Advice – like youth – probably wasted on the young

I’m guessing that all of us at some point wish they had listened to advice more and wish they had done certain things differently.  As I sit here today, I for one wish that I hadn’t forgotten about the advice from all my coaches about the importance of warming up and stretching before exercise.  I have got quite out of practice of this lately as with swimming I have been warming up in the water itself and by then I am already warmed up enough for the cycle and run.

However this weekend was my first time back into the field hockey season post triathlon and typically it being the start of the season I forgot to stretch and warm up properly.  The consequences of this are that in the first minute of the game when I tried to sprint with the ball my muscles felt like dried up old chewing gum, hard and brittle – in particular my quads which decided to go ping.  This took me out of the game before it had really even got going.  All because of my own stupid fault for not warming up properly (worryingly I wasn’t alone in this) – this has now affected all my plans for this week as I am limited to what I can do.  I am most annoyed with myself but have sworn from now on I am back to leading the team in a proper dynamic warm up session before every game – this will then ensure that I am warmed up and reduce the risk of it happening to anyone else in my team in the future.  My advice to everyone is DON’T FORGET TO WARM UP PROPERLY FOR YOUR SPORT!

But it did get me thinking of the song “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen” – written in the late 1990s by a Mary Schmich as if she was providing advice to a graduation class, it was also made into a song by Baz Luhrman.

It contains some good advice for sport and for life including remembering to stretch, do something every day that scares you and wear sunscreen – I have pasted the essay below for those of you who haven’t heard/read it.  It’s worth reading from time to time.

Advice –like youth – probably wasted on the young by Mary Schmich

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.


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