July Peace Post

b4peace

“For this month’s peace challenge, I encourage you to write a letter for peace and send it out into the Universe. You may not get an answer, but you will make a difference.”
-Kozo

This month’s challenge reminded me of a song I heard several years ago. It was less of a song and more of a speech or letter to young people. The song is called “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” It turns out the song is based on a speech/letter written by a newspaper columnist for the class of 1997. This letter has been erroneously attributed to Kurt Vonnegut and has been given several different dates. Below is a video of the song that became a hit in the late 90’s and the letter below it. It’s a little unusual, but you’ll see it makes some good sense in giving the reader or listener some good advice in finding peace in their life. So, instead of writing my own letter, I’d like to share this letter/song that shares some of my own views and lessons I’ve taught or plan to teach my son.

By Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune (June 1, 1997 – Original Article)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

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 worry, but 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 blind side you at 4 PM 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 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 of 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 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 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.

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’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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About Claudia

Hi!! My name is Claudia. Blogging is sort of a creative/therapeutic activity for me. I blog about being a wife, mother, student, caseworker, and simply being human through photography, words, music, and blog challenges. Mental illness has also been part of my life, so you'll sometimes find mental health and psychology in my posts. I've dealt with anxiety and depression most of my life. And my husband has bipolar disorder. My hope is that I may show readers that it is possible for people to live positive, productive lives despite mental illness, challenges, or frustrations. View all posts by Claudia

8 responses to “July Peace Post

  • seeker

    Oh yeah…. I’ve always enjoyed this video. Sunscreen! Great Post.

    Like

  • Blue Sky | theseeker

    […] What’s up?   One colleague constantly asks me: What’s Up?   Being English is my second or maybe third language, I take this question literally.  I look up and the response I give him is: the ceiling, the light, the air blower or anything that’s above me.  He seems to get a kick out of these answers.   Yesterday, we were outside and he asked me the same question.  And I look up and said: blue sky.   Yes, 26 straight days of blue sky, hardly any clouds in the sky.  I love the blue sky but I cannot tolerate being in the sun.    I would think coming from a tropical place close to the equator would make me immune to the sunshine hoping that the dark pigmentation of my skin will deflect all the UV rays.  It does but I’d sooner be in the shade.   In the meantime, the grassy area of the board is covered with white bodies trying to soak up the sun.   I hope they are wearing Sunscreen.       This post is inspired by Claudia ~ July Peace Post. […]

    Like

  • Lauren

    I remember this song! I used to listen to it a lot, and now I realize how right he was about so many things that at the time I thought were bullshit. there’s some good advice in these words. 🙂

    Like

  • Honestly: Peace Between The Lines | GLORIOUS METTLE

    […] July Peace Post From MotherWifeStudentWorker […]

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  • Kozo Hattori

    Love this, Claudia. I live in Northern California, so I guess I’m getting soft. I heard parts of this and always wondered where it was from. Thanks for tracking it down and posting it for peace. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    Like

  • Blue Sky | The Seeker

    […] What’s up?  One colleague constantly asks me: What’s Up?  Being English is my second or maybe third language, I take this question literally.  I look up and the response I give him is: the ceiling, the light, the air blower or anything that’s above me.  He seems to get a kick out of these answers.  Yesterday, we were outside and he asked me the same question.  And I look up and said: blue sky.  Yes, 26 straight days of blue sky, hardly any clouds in the sky.  I love the blue sky but I cannot tolerate being in the sun.   I would think coming from a tropical place close to the equator would make me immune to the sunshine hoping that the dark pigmentation of my skin will deflect all the UV rays.  It does but I’d sooner be in the shade.  In the meantime, the grassy area of the board is covered with white bodies trying to soak up the sun.  I hope they are wearing Sunscreen.      This post is inspired by Claudia ~ July Peace Post. […]

    Like

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