Last week I discovered something terrible: that not everybody in the world has heard the song ‘Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrman.
It’s been a bit of a tough week…The more entertaining trials included:
- Managing to lose the hole the washing line goes in and spending 30 minutes redistributing the two tonnes of pebbles that cover my garden to find it
- Spending a good 20 minutes hunting for my iron that Sister 2 had, for some unknown reason, decided to rehouse in the cat biscuit cupboard
- Attempting to catch an enormous spider that was on the back door…and discovering it was actually a bit of rogue passion flower that has decided it would rather grow inside than outside
- Rescuing Norman who was scared by the neighbours kids while sitting in a paper bag and promptly got the handle of the bag wrapped around his tummy as he hurtled up the garden
- Rescuing Norman from the passion flower that he managed to get tangled in (I’m not sure who is more at fault of daftness at this point – Norman or the plant)
- Almost piercing my nipple when I forgot that I’d pinned a heap of pins to my top while sewing and then curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea
So anyway, I decided I needed a dose of Baz this morning. If you’re one of the people who’ve not heard it, listen – it’s great. If you have heard it, there’s always time for a reminder. Whack up the volume and smile.
And if you don’t fancy listening, you can just read…:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
I should point out that this was actually written by a lady called Mary Schmich and called “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”. It was published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997. I bet she had no idea that one day her words would be in the charts in nine countries :o)