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.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. 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.
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 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 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 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 for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography in 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.
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.
De la Wikipedia:
Mary Schmich's "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" was published in the Chicago Tribune as a column on June 1, 1997. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement address she would give if she were asked to give one. When the column became the song, her wish came true as at Zagreb's Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing the song Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) is played on every graduation ceremony.
Soon it became the subject of an urban legend, according to which it was originally an MIT commencement speech given by author Kurt Vonnegut in the same year (which was false) and by the year of 1999 it was already widespread. But in fact, the commencement speaker at MIT that year was Kofi Annan.
The poem-like piece has drawn frequent comparison to the Max Ehrmann poem Desiderata, which was also the subject of an urban legend misattribution.
'Wear Sunscreen' as a music single
Wear Sunscreen was set to music, renamed Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (aka The Sunscreen Song) and released on an album by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann. The single was released by Luhrmann under the EMI Music Australia Pty. Ltd. label on the 1998 album Something for Everybody and on a 1999 single release.
Contrary to popular belief the essay is not read by Baz Luhrmann on the track; it is read by Australian voice actor Lee Perry. Quindon Tarver performs the lyrics on the chorus.
The song features a spoken-word track set over a mellow backing track. The song lyrics, which consist of a litany of humorous but practical advice, were drawn word for word from the Schmich column except for a date change from "'97" to "'99" - although an early version has been found with the original line of "Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97" still in place.
The supposed story behind the single was that Baz Luhrmann delivered a speech to a graduating class and it was thought that they were well spoken and sage enough to be played beyond those walls. When a radio station was propositioned to play the speech they turned it down saying that they only played songs with music behind them. The idea was put forward to accompany the words with music and once it began playing became more and more popular till it was officially released.
In the 1996 film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet directed by Luhrmann the melody of the backing track can be heard being sung by a choir.
In 1999 the song was a part of the end credits in John Swanbeck's movie The Big Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli.
The single's title appears to be based on the song "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" which was released in 1991 by Rozalla. What is more, portions of the lyrics of the Rozalla song can be found word by word in the Baz Luhrman song.
Siguiendo la pista os copio-pego el Desiderata, escrito en 1927 por Max Ehrmann:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Y os linko la divertidísima parodia que de la misma escribió Tony Hendra para el National Lampoon en 1972 y que, curiosamente, funciona bastante bien como respuesta a la canción de Luhrmann: