Great Words of Wisdom
by Mary Schmich
Ladies and gentlemen
of the class of '97;
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
Enjoy the power and
beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and
beauty of your youth until theyíve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, youíll look
back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you canít grasp now how much
possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as
fat as you imagine.
Donít 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 trouble 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.
Do one thing every day
that scares you.
Donít be reckless with
other peopleís hearts. Donít put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Donít waste your time
ahead, sometimes youíre behind. The race is long, and in the end, itís only with
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.
Donít feel guilty if
you donít know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I
know didnít know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most
interesting 40 year olds I know still donít.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees.
Youíll miss them when theyíre gone.
Maybe youíll marry,
maybe you wonít. Maybe youíll have children, maybe you wonít. Maybe youíll
divorce at 40, maybe youíll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding
anniversary. Whatever you do, donít congratulate yourself too much, or berate
yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody elseís.
Dance, even if you
have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions,
even if you donít follow them.
Do not read beauty
magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your
parents. You never know when theyíll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings.
Theyíre your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you
in the future.
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.
inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You too, will
get old. And when you do, youíll fantasize that when you were young, prices were
reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Donít expect anyone
else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe youíll have a wealthy
spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Donít mess too much
with your hair or by the time youíre 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 itís worth.
But trust me on the