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 or
reliable then my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice....now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, nevermind, you won't 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 bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides
you at 4pm 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 no where 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're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in
Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps
and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you
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 are 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 wishing 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, I'm the sunscreen.