16 October, 2010

Wear Sunscreen

in 1998, when this song came out - i was about 14. I loved this song! I had almost all the lyrics memorized until somehow, i stopped hearing/listening to this song a couple years later. I think it had something to do with the fact that i recorded it over and over on a cassette and during one of my moves, i lost my cassette player... maybe not. I remember having a walkman that could tune into TV stations (and i used to listen to Rocky and Bullwinkle in my first class of the day, Senior year... but i digress) ANYHOW - i used to LOVE the advice in this song!

I remember thinking that when i got older, i would remember all the advice in this song and hold onto my youth. Here i am, 12 years later, and listening to this song again!

The lyrics are as follows (my comments are in this color):

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
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 nevermind; 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…. (Absolutely! I look back at photos even a couple years ago and feel annoyed that i didn't appreciate myself for who i was or how i looked at the time! I went around mostly sulking about how self conscious i was because i thought i was fat.)
You’re 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 bubblegum. (I do try to follow this... i try to stay laid back, and try not to sweat the small stuff.) The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. 

Do one thing everyday that scares you. 

Sing. (Even though i can't sing my way out of a paper bag, i do it anyway. Loudly, and often!)

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. (i somehow remain "friends" with a handful of people who continually let me down or disappoint me. I have learned that nothing i do will change the way they treat me. It won't change their "busy" schedule or make them be more considerate of my feelings... so i just let them exist near me, and don't provoke much conversation with them - if any - anymore.)

Floss. (i have learned that this is actually an important step in hygiene, if you are not a fan of dentists offices, but i've only learned this in the recent years)

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. (this one is hard for me. i find myself having trouble being jealous of other people's nice homes or the fact that they're out of debt while i feel like i'm scraping by but it's comforting to be reminded that there's always light at the end of the tunnel.)

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. (and me!)

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. (i used to, but i found that whomever i was with after i received the love letters would be jealous... and ended up having to throw away quite a few - even the innocent ones.)


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. (this is actually very comforting to me at 26 without a college degree of any sort)

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. (ohh yes. As I grow older, not that i'm very old, i notice things hurt more than they used to when getting up or after a long period of sitting on the floor)

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…what ever 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. (i really wish i could!)

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. (This is excellent advice!)

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

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. (i actually stopped reading them because of this exact reason!)

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. (i hate how true this is. there are still things i wish i could ask my mother.)

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 that stay, you should hold on. (this is something i've also learned painfully)

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. 

Travel. (i'm so glad that i follow this advice. I would hate to be someone who lives in one state - one CITY for most of their lives just to be close to family that i never visit anyway.)

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. (i already fantasize about these things!)

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. (this was also a painful lesson for me, but one i learned whole-heartedly)

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. (i didn't understand this in 1998, but i love it now! and it's SO TRUE!)

But trust me on the sunscreen…


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