Baz Luhrmann delivered a very popular commencement speech in the early 1990s, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. With the academic year drawing to a close, we thought we would remind our readers of some of his best pieces of advice!
1. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.
There really is no time like the present. Right now, you have the power to decide the lessons you want to learn that life is throwing at you. It’s one of the very few times you may be truly able to be selfish, assuming you have no children or spouse. Enjoy that power and luxury of only making decisions for you. The only mistake you can really make as a young adult with the sky as the limit is to do nothing with it at all.
2. Worry knowing it’s about as useful as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing gum.
Bad things will happen to even the most cautious. Trouble will strike when you’re least expecting it, which is part of why it makes it trouble. Worrying, like dreaming, has no value or influence on an outcome. It’s the choices you make and the steps you take that will help you survive the good and the bad.
3. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind; the race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself.
Don’t waste time being jealous of other people or comparing yourself. We all have our ups and downs, and the only one who has to deal with them is you, so make that your focus.
4. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
Most people don’t even know what they want to have for dinner, let alone what their life purpose is. And despite what self-help books might tell you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is life value in not nailing yourself down to a set life plan. Viewing life from a wide angle lens helps you see all new things to peek your interest. You may have more than one skill to offer to this world, so whether you have a job lined up or not, don’t feel like anything is really a lifetime committment. Whatever you’re doing, don’t waste time feeling bad about it.
5. Don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself too much.
You are largely responsible for your successes and failures. I think every one knows you should take responsibility for your actions when you are at fault. However, sometimes we forget that there are two sides to the coin. A common trait of mine and others
I hope I’m sure is to be highly self-critical and will choose only to focus on the things I have done wrong. One of the most imporant pieces advice I’ve ever received: Give yourself credit where credit is due. Proudly take responsibility for your actions when they bring you success.
6. Understand friends come and go, but if a precious few should hold on, work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, the older you get the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
One of the great things about growing older is that the people who should stay and go in your life become more apparent. One of the pesky things about growing older is that life takes you down paths that can diverge from the people you love the most. Don’t let a difference in dreams prevent you from having the best support system you can. There is time in your life to nurture those relationships when they are a priority.
7. 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, politicans were noble, and children respected their elders.
One of my personal favorites because it is a reminder to the young, the old, and everyone in between that we all think we are the last generation to have any sense of morality.
8. Wear Sunscreen
Because we as a population can’t seem to agree on history, politics, or even science, but if there’s one thing we all know: THE SUN IS DANGEROUS. Do yourself a favor and wear the sunscreen.