Best Life Advice Of All Time: Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen

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      Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young“, commonly known by the title “Wear Sunscreen“,[1] is an essay written as a hypothetical commencement speech by columnist Mary Schmich, originally published in June 1997 in the Chicago Tribune.[2] The essay, giving various pieces of advice on how to live a happier life and avoid common frustrations, spread massively via viral email, often erroneously described as a commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut at MIT.

      The essay became the basis for a successful spoken word song released in 1999 by Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)“,

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      VIDEO: Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen

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      LYRICS: Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen

      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
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      Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth

      Oh, never mind
      You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have 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
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      Don’t worry about the future

      Or worry
      But know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
      The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
      The kind that blindsides you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday
      Do one thing everyday that scares you
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      Sing

      Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
      Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours
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      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 the 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
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      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 what other people think of it
      It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
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      Dance

      Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own 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 are the best link to your past
      And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

      Understand that friends come and go
      But for the 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 you knew 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
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      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
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      Respect your elders

      Don’t expect anyone else to support you
      Maybe you have a trust fund
      Maybe you 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.

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