Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wear Sunscreen

Do we all remember the tune 'Everybody's Free' by Baz Luhrmann released in 1999? Well I found out that the words from this were actually from an article published in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich. I was 16 when I heard this and I really liked the words. Over the past 12 years there have been times when the lyrics have come back to me and as I get older I can relate even more to the dispensed advice.

Hubby and I at 17
"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."

This is funny because at a mere 28 I am already looking back at photos of myself when I was 17 and thinking 'hey, I looked good! Not nearly as fat as I thought I was and my face wore a dewy complexion that had obviously never known stress. Like this photo here, I was a member of a diet club here *shakes head in disapproval*.

My Dad and John, his wife Barbora and my brother Danny
"Don't worry about the future . . . 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." 

Oh so true. It's been the unexpected news that has had the biggest impact in my life. Like when my mum woke me at 5am to tell me that my Dad had been beaten up waiting for a taxi, he needed brain surgery to remove a blood clot and that he might never recover (he beat the odds and was fine). Or when I came home from ice hockey  to find that my Dad had left and that my parent's marriage was over, nobody saw that one coming. Or when my Dad phoned me out the blue to tell me he was going to be a Dad again at 49 and that I would become a sister and a mum with 3 weeks in between, I was happy for him but understandably it took me by surprise.  

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.

I have some friends who I see regularly and others whose lives I dip in and out off. One of my closest friends is Michelle. We call each other cousins but we are actually not related. Our mum's have been friends since childhood and are as close as sisters. I don't see Michelle as regularly as I would like but things are always the same between us when we do see each other.This is a picture of Michelle (far left) and her sisters, Erin and Leanne. The three of them have always been there for me and I hope they know that they are treasured members of my family. 

Kate (my step sister), Mum and me on her wedding day
"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."

I am fiercely independent and I don't like to rely on anyone else financially. As a student, I had no choice but to take support from my mum and dad but now I have a career of my own. My mum taught me that it is important to make provisions for yourself and that financial security can never be taken for granted. When my parents separated, my mum, who had given up any chances of a career to be a stay at home mum, found herself in a very difficult situation as she no longer had my Dad's income to depend on. She was forced to sell the family home and had to change her lifestyle. At one point she nearly became officially homeless as she could not get a council house. She is now happily remarried but she has passed this lesson of self security and independence on to me.

And the last piece of advice is

"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."

This little gem of advice has become very real to me since giving birth to John Connor. Everybody had advice for me. While I was pregnant lots of people had advice about the birth, where I should have the baby, what I would need to do before it came and how I would have no life or sleep when it arrived. When the little Grumpinator arrived the advice became more focussed into the areas of where he should sleep, how I should handle crying, what I should give him for colic, what, how and when I should be feeding him. Most of the advice was given with the best of intentions and some of the advice was really helpful. However, sometimes people forget how overwhelming a newborn can be and everybody has different opinions on raising children. If I have another baby in the future I won't read any baby books or feel the need to read a degrees worth of 'advice'. I have realised from my experience with JC that I have an inner knowledge about my own child that nobody else has. I need to trust my own instincts and go with the flow more, after all, mum knows best - most of the time! 

What advice would you give to the youth of tomorrow? 


  1. Such a great classic song and the fact you've used them through your life is lovely. What a really thought-provoking post Claire.

    My advice to the youth of tomorrow? Don't ever eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut ;)


  2. Hey, my hubby can recite that song from start to finish, so I am very familiar with it.

    Fabulous post. Love it.


  3. Have to agree sweetheart, that was a wonderful post. As for your dad being fine, lol, well that's up for debate :-)

  4. It arrived yesterday and is gorgeous. Get it while on offer though xx
    £40 off is automatic but enter code to get the £10, which you do on the screen when entering card details xx


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