Sunday, February 6, 2011

Don't forget the Sunscreen!

Wear Sunscreen
By Mary Schmich of The Chicago Tribune

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of '98: Wear Sunscreen. If I could give you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh never mind. You will not understand the beauty and power of your youth, until they've faded. But trust me in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes your ahead, sometimes your behind. The race is long and in the end, its only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succceed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 -year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40. Maybe you'll dance the funky chicken at your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it everyway you can. Don't be afraid of it or what other people think of it. Its the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, Prices were reasonable, Politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trustfund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair. or by the time your 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those that supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than its worth.

But trust me, on the sunscreen.

When I first heard this played as a song on the radio, I thought how weird is this? I don't get it. Now, fast forward twelve years, and it reasonates with me more now than when it first came out as a popular speech to the Class of '98.

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