Chris Waddell released his first book, Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget. The book is based on Waddell’s 2011 Middlebury College commencement address, that landed him on NPRs list “The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever” and gives us rarely seen insight into Waddell’s struggles.
“I have learned so much from the things that have gone wrong in my life, and I wrote the book to remind myself of those struggles, but most importantly so others can learn from them” said Waddell. “I want to give others a refreshed perspective about living fully.”
Book Summary – The Perfect Message for the Graduate
In Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget Chris Waddell achieves honesty rarely seen. From the drawing on the cover, replete with erased first attempts, he lets us see and benefit from his struggle. His 2011 Middlebury College commencement address, provided the genesis of this book that provides great insight and inspiration.
“Commencements are glorious moments when a beginning and an ending occupy the same space. In our non-stop lives, they represent an opportunity to pause, to assess the past and to plan for the future. Amidst the reflection, celebration, and optimism lay the landmarks, if we can recognize them.”
He concludes by saying, “If there is anything to take from a graduation speech, it’s that everyday should be a graduation. Everyday should be an opportunity to stop, just for a moment, and look forwards and backwards. Otherwise, one day spills into the next. One day becomes ten or twenty years.” Between the two thoughts, he makes everyday graduation. He invites us into the start of a ski race, the bright lights of open-mic night at a comedy club, first steps and trying something new like learning to draw. Along the way he introduces us to our best selves-the fun, bright and charismatic ones.
Chris Waddell’s story is different from ours, but it feels familiar-familiar to the lives that we hope to lead. Things That I Want to Remember Not to Forget is a fun read. Read it once. Reread it again and again. Give it to your friends. Gift it to a graduate.