A friend recently posted a link on Facebook to Baz Lurhmann's "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" - I clicked on it and was amazed, astonished, pooped my proverbial pants, taken aback, my socks were rocked off, you get the point. Mofo'in Baz, knocked it out of the park.
-By Leah Bonnema (Stand Up Comic)
When this song came out right around the time I was graduating I remember thinking it was fun. I probably turned it up and yelled Oh I love this song! Maybe I even called a BFF on the phone or quoted it in a yearbook, but I certainly didn't get that this song had within it what it has taken me the past thirteen years of therapy to fully comprehend. To illustrate, I have pasted the lyrics below in italics and then added my own additions, notes and (possibly) unwanted comments.
"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!" I am not good at maintenance. Everyone who knows me knows I don't even own a hair dryer, I don't wash my face at night and I need to change my sheets more often. However, I never skip the sunscreen. Whether your fear is wrinkles or skin cancer, sunscreen covers it.
"You are not as fat as you imagine." Moreover, it's an incredible waste of time thinking about it. I have wasted a lot of time.
"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 pm on some idle Tuesday." This line gave me a mind wedgie. I was such a worry addict and then I got blindsided on an idle Monday afternoon by a phone call that totally blew my world apart and I never saw it coming.
"Do one thing every day that scares you." Step out of your comfort zone, even if it's just something simple like asking a question or as big as leaving your day job to follow your dreams. If you don't jump, you'll never know what could have been. Sometimes I'll break into a full sweat from the anxiety of returning a shirt, but I promise myself that if I just nut up and do it I can have ice cream cake.
"Sing." Always. Unless you are my neighbor than maybe try to take it down a notch at 9am on a Sunday morning. Otherwise, tear it up.
"Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours." Don't treat people badly, especially those who care about you. And don't put up with people who don't respect your person. They are not, and will never be, your soul mate. No matter much you wish they were.
"Floss." Flossing is another thing I always manage to get done. I do it in the shower as a special treat to myself so I get to shower longer. Dental bills are a bitch and missing teeth are a deal breaker. Just do it. (I am feeling so bossy right now!)
"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 is a hard one, but perhaps the most important I think. Really. Spending time comparing yourself to others will only waste your life. We are all on our own paths. It's important to be happy for other people and thankful for where you are at right now. I have to remind myself of this at least once a day.
"Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults: if you succeed in doing this, tell me how." I get the point of this, I really do, but I'm also hugely motivated by revenge. Then again, I can be a dick. But I also know that people's compliments and insults have to do with them, not the person they are speaking to.
"Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements." Shred your bank statements. Or burn them. At this point you might be wise to keep your money under your mattress old school style and not have bank statements at all. Banks are evil. And I mean that.
"Stretch." You gotta do it. Especially if you sit or stand in the same place all day.
"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." I would up the age on this one.
"Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees: you'll miss them when they're gone." Also get plenty of B12, Folic Acid (#AmIRightLadies), Omega 3s, a multi-vitamin and LOTS water.
"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." I think this is clear enough. There is too much pressure on relationships. If you've always wanted to get married but haven't found the right person, don't box someone in, just throw yourself a party. Also, don't make me come to your wedding if you've only been together a minute because if you do when you divorce I will expect my money back.
"Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance; so are everybody else's." I am working on this one. Berating is one of my better skill sets.
"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 in your living room." ALWAYS DANCE. In grocery stores, in the elevator, on the subway, in your mind.
"Read the directions, even if you don't follow them." Working on it.
"Do not read beauty magazines: they will only make you feel ugly." My New Year's resolution a decade ago was to stop buying all beauty and gossip magazines. I do not want to financially invest in institutions that thrive on superficiality. I feel better about myself for doing it because it allows me to forget what I am "supposed" to look like and care about.
"Get to know your parents: you never know when they'll be gone for good." I can't think about this one for too long without going into cry spasms. One day we will all be gone though, it's just how it works. And death isn't scary the way I thought of it was when I was younger, it's like an active state of missing people. So relish those you love while you have them. I am sure we will all see each other when we take the ship to the other side, Battlestar Galactica styles.
"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." I don't have siblings but I can imagine they are people who share your history, memories and a commonality you can't find with anyone else.
"Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on." Love them. Appreciate them. They are everything.
"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." Visit people. Call People. Show up for things that are important to them.
"Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard." I am still in New York. I don't think I am too hard yet.
"Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft." I don't know, I haven't lived there my once yet.
"Travel." As much as possible. It's an amazing world full of amazing people. Go see it.
"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." Seriously respect them. They've earned it.
"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." People work for a living, lets turn down the entitlement some, its getting out of control.
"Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85." I did dye my hair a lot - my favorite hair phase was black.
"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." Multiple types of advice to think about out. 1) That of a good therapist: get one. 2) Unsolicited advice: usually rude, delusional and entitled but says more about them than you. Note this is coming from someone who is currently dispensing advice. 3) Advice given by people who care, are sharing their history from positions of authority or are elders, just listen and then do with it what you will. 4) Any advice given by naysayers - don't listen.
"But trust me on the sunscreen."
And I would like to add, for the record LAUGH!