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Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99, 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 have 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 blindside you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday Do one thing everyday 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 the 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


Even if you have nowhere 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 are the best link to your past And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go But for the 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 you knew 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


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 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