Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

May 5, 2015

The importance of sunscreen

One of those stop you in your tracks, tracks… Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’

But, did you know that the words for this spoken word “song” are from a column written in June 1997 by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, entitled “Advice like youth, probably just wasted on the young”? In her introduction to the column she described it as the commencement speech she would have given if she were asked to give one. Baz Luhrmann used the piece in its entirety on his 1998 album Something for Everybody. As a single, it reached Number One in the UK charts.

Heard it again recently and was reminded of how brilliant it is.

Watch the original video here.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99,
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 not understand the power and beauty of your youth
until they’ve 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 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 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 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 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’re 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.


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.


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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.