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» Dag Wieers » About me » Favorite songs/lyrics » Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen - Mary Schmich 
Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen - Mary Schmich
  Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

  Wear sunscreen.

  If I could offer 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 power and beauty 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 p.m. on
  some idle Tuesday.

  Do one thing every day that scares you.

  Sing.

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

  Floss.

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

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

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

  Stretch.

  Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want 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 on 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 every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of
  what other people think of it. It's 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. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and
  the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

  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. Travel.

  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 trust
  fund. 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 you're 40 it will look
  85.

  Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who
  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 it's worth.

  But trust me on the sunscreen.