I love this time of year on Facebook.
In addition to the run-of-the-mill chatter and YouTube clips - my favorite of which, lately, features two Lawrence Welk cast members singing "One Toke Over the Line" - I've received a handful of invitations from fresh-faced, soon-to-be-high school graduates asking me, and presumably hundreds of others, to their graduation parties.
Never wanting to come to a party empty-handed and not being a very good cook, this year I've been bringing something else: my list of "The Top 10 Things I Want the Class of 2011 to Know." Here it is:
1. While you might think it's excessive, please tell your parents where you're going. They've been obsessed with your safety since they childproofed their first electrical outlet in 1992. Give 'em a break.
2. Don't write anyone off. You might not even know that person sitting next to you at graduation, or maybe you do and you'd rather not. Just remember that the cliques of today will fade. What matters most is the people you are becoming. At your 50th reunion, no one will care who was prom queen or who was a bench warmer. It'll just be pretty neat to be in the same room with someone who shared your past.
3. While you might be sad to say goodbye to your friends, remember that mom and dad are saying goodbye to friends, too. They spent years bonding with other parents on soccer sidelines, theater backstages and in hockey arenas. Powerful friendships form over the selling of cookie dough and coupon books.
4. Enjoy wearing absolutely whatever it is you want to wear now. You can get away with any trend you want. That won't always be the case. I've walked past Wet Seal many a time and thought a dress was fabulous but realized that at 46, I can no longer pull it off - my hips or otherwise.
5. As the country song says, "When you get the chance to sit it out or dance ... dance." Do it now while your knees are healthy. And remember that nobody is too old or too cool for the chicken dance.
6. Don't worry so much. Remember that 90 percent of the things we worry about are out of our control. As that famous self-help book says, "Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all pretty much small stuff." Trust me. Most of it is. I wish I could have all those hours back when I obsessed over something that never happened. I could have been out with friends buying trendy clothes or dancing.
7. If you go to college, be mindful of your major, but remember that an education is about making you an interesting and well-rounded person. Take classes that have nothing to do with your career. I'm still hoping to whip up that batch of Kim Chee I learned about in Cultural Foods 201.
8. And speaking of college, if you choose to drink alcohol after you turn 21, be so careful. Two drinks will always be better than 10. Understand what you are consuming. Something called Garbage Punch is never a good idea.
9. Don't waste much time comparing yourselves to others. It'll just make you crabby.
10. Finally: Be kind, work hard and have fun. The rest will fall into place.
Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.