Friday, April 22, 2005

Good Thoughts for the Weekend

It's Friday night, and I was in the shower getting ready to go out when I had a flashback:

It was 1999 and I was new to Milford, freshly out of both high school and Las Vegas. With relatively no friends to call my own, I fermented in solitude, driving around and listening to every kind of music I could get my hands on. Because I am not made of money and therefore could not afford to buy a new CD everytime one became played out, I was forced to listen to a local radio station. It was summer time, and I drove my silver Mazda Navajo around Milford and Milddletown, down country roads and main thuroughfares with the windows down, my music blaring, my long hair floating in the wind that surrounded me. I knew the words to every song on the radio, and I was relishing all of the time I was able to spend alone, acquainting myself with Milford.

Much has changed since then. I was engaged, we broke up. I dated Tom. We broke up. I sold the Mazda Navajo and bought my Toyota 4Runner. I chopped off a foot of my hair. I'm a different person entirely.

But tonight, in the shower, some of the words of one song in particular rushed back at me as I rinsed my hair, and I felt like I was right back in the summer of '99. Because it was more spoken-word and less singing, I would like to share it with you now.

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), by Baz Luhrmann

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. 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. 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 peoples 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 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.


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.

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.

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 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 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


Nick said...

I like Baz. Very stylish director. Mary Schmich from the Chicago Tribune wrote the lyrics. Cool stuff. :)

John S. said...

I haven't heard that in forever. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Maybe you should pay closer attention to that one.............

Kristi said...

forever for me too.

Hope things are better for you tonight Laurie.
Its a full moon weekend. Don't let your emotions get the best of you!
you can handle anything!

Brian said...

I guess my radio station never played that song :P

I had to go out and find an mp3.