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, and breathe out. And, I’m a doctor now, so I know how breathing works.”
Well, big congratulations on getting your Doctor of Fine Arts, Taylor!