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芭芭拉.華特斯為2012年耶魯大學畢業生演講

Yale University 2012 Commencement Address by Barbara Walters

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:芭芭拉.華特斯

2012年5月20日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源Yale Video

身為ABC(美國廣播公司)新聞通訊員、記者、製作人及作家的芭芭拉.華特斯,於2012年5月20日於耶魯大學畢業典禮演講。

 

關於芭芭拉.華特斯(來源Wikipedia

芭芭拉.華特斯(生於1929年9月25日)為美國廣播記者、作家及電視名人。她曾經主持過晨間節目《今日秀》(Today)及《觀點》(The View),新聞時事節目《20/20》,共同主持《ABC晚間新聞》,亦服務於美國廣播公司新聞網(ABC News)。

 

芭芭拉.華特斯為2012年耶魯大學畢業生演講

 

你們看起來棒極了,多麼壯觀!午安,恭喜優秀而朝氣蓬勃的2012年畢業生、如釋重負的家長、親愛的朋友和筋疲力盡的教授。十分榮幸各位給予我這份殊榮,在這個對你我來說都意義非凡的日子演講,容我脫帽向各位致敬。

 

因此,我想先談談這頂帽子。當我抵達時,迎接我的是一位傑出而熱情的女士-Pamela Laurans院長。(歡呼聲)她對我說,「妳想上樓稍做梳洗嗎?」我說,「我想不需要。」她看著我說,「是的,當然,妳已經梳洗過了(washed up,亦有過氣之意)。」(笑聲)Pamela在哪裡?(笑聲)總之,她補償了我,這是她的帽子。(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

因此,如你們所知,幾年前我親筆撰寫了回憶錄,書名為《試鏡》(Audition),因為對我來說,人生彷彿無止盡的試鏡。撰寫這本書時,我必須對家族做些研究,包括素未謀面的祖母Lily,她顯然是一位十分優雅且難以取悅的女性。臨終時,她轉向七位子女,對他們說她還是處女。孩子們說,「呃-怎麼可能?我們都在這裡,三個兒子和四個女兒,妳必定曾經和爺爺做過什麼。」她說,「沒錯,但我從未投入其中。」(笑聲)(掌聲)

 

因此-(笑聲)(掌聲)因此,當校方問我今天是否願意來此替大家演講,我告訴自己,「這些孩子比我聰明,這些孩子比我年輕,他們受過比我更高的教育,但老天作證,我得投入才行。」(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

你們知道,這是一項艱鉅的任務,因為我習慣每天在電視上發言,身邊通常還有四位不停插嘴的女人,因此今天能在不被打斷的情況下暢所欲言令我十分開心。但我不斷思考該說什麼,希望能對你們的人生產生些許影響,即使接下來十分鐘也好。

 

大學時期,我就讀的是一所非常小的大學,名叫莎拉勞倫斯,建立於中世紀。我有位教授後來變得非常出名,他的名字是Joseph Campbell,他鼓勵我們追尋自己的夢想-「做你喜愛的事,追尋你的夢想,你將獲得真正的成功。」

 

好,那是很棒的建議,只是大學畢業時,我對自己真正喜愛的事物毫無頭緒,我找不到可追尋的夢想。因此,當我今天看見你們,我認為在座許多人確實知道自己的夢想為何-醫學、法律、生物、生態或社會學研究所-但除此之外呢?本屆畢業生有多少人確實知道自己的夢想為何?請舉手。意外嗎?人數不多。多少人不知道自己的夢想為何?請舉手。別害怕,大多數人都不知道。我直到三十多歲才幸運地找到屬於自己的夢想,但那是另一個故事了。因此,當你們踏出校園,每個人、每位朋友、每位家人都會問道,「你有何打算?接下來想做什麼?」只要告訴他們你尚未找到夢想即可。

 

最後我確實找到了我的夢想,擁有事業成功的人生。如你們所知,我曾經訪問過自林肯以來每一任美國總統及第一夫人。(笑聲)(掌聲)糟的是,在座有些人竟信以為真。(笑聲)其實是從尼克森開始。我曾經訪問過世界各國的領導者,從卡斯楚到普丁,及去年12月系列訪問中的巴夏爾‧阿薩德(敘利亞總統)。因此我應該知道一些關於領導能力的事,可提供你們一些相關資訊。但我決定,今天提供給各位的大多是某些睿智的人的智慧及故事;這些年來我有幸訪問的人。因為我認為,比起我個人的淺見,他們的話語或許更能幫助你們得到問題的解答,及追尋夢想的方法。

 

我想談論的大多跟選擇有關。明天及未來的日子,你們即將面臨的大多是選擇,因此,我們從歐巴馬總統開始談起。如果你們碰巧看過我在《觀點》中對他的訪問…呃…就在上星期二。我私下問他是否在自己的夢想道路上前進,他說是的,他成了社區組織者。然後我問,在這個經濟不景氣時期,他認為還有什麼工作機會。他說目前最棒的工作機會落在科學及工程領域。如果那是你的夢想,你很幸運,你是少數擁有工作機會的幸運兒。但在新年訪談中,我問總統他年輕時認為自己將來會做什麼?這是他的回答:「我擁有許多不同技能。有一陣子,我認為自己或許會成為建築師,我喜歡建造房屋的想法。我不知道最後是怎麼回事,我依然對建築工作充滿嚮往,我喜歡欣賞建築物。之後有段日子,我認為自己或許會成為籃球選手,直到我發現自己不夠格成為職籃球員。我曾經認為自己或許會成為法官,但當我下定決心進法學院就讀後,發現整天待在法官席上或許會令我坐立難安。我知道自己唯一不曾預期過的,就是成為美國總統。」

 

於是我說,「那麼,當你找不到可做的事之後,只剩下當總統一途,對嗎?」

 

他說,「是的,我想,如果非得為自己找到一些用處,這件事也不算太糟。」

 

總統之後的例子是一位想當總統的女性-或許她仍然有機會-那就是我國國務卿希拉蕊,一位最…(歡呼聲)世上最受尊崇的女性之一,她的故事與選擇有很大關係。她人生中某個階段,曾經面臨一個極為重大的選擇:行為不檢的總統、危機重重的婚姻、顏面無光的國家。以下內容來自我2005年對希拉蕊的訪問。

 

「柯林頓夫人,妳的人生與把握機會及做選擇息息相關。妳曾經面臨的最重大選擇為何?」

 

她說,「與丈夫維繫婚姻。經常有人問我為何不與比爾離婚,我只知道沒人比他更瞭解我,沒人能像比爾一樣令我開懷大笑。即使經過這些年,他依然是我見過最有趣、最充滿活力、最善解人意的人。每個人每天都面臨如何過生活的選擇,我知道許多目睹我生活的人會說:『天哪,多辛苦!』但我的看法不同。我在意的是得到的教訓及曾經擁有的機會。」

 

我問道,「妳得到最重要的教訓是什麼?」

 

她說,「人生是一份禮物,我們在過程中一路學習,愛、希望和信念是我們所能擁有最重要的禮物,也是我們能互相贈予的禮物。遭遇困境時,你必須決定什麼對你來說是重要的,你的優先順序為何。你必須仔細聆聽內心的聲音,總會有人對你該做的選擇和決定持有不同看法。但最終,我們隻身來到這個世界,孤獨地死亡,我們的生活與人生歷程完全取決於自己。」

 

希拉蕊之後的例子是達賴喇嘛,他一向是我最喜愛的領導者之一。一位沒有國家的男人;一位被眾人視為神、自稱為老師的男人;兩歲即獲得現有的頭銜,遭西藏流放的達賴喇嘛。我前往印度達蘭薩拉訪問他,因為如你們所知,他遭受西藏流放。我訪問他是因為,當時我們正在製作一個兩小時的特輯,名稱為《天堂在何方?如何前往?》。我訪問過許多不同信仰的宗教領袖,大多數人都說,人生的目標是上天堂,或前往極樂世界。然而,當我對達賴喇嘛說,「人生的目標是追求快樂。你如何得到快樂?」

 

「靠慈悲心。」他說。「一顆仁慈的心。你可由藉由摒除所有負面想法和競爭念頭擁有這種心境。」

 

因此採訪後大約三天,我試著實踐達賴喇嘛的教誨-我展現同理心、我盡力展現慈悲、我摒除嫉妒心、我摒除負面想法、我經常微笑、我竭盡所能地展現慈悲-我感到無聊透頂!(笑聲)

 

然而-事實上,達賴喇嘛確實令我受益良多,這堂課並非毫無所獲。同理心及慈悲心,說來簡單,卻難以做到,但我盡力實踐這兩項特質。

 

既然談到同理心,我想與畢業生談些關於友誼的事。看看四周,看看身旁的人、後方的人,你眼中所見的這些人,或許是你在本校歲月中最重要的收穫;你在耶魯結交的朋友,或許是你擁有過最棒的體驗。他們將繼續成為你人生的一部分,直到你或許-但願不會發生-忘記指導教授的名字,甚至他曾經教過的東西。

 

我的家人不多,我有個女兒,我的朋友和家人…朋友是你在耶魯的成長經驗中難以磨滅的部分。珍惜他們;盡力藉由除了facebook以外的方式與他們保持聯繫;以同理心及慈悲心對待他們;別失去生命中的朋友。

 

好,現在我想談的是兼顧一切。因為現今男性及女性面臨的選擇,大多是你們父母和祖父母不曾經歷過的,那就是-你們希望擁有如工作般重要的私人生活;你希望參與孩子的成長;你不希望將責任留給丈夫或父母。因此,你如何兼顧一切?你還有其他必須做的選擇。是的,你將面臨的最大問題之一、最大的樂趣之一、或最大的成就之一,就是在這些生活中取得平衡:工作、人際關係-無論什麼-及孩子。

 

因此,接下來我想談的是-因為我真的很喜歡以下內容,十分有趣-告訴你們關於凱薩琳‧赫本的故事。你們知道她是誰嗎?很好,或許有人會說,「誰?哪位?什麼?」好…她是一位傑出的演員,於2003年過世,享年96歲。她是風靡一時的偶像,也是流行指標,因為她對任何事都十分篤定。她說話有點像這樣-非常果斷。我記得當我從中東返回時,我們所聊的一些話題。

 

她說,「我眼中的事物非黑即白,妳呢?」

 

我說,「我剛從中東回來,恐怕我所見的事物都蒙上灰色的陰影。」

 

她說,「好吧,我同情妳」(笑聲)

 

因此-我與她聊天。她…呃…年輕時曾經有過一段婚姻,不曾再婚,與演員史賓塞‧屈賽有段很長的婚外情。因此…她的事業一帆風順,她不曾擁有孩子,不曾擁有幸福的婚姻。

 

我說,「妳是否能兼顧工作、婚姻與孩子?」

 

她說,「我入行時不可能-至少無法擁有令我滿意的婚姻,因為女人得十分謹慎,才不會嫁給白痴。」

 

我問道,「為什麼?」

 

她說,「好,因為世上沒有妻子這種商品。我是指-情況十分混亂,性別角色的混亂。我是指-看看雄性及雌性鳥類和蜜蜂,牠們的分際十分明確,我們的情況越來越複雜。我是指-50年前我穿上長褲,宣稱我打算走中性路線,妳知道,但我是指-我從未以女性身分生活,我以男性身分生活。」

 

我問道,「怎麼說?」

 

她說,「好,我只是完成我極度渴望的事。我自食其力,我不怕孤單一人。」

 

我說,「兼顧一切是否困難重重?婚姻、孩子、工作-以我的情況來說,確實非常困難,我的人生大多在取得其中平衡間掙扎。」

 

她說,「絕對辦不到。如果我是男人,絕不會娶職業女性,當母親會把我折磨至死。假設小Johnny或小Katie罹患腮腺炎,而我必須出席首映典禮,我會想勒死孩子,我真的會想勒死孩子。(笑聲)我會暗自思索:『天哪!我得做好心理準備,看看他有什麼毛病,然後要他離開我的視線!』明白嗎?」

 

我說,「如果你是男人,絕不會娶有工作的女人?」

 

她說,「我不會蠢到那種程度。我希望她感興趣的是我,不是工作。工作令人沉迷,我不知道女人該如何是好。」

 

或男人!因此-歡迎加入充滿選擇的人生。

 

接著是訪談中我最喜愛的部分,與選擇無關。我對她說,「記得上次我們談過的話題嗎?我做了一些從那時起就十分後悔的事。當時我們談到妳年華逐漸老去,妳說有錢人不…記得妳這麼說:『我像棵老樹。』我說:『哪種樹?』妳說:『我像棵橡樹。』我說:『沒錯,每個人都忘了妳曾經說過妳像棵樹,我的訃聞將會寫著:她問人們想成為哪種樹;妳為何要問傑出的凱薩琳‧赫本是哪種樹?』對嗎?」

 

她說,「我經常思索人們是哪種樹,妳不會嗎?」

 

妳曾經思索最好的朋友是哪種樹嗎?

 

「好吧,」她說,「妳不是指那個問題吧?當我望向窗外,我知道我不是後院那棵該死的梧桐,老是垂著枝幹,用枝條戳人;我也不是愚蠢而無用的小樹;我是雄偉的橡樹。我在樹林附近見過一棵這麼大的-一棵白橡樹,枝幹彷彿光芒般穿過圍牆,就像它一樣雄偉。」

 

(笑聲)

 

太精彩了!

 

(笑聲)

 

沒關係,拿走吧!

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

呃…稍早前,我和在座某些人用午餐時,曾經談到柴契爾夫人。我沒將她的訪談寫在講稿中,因為我不知道有多少人記得她,但接著我想起有部叫《鐵娘子》的電影。我從柴契爾夫人身上學到的是:如何與失敗共處。因為她是世上第一位女首相,也是任期最長的首相,最後失去自己政黨的支持。我在她剛卸下首相職務時訪問她,當時她正處於極度沮喪的狀態。她說,「妳知道,當電話響起時,我想我必須接電話,我必須返回唐寧街,然後…我想起首相已不是我。」

 

她說,「這非常重要。妳十分年輕,人生剛起步,但妳將-但願不會-但妳或許將遭遇…某些失敗。妳將繼續前進,寫出新的人生篇章,甚至擁有更美好的時光。」

 

當我加入ABC(美國廣播電視台),成為新聞聯播節目中首位女性共同主播時,我完全搞砸了。報紙頭條寫著:「芭芭拉‧華特斯;一敗塗地」。我痛苦極了。但最棒的經歷是,我必須努力東山再起。正是那個時候,我得到之前所提的所有採訪機會。

 

如果遭遇失敗,你將重新振作,你將安然無恙,你將東山再起。別沉浸於這些想法-「為何是我?怎麼會是我?這不是我的錯!」

 

給你們一個例子。我想讀一段名叫克里斯多夫‧李維的人所說的話。我讀這段話給你們聽,是因為人生有時會面臨極大的困難與挑戰,看似難以承受,但只要堅持到底,就能辦到;堅持到底,就能克服難關。你將擁有人生目標;克里斯多夫‧李維的人生正是如此。

 

提醒你們一下他是何方神聖:他是一位優秀的演員,因為在電影中扮演超人而舉世聞名。他也是一位傑出的運動員。他會駕船、滑雪,最重要的是,他是一位優秀的馬術師。直到1995年,在一場馬術競賽中,他的馬未能跨越障礙,馬匹倒地,他也跟著摔馬。他發現自己頸部以下全身癱瘓-這名曾經是探險家、演員和運動員的男子。

 

他妻子來到他身旁,對他說,「克里斯,如果你希望,我們會設法拔掉這些管子。」

 

他躺在床上,全身插滿管子,完全無法動彈。

 

她說,「記住,你依然是你自己。」

 

這句話有兩層含意:「你依然是你自己嗎?」和「你依然是你自己!」然後她離開病房,醫生進入房中,身穿白袍,操著濃重的口音。醫生說,「我是直腸科醫生,翻身!」

 

李維彷彿看見瘋子似地看著這位醫生。醫生說,「聽見沒!我說了!翻身!」當他正試著想辦法…呼叫護士或其他人,制止這位瘋狂的醫生時,他抬起頭來,發現那是羅賓‧威廉斯。(笑聲)他曾經和羅賓‧威廉斯一起就讀茱莉亞學院。他放聲大笑,然後說,「如果我能笑,就能活下去!」

 

以下是克里斯多夫‧李維所說的話:「當你如同現在的我,逐漸發現身體已不屬於自己,心智和意念將接管一切。這是一項挑戰,當你跳脫這些想法-『為何是我?這不公平!我何時能再次行動?』我的想法轉變成:『好,其中有什麼可能性?』現在我能看見曾經視而不見的機會與可能性,因為每一刻都顯得前所未有地清晰和珍貴。我收到十萬多封來自世界各地的信件,這使你開始思考:『為何我們非得遭遇不幸,才能真正感受及珍惜彼此?』眾人的支持令我感動萬分,如果我能幫助人們瞭解,這種事可能發生在任何人身上,這一切就值得了。因此,我確實認為自己正進行一趟旅程。」

 

我問道,「你認為自己能再次行走嗎?」

 

他說,「我認為我極可能再次行走。如果不這麼想,我將無法再次行走,就這麼簡單。這只是做與不做的問題。就像一場牌局,如果你認為這場牌局值得一搏,就打出手上的牌。有時你會拿到許多好牌,有時則否,但我認為這場牌局值得一搏;我深信不疑。」

 

他的話十分有道理。經過多年復健與試驗後,他終於能不靠喉嚨裡的呼吸管呼吸。受傷後第一次,因為喉嚨裡沒有呼吸管,他可以聞玫瑰花香或品嚐咖啡,這是一項了不起的成就。我最後一次見到他、擁抱他時,他的胸口已有感覺。他可以感受到壓力,他可以感受到那個擁抱。他創造出精彩的人生,由克里斯多夫‧李維、妻子Dana及三個孩子共同建構而成。他演講、導演電影、為科學家募集數百萬美元,推動幹細胞研究,希望能治療眾多脊髓受損的病患。他的人生,儘管十分艱辛,依然擁有意義和目標。他於2004年10月過世,是世人的重大損失。

 

因此,我想告訴各位的是,你們將踏入人生中一個嶄新的章節。我希望你們擁有長久而充實的人生,獲得許多不同的成就。別急著立刻找到夢想,連我們的總統也曾經不知道自己的夢想為何;我也曾經毫無頭緒。某天,你將驚訝地發現,夢想就在眼前。

 

但無論做什麼,別像我祖母Lily一樣僅是「參與」,請全心投入!盡力盡心、勇往直前。做選擇時,如果有所懷疑,請相信你的直覺。感覺對嗎?感覺好嗎?請記住,最後你依然得獨自做決定。當你和父母、朋友、祖父母討論時,請記住我今天所說的話:最後你依然得獨自做決定。

 

嫉妒、憤怒或害怕時,試著保持同理心和慈悲心。支持你的朋友。

 

最後,無論你手上有什麼牌,但願你找到值得一搏的牌局。我找到了。比起我手上曾經擁有的牌,我更高興今天有這份榮幸見到各位。

 

謝謝大家,希望你們的人生如同一棵雄偉的白橡樹。感謝各位。(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About the talk

Barbara Walters, ABC News Correspondent, reporter, producer and author, addresses the Yale Class of 2012 during the traditional Class Day speech on May 20th 2012.
 
About the speaker
Barbara Walters (born September 25, 1929) is an American broadcast journalist, author, and television personality. She has hosted morning television shows Today and The View, the television news magazine 20/20, co-anchored the ABC Evening News, and is a contributor to ABC News.
 
About the transcript
You look absolutely marvelous. What a sight! Good afternoon! Congratulations to this wonderful class of 2012 exuberant graduates, relieved parents, loving friends and exhausted professors. I’m really so honored that you give me the privilege to address me in what is so special a day for you and special to me as well — my hats off to you.
 
So I wanna tell you first about this hat. When I arrived, I was greeted by a most wonderful and welcoming lady, Master Pamela Laurans, and… who said to me, “Would you like to go upstairs and wash up?” And I said, “I don’t think I need to.” And she said, looking at me, “Yes, you’re right. You are already are washed up.” Where is Pamela? Anyway, she made up for it. This is her hat.
 
So, as you heard, a few years ago, I wrote my memoir. It was called Audition, because to me, life has been a continuous audition. And while writing the book, I had to do some research of my family, ugh, including my paternal grandmother, Lily, whom I had never met. She was evidently a very elegant and fastidious woman. And on her death bed, she turned to her 7 children and told them that she was a virgin. And they said, “Well, how is that possible? We’re here, 3 sons and 4 daughters. You must have done something with Grandpa.” And she said, “Yes, I did. But I never participated.”
 
So… So when I was asked if I would come here today to talk with you, I said to myself, “these kids are smarter than I am. These kids are younger than I am. They are better educated, but by god, I am going to participate.”
 
So… You know it’s a daunting task, because I’m used to talking everyday on television, usually with 4 other women who interrupt me all the time. So today it’s a great joy to be able to speak uninterrupted. But I was trying to think of what I could tell you that’s going to make the least bit of difference in your lives, even 10 minutes from now.
 
When I went to college, I went to a very small college, called Sarah Lawrence back in the middle ages. I had a professor who became very well-known. His name was Joseph Campbell. And he exhorted us all to follow our bliss. “Do what you love. Follow your bliss. And you’ll truly be successful.” Well, that was a great advice, except when I graduated from college, I hadn’t a clue what I really loved. I had no bliss to follow.
 
And so when I look at all of you today, I think many of you do know what your bliss is. Graduate school of medicine or law or biology, ecology, sociology — How about none of the above? How many of you in this graduating class truly know what your bliss is? Raise your hands. Isn’t that interesting? Not that great a number. How many of you do not know what your bliss is? Raise your hands. Don’t be afraid. Most of us don’t.
 
I didn’t find my bliss until I was in my 30s and then by luck, but that’s another story. So when you walk out of here, and everybody, every friend, every family member says: “What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What…” Just tell them you haven’t yet found your bliss.
 
I did finally find my bliss, and I’ve had a professionally blessed life. As you learned, I’ve interviewed every US President and First Lady since Abraham Lincoln. The terrible thing is that there are some of you out there who really believe that. But it’s really been since Richard Nixon, and I have interviewed world leaders from Fidel Castro to Vladimir Putin and this past December series, Bashar al-Assad.
 
So I should know something about leadership and some message that I could give you. But I decided that what I could offer you most today is the wisdom and the stories of some of the most thoughtful people that I have been fortune enough to talk with over the years. For I think their words, rather than just mine, may help to answer your own questions and your own quest for bliss.
 
Much of what I would talk to about has to do with choices. And much of what you will be facing tomorrow and then the years ahead are choices. So let’s start at the top with President Barack Obama, as it happens that you’ve heard I interviewed him on The View… ugh… just this past Tuesday. And I asked privately if he had followed his bliss. And he said yes, he became a community organizer.
 
Then I asked what jobs does he think are available during this tough economic times. And he said the best jobs right now are in science and engineering. If that is your bliss, you are fortunate. You’ll be among the few with a job open for you.
 
But in the New Year interview, I asked the President, what as a young man he thought he would be doing. And this is what he answered: “I have a bunch of different skills. For a while, I thought that I might end up being an architect. I like the idea of building buildings. I didn’t know what happened to that. I still really admire architects. And I love looking at buildings. Then, for a while, I thought that I might be a basketball player. Until I realized that I wasn’t good enough to be a professional basketball player. I thought I might be a judge. But then (after) I decided I have to go into Law School that (I found) I was probably a little too restless to sit in the bench all day long. The one thing I know I didn’t expect was that I was going to be President of the United States.”
 
And I said, “Well, when you’ve ain’t got nothing you couldn’t be, the only thing left is to be President, doesn’t it?”
 
And he said, “Yeah, I guess if you’ve got to find some use for yourself, this isn’t the bad way of doing it.”
 
From President to a woman who wanted to be President — one day she still may be it — that is our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, one of the most… one of the most admired women in the world, and her personal story is very much about choices.
 
At one point in her history, she had one of the biggest choices a person could make: a President’s fall from grace, a marriage in shambles, a nation embarrassed. This is from an interview with Hillary Clinton in 2005: “Your life has been about taking chances and making choices, Mrs. Clinton. What is the biggest choice that you have to make?”
 
She said, “Staying married to my husband. I’m often asked why Bill and I have to stay together. All I know is that nobody understands me better. No one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these year, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I’ve ever met. Everyone has a choice every single day about how to live your life. And I know that many people looking at my life would say: ‘Oh my goodness! How tough!’ “I look at it differently. I look at the lessons that I’ve learned — the opportunities that I’ve had.”
 
I asked, “What’s the most important lesson you learned?”
 
She said, “That Life is a gift, and that we learn as we go. And that love and hope and faith are truly the most important gifts that we can have. And that we can give to one another. And that when something difficult happens, you have to decide what’s important to you — what your priorities are. And you have to listen hard to your own heart. There are always going to be people who have different ideas about decisions and choices that you should make. But ultimately, we are born alone; we die alone. And the life we make, the journey we take is really up to us.”
 
From Hillary Clinton to the Dalai Lama, he is one of my all-time favorite leaders, a man without a country, a man regarded by many as a God who calls himself a teacher, and was given his title when he was two years old, the exiled Dalai Lama of Tibet. I went to talk with him, in Dharmsala in India, because as you know he has been exiled from Tibet. I went because we were doing a 2-hour special called, Heaven: Where Is It And How Do We Get There? And I talked to a great many religious leaders from the different faiths. Most said the purpose of life is to go to heaven, or to paradise. The Dalai Lama, however, when I essayed: “The purpose of life is to be happy, and how do you get to be happy through compassion?”
 
He said, “A warm-heartedness — You achieve those qualities in heart by abandoning all negative thoughts and feelings of competition.”
So for about 3 days after the interview, I practiced what Dalai Lama had taught me –I practiced compassion, I was extremely warm-hearted, I was not jealous, I had no negative thinking, I smiled a lot, I was so warm-hearted and I was exceedingly boring!
 
But, in truth the Dalai Lama did give me a lot to aspire to. It was not a lesson lost. Compassion and warm-heartedness — so simple and so hard to do, but I’ve tried to practice both. And while I’m speaking of compassion, I want to say a few words to this graduating class about friendship.
 
Look around. Look at the people next to you and the people behind you. The people you see may be the most important take-away of your years here. The friends that you have made here in Yale may be the best experience you could have. And they will continue to be a part of your life, long after you may — heaven forbid — forget the name of your professor, and even whatever he had taught you.
 
I have little family. I have one daughter. My friends and my family… And your friends have been the steady part of your growing experience here at Yale. Treasure them. Make the effort to stay in touch with them beyond facebook. Treat them with compassion and warm-heartedness, and do not lose your friends from your life.
 
Well, I wanna talk now about having it all, because men and women today are faced with choices that a lot of your parents and grandparents didn’t have. And that is you want to have a private life that’s important as well as a career. You want to be involved with your children. You don’t want to leave it up to daddy or leave it up to parents, so how do you have it all?
 
There are still choices that you will make. Yes, one of the greatest problems you will face, and one of the greatest joys and perhaps triumphs is balancing this life: the career, the relationship — whatever it may be — the children. So I thought what I would do, really because I just love it, and it’s fun, (is) to tell you about Katharine Hepburn — do you know who she is? Good, well, some of you might say, “Who? Which? What?” Okay…
Okay…
 
She was a great actress. She died in 2003 at the age of 96, and she was a beloved icon and pop, because she was so definite about everything, and she kind of talked like this, and she was very definite. And I remember coming back from the Middle East, and we were talking about something.
 
She said, “I see things in black and white, don’t you?”
 
And I said, “I’ve just got back from the Middle East. I’m afraid I see things in shades of grey.”
 
And she said, “Well, I pity you.”
 
So I talked with her. She… ugh… had married once very young. Never married again, and had a long affair with the actor Spencer Tracy. So, she had a great career. She never had children, and she did not have a great marriage.
 
And I said, “Can you have career and a marriage and children?”
 
And she said, “You couldn’t when I started — at least you couldn’t have a marriage that would please me, because the ladies are going to have to be careful that they don’t all marry morons.”
 
And I said, “Why?”
 
She said, “Well, because they don’t deliver the goods as wives. I mean we are very confused, sexually very confused. I mean, look at the birds and the bees in the male and female, and they are very definite types. We are getting awfully confused. I mean, I put on pants 50 years ago and declared a sort of middle road, your know. But I mean I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man.”
 
I said, “How so?”
 
She said, “Well, I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to, and I made enough money to support myself. And I ain’t afraid of being alone.”
 
I said, “Is it so hard to have it all — the marriage, the children, the career?” I said, “I think myself — it’s very tough. Much of my life has been a balancing act.”
 
She said, “It’s impossible. If I were a man, I would not marry a woman with a career, and I would torture myself as a mother. Suppose little Johnny or little Katie have the mumps, and I had an opening night. I’d want to strangle the children. I would really want to strangle the children. And I’d be thinking to myself: ‘God! I’ve gotta get into the mood, and what’s the matter with him, and then out of my way!’ You see!?”
 
And I said, “If you were a man, you would not marry a woman with a career?”
 
She said, “I wouldn’t be that big a fool. I’d want her to be interested in me, not a career. And the career is fascinating. I don’t know what the hell the women are going to do.”
 
Or the man! So welcome to the life of choices. Then, my favorite part of interview did not have to do with choices.
 
I said to her, “Do you remember the last time we talked? I did something that I have regretted ever since. We were talking about your getting on, and you said rich people don’t… Remember you said: ‘I’m like an old tree.’ And I said: ‘What kind of a tree?’ And you said: ‘I’m like an oak tree.’ I said, ‘Right, everybody forgets that you said you’re like a tree.’ And on my obituary, it’s going to say: ‘She asked people what kind of tree they want to be.’”
 
Why did you ask that wonderful Katharine Hepburn what kind of a tree, right?
 
And she said, “I wonder what kind of a tree people are all the time, don’t you?”
 
“Do you ever wonder what kind of a tree your best friend is?”
 
“Well”, she said, “you didn’t mean that question.” She said, “I look out, and I know I’m not that damn sycamore in the backyard that drops its branches and its limbs to kill people. And I’m not a silly piddling little tree. I am a wonderful oak tree, and I saw one this big around in the woods — a white oak, with branches like the light through the wall, great like that.
 
Symbolic!
 
That’s ok!
 
We’ll take it off.
 
Uhm… We were talking earlier when I was having lunch with some of you about Margaret Thatcher. And I didn’t write down her interview because I didn’t know how many of you would remember her, but then I realized that there was a movie The Iron Lady.
 
And what I learned from Margaret Thatcher was how to live with a failure, because she had been the first female Prime Minister, the longest reigning Prime Minister, and then her own party kicked her out. And I interviewed her right after she was no longer Prime Minister, and she was in a very depressed stage.
 
And she said, “You know, the telephone rings. And I think I must answer it, and I must go back to Downing Street and then… I realize it isn’t me.” And she said, “It is so important, and you are so young now, and you’re just beginning. But you will — I hope not — but you will perhaps some… have some failure. And you will be able to go on, add a new chapter, (and) have a more interesting time even.”
 
When I went to ABC to be the first female co-anchor of a network news program, I was a total flop. The headlines in the paper said, “Barbara Walters, a flop”. And I was in anguish, but the best thing that happened to me was that I had to work my way back. That’s when I get all the interviews that we’ve talked about. If you have a failure, you will rise, you will be fine, you will work your way back. Do not sink into “Why me?” “Why was me?” “It’s not my fault!” And to give you an example of that, I want to read you the words of a man, named Christopher Reeve.
 
I’m reading this to you because life sometimes brings enormous difficulties and challenges that seem just too hard to bear. But bear then you can, and bear then you will. And your life can have a purpose. Christopher Reeve’s life did. Let me remind you of who he was. He was a fine actor. He was… famous for playing Superman in films, and he was a superb athlete. He sailed, he ski… he skied. Most of all, he was a great horseman, until 1995, when his horse failed to jump over a hurdle in the riding competition. The horse fell. He fell with it. And he found himself completely paralyzed from the neck down — this man who had been this adventurer and actor and athlete.
 
And his wife came in to him. And she said, “Chris, if you want us, we will find the way to pull the plug.” And he was lying in bed with the tubes, completely immobile.
 
She said, “Remember you are still you.” Which had 2 connotations: “You are still you?” and “You are STILL you!” And she left the room. And the doctor came in, in a white coat with a heavy accent, and the doctor said, “I’m a proctologist. Turn over!”
And Reeve looked at this doctor as if he were insane.
 
And the doctor said, “I told you! I told you! Turn over!”
 
And as he was about to try to find some way of… of getting a nurse or someone instead of this crazy doctor, he looked up, and he realized it was Robin Willams. He had gone to Julliard with Robin Williams, and he burst out laughing. And he said, “If I can laugh, I can live!”
These are the words of Christopher Reeve: “You gradually discover as I’m discovering that your body is not you, and the mind and the spirit must take over. And that’s the challenge as you move from obsessing about: ‘Why me?’ and ‘It’s not fair!’ and ‘When will I move again?’ I move into: ‘Well, what is the potential?’ And now I see opportunities and potential I wasn’t capable of seeing, because every moment is more intense and valuable than it ever was. I received over 100,000 letters from all over the world. And it makes you wonder: Why do we need disasters to really feel and appreciate each other? I’m overwhelmed by people supported me. And if I can help people understand that this can happen to anybody, that’s worth it right there. So I really think being in a journey.”
 
And I said, “Do you think you will walk again?”
 
He said, “I think it’s very possible that I will walk again. And if you don’t, then I won’t walk again, as simple as that!”
 
“Either you do or you don’t. It’s like a game of cards,” he said, “And if you think the game is worthwhile, then you just play the hand you’re dealt. Sometimes you get a lot of face cards, and sometimes you don’t. But I think the game is worthwhile. I really do.”
He got to the point after… years of doing exercise and experiments where he could breathe without a respirator in his throat. And for the first time, because he didn’t have the tube in his throat, he could smell a rose or taste coffee. That was an enormous accomplishment. And he had some feeling in his chest when I hugged him the last time I saw him. He could feel the pressure. He could feel the hug. He made a good life. Christopher Reeve did with his wife Dana and their three children.
 
He lectured, directed films, (and) raised millions of dollars in the consciousness of scientist, to promote research into stem cells, hoping that he would be able to cure the thousands of people suffering from spinal cord injury. His life, though very hard, had meaning and purpose. His death on October of 2004 was a great loss.
 
So what have I tried to say to you is you enter this brand new chapter of your life. And what I hope is going to be a long and fulfilling life, with a lot of different hats that you will be wearing. Don’t worry about finding your bliss right now. Not even our president knew what his bliss was. Nor did I. One of these days to your own surprise, your bliss will find you.
 
But no matter what you do, don’t be like my grandma Lily “Participate”. Be there! Full force, full heart, full steam ahead. And in making choices, when in doubt, trust your gut. Does this feel right? Does this feel good? Remember the decision is ultimately yours alone to make. Remember this today when you’re talking with parents, friends, grandparents: the decision is ultimately yours alone to make.
 
When jealous, angry or afraid, try compassion and warm-heartedness. Nourish your friends. And finally, whatever hand you are dealt, I hope you will find the game worthwhile. I do. And rarely have I been happier with the hand that I have been dealt than I am today with the honor and pleasure of meeting you. I thank you, and I hope that your life will be like a Great, White, Oak. I thank you.

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Anonymous, 2013-05-31 00:03:57

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