Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 1999, 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 never understand the power and the beauty of your youth until they've faded
But trust me, in twenty years
You will 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 that 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 blindsides you at 4:00 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 to do with your life
The most interesting people I know didn't know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting forty year olds I know still don't
Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to 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 forty, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your seventy-fifth 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 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 a precious few, who should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as 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'll have a wealthy spouse
But you'll never know when either one might run out
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're forty
It will look eighty-five
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 wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
Painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than it's worth
But trust me on the sunscreen
Songwriters: Nigel Andrew Swanston and Tim Cox
Congratulations to all graduates and their proud families.
Until next week, wishing you much peace.
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