Wear Sunscreen

This is my favourite speech/article/whatever you want to call it. It’s by Mary Schmich. I have the song version on my iPod and it cheers me up whenever I’m feeling crappy. I thought I’d share it with you.

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 blindside 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 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.


Retail therapy: does it work?

There are many reasons why I haven’t been my usual self recently, and being unemployed is definitely up there as one of the main factors. It’s frustrating having to turn down a big night out with your friends because you don’t have the funds, and having to pass on that offer of a Pizza Hut buffet between lectures. Not to mention, not being able to buy that new mascara you want (and everyone else seems to already have) because you have to buy food instead. Basically, I’m skint. So when my friend came over and tried to convince me to come out shopping with her, I only had one answer I could give: YES.

We’ve all been there, trawling round shops, looking adoringly at things you really, really want but know you can’t afford. You say no to that gorgeous pair of leopard-print heels because you don’t need them. But when you’re feeling down it’s like you have that excuse to buy things to cheer yourself up, and you can buy things because you want them.

So off I went, excited at the mere thought of having something new to add to my already crammed wardrobe. First shop, Republic. I saw this gorgeous teal green dress and I just had to try it. The colour was amazing, it fitted perfectly and looked fab. £28 and 10% student discount? YES PLEASE. I was chuffed with my new purchase, despite the fact that £25 is a serious dent in my dwindling bank account.

Really, spending money doesn’t help the fact that I have incredibly empty pockets: it just makes it worse. Maybe I’m fast approaching becoming a shopaholic. However, my new dress did make me feel that bit happier, and it did make my day considerably better. To me, happiness is more important than having money.

So does retail therapy work? To me it certainly does.