I watched a film the other night. I can’t remember what it was called but it was a good film.
For a start, it starred Kevin Spacey who is a great actor. ‘Fishing News’ is one of my all time favourites. Danny DeVito was in there too.
Anyway, what caught my attention was the music at the end. It was a rap. I hate rap. But this one was different. I had to go off and find the words [hardly lyrics, for a rap?] on the Internet.
I discovered it was from a yoke called “Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen) Mix”. I had never heard of it before, but the Daughter snorted in derision and said everyone knew that one. But how many of you have ever actually read the words?
I read them, and they are great. The advice is strong and true. It should be taught in schools. It is a modern version of Polonius’ Advice to Laertes and a lot more readable.
I have taken some out for the sake of brevity, but it is still quite long. But still worth reading.
- 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 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
- 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.
- 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.
- Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasise 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.
Take some advice from an Old Codger and heed the above. It is very sound advice.