This piece, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mary Theresa Schmich, deserves to be digested by everyone.
I don't normally post content from other writers, but this piece, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mary Theresa Schmich, deserves to be digested by everyone.
First published in the Chicago Tribune in 1998, it was made into a popular song by Baz Luhrmann soon after. It had a tremendous impact on me when I was graduating; twenty years on, I'm still learning from it. I hope you find something in it too.
Listen to the song version here.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99 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 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
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 bubblegum 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
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 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 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 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
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 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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