Advice from ’99

Sometimes blogging is easy. You come up with an idea for a post and it flows from your fingertips. Sometimes it’s tough, and you find yourself chiseling away at something which makes sense in your mind and is almost there, but not quite. And sometimes you have an idea just before falling asleep for the best post ever and pray to the old gods and the new that you remember it when you wake up.

Last night I had one of those ideas. On Facebook I’d recently been reminded of an old song which may be older than some of my readers. It’s a simple track that shares some advice for young and old; I thought I could take the lyrics, change them to make them relate to dating and hey presto I’d have something to smile about.

So I found the lyrics and started working. Only, the more I read them, the more I realised that actually they didn’t need changing. They spoke to me and reminded me of a few home truths that I’d perhaps forgotten, a few things that I need to keep in mind. They made me smile. So I thought I’d share them in their entirety for the benefit of anyone who may not have heard the song before, or at least not for a long time.

So, if you can, plug in your headphones, click play on the video and close your eyes. If you can’t read the lyrics. And, honestly, trust him on the sunscreen.

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 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 are 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 every day that scares you

Sing

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Floss

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

Stretch

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 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 and 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
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 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

sunscreen

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