On this day in 1997, the words that were immortalised by Baz Luhrmann “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” are 14 years old.
The original article appeared in the Chicago Tribune entitled, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”.
The author, Mary Schmich set out to write a fictitious graduation speech. “Most of us, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns”.
She invited her readership to do the same, 14-years later we take up that mantle and the #sunscreenchallenge was born.
Each blogger spent 1-hour creating a graduation speech. Essentially, it’s the advice that they’d pass onto school leavers today based on their own life experience.
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Being asked to give advice is bad enough when it’s to your mates, I mean these people actually like you. They may think you’re mad (which may well be why you all get along so well), yet on some level they actually respect you. A respect hidden under witty banter and caustic asides if my nearest and dearest are to be considered but respect none the less. But to dole out advice to the ‘yoof’ of today? That’s scary.
By some miracle you may come across like their best friends much cooler older brother, more likely you’ll sound ever so slightly out of touch and at worst you’ll be that irritating berk using text speak without grasping the meanings. Over the last thirty years I’ve heard some genius nuggets, some utter shite and plenty in between.
So I wont tell you that your house keys will be in the last place you look, nor that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Instead hopefully I’ll pass on the best of what I’ve been told. You can pass on the best of what you get told, and who knows one day the repeated clichés will vanish from our language.
So what is that nugget, that gem, that single diamond of information, which could change things. It’s so glaringly obvious, so simple, you’ll find it hard to believe. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do.
‘When you’re in hell, keep walking. Or you will never leave!’
Apparently Churchill used it to describe his black dog of depression, though I could be mistaken. The trouble is when you’re in hell, stopping, crying, and wanting to hide is all you have the strength to do. But somewhere deep inside, there under everything that is keeping you down is the strength to carry on. Each time you find it, it gets easier to find. Bit by bit, time after time, it’s there and closer to your grasp.
Good times will return, when they do, the strength that pulled you through will let you enjoy it all the more. Bad times will also happen again, but that strength will return just when you need it.
I could tell you about the people I’ve lost, the bullying I suffered, the times I tried to end it all, the depression that on occasions literally robs my world of colour, but you don’t need to hear that. The tales of the other side, the joy, the living, the ridiculous events that have left myself and my friends crying in pain with laughter, that’s what you need to know. Because when the lights go dim, and you’re caught in the mire of your own mind even the prospect of someone else getting through it can help.
And I have gotten through it all, and will continue to do for as long as I can. You may not believe but you’re incredible. Yeah you are. Had a shit day? Go for a run. Write a venting letter, but don’t send it. Do whatever it is that keeps you going. Try to avoid getting too pissed, or watching telly, or spending cash you don’t have on shiny new things. That’s not what I mean. Change tack, try something new, maybe something challenging, something all encompassing, or maybe just pick up a new book. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help with this. Who knows a new friendship or mutual interest may be found.
What I’m advocating is so simple, yet so so difficult. If someone told me it was easy I’d probably smack them. But I’ve been there, I know just how when the mists of disbelief wrap round your legs and threaten to pull you under, standing still is effort enough. Walking forward an impossibility, but do it.
Oh yeah and while you’re at it wear sunscreen. (Not to high a factor mind, you still want a tan, or maybe that’s just me)
Other bloggers doling out advice include @guy_interruptd, @windsorbuoy @DonkeyColm, @PeacockPete @baxfail @ChrisGolds. & @lucasowen85. Click through to check out their sage words. For any others search #sunscreenchallenge