Wear Sunscreen

By Mary Schmich

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.

— Mary Schmich


This is one of many memorable quotes from an imagined graduation speech for the “Class of ‘97” written by Mary Schmich and first published in the Chicago Tribune:

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

It was popularised in the song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Rozalla which was used in the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s movie Romeo + Juliet.

The story of this song is covered in a great Switched on Pop episode:

Baz Luhrmann’s “Sunscreen Song” — The 90s’ Most Unlikely Hit

Some other quotes from the same speech, which remain in high rotation:

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.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

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.

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