Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 99Ö

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of 99...


Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you 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 nowÖ



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 twenty years you will look at photos of yourself and recall in a way that you canít grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

 You are not as fat as you imagine.

 Donít worry about the future, or worry, for know that worrying is about 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-sides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

 Do one thing every day that scares you.


 Donít be reckless with other peopleís hearts. Donít put up with people who are reckless with yours.


 Donít waste your time on jealousy.

 Sometimes youíre ahead; sometimes youíre behind.

 The race is long Ė and in the end itís 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.


 Donít feel guilty if you donít know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didnít know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives. The most interesting forty-year-olds still donít.

 Get plenty of calcium.

 Be kind to your knees, youíll miss them when theyíre gone.

 Maybe youíll marry, maybe you wont. Maybe youíll have children, maybe you wont. Maybe youíll divorce at forty. Maybe youíll dance the funky chicken on your seventy-fifth wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, donít congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half-chance. So are everybody elseís.

 Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Donít be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. Itís the greatest instrument youíll ever own.

 Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

 Read the directions Ė even if you donít follow them.

 Do not read beauty magazines they will only make you feel ugly.

 Get to know your parents. You never know when they might be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. Theyíre 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 that should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gap in geography and lifestyle, for as 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.


 Except certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do youíll fantasise that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

 Respect your elders. Donít expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe youíll have a wealthy spouse, but you never know when either one might run out.

 Donít mess too much with your hair or by the time youíre forty it will look eighty-five.

 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 and wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than itís worth.



But trust me Ė Iím the sunscreenÖ