Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Schmich on Sunscreen...and Life

I needed to post, for a couple of reasons. One, it was time to move my dead little cupid down a few notches. I have to agree with local Debbie: seeing the cute little cherub lying there lifeless every time I opened the page was beginning to disturb me, for many reasons! Two, I L-O-V-E this column I'm about to post. It was written back in 1997 by a Chicago columnist named Mary Schmich, but was only recently brought to MY attention by a good and thoughtful friend who thought I could use the nuggets of wisdom contained within! And since I think we can ALL use them, I'm sharing. Hope you love it as much as I do. Here goes:

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.


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.

(end of column)



Kristi Smith said...

I thoroughly enjoyed that. ;)

Wish I would have worn the suncreen when I was 19. Too late for me now=(.

BossyMommy said...

Glad you like, Kristi. I knew you would! She seems like your kinda woman. Uh, not that you like women. Nevermind.

Deb said...

Good words of advice. I am finally starting to understand some of them and it only took 32, uh, I mean 29 years!

Crazy Hughes Fam... said...

Loved it all. Good advice...wish I could live by ALL of it. It is all so true! I am learning in my older...I mean more mature years. I will work on it too. Thanks for the post.

Haymore Family said...

i love that! that is something everyone needs! Thank you

Frehner Family said...

good words girl...thanks!

melmck said...

awesome! you are one of you are one of my favorites. :)

The Baby Catcher said...

What a GREAT article! I too am just understanding some of them, and I'm in my 40's, especially the knees! °Ü°