On this day in 1997, the words that were immortalised by Baz Luhrmann “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” are 14 years old. The original article appeared in the Chicago Tribune entitled, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”. The author, Mary Schmich set out to write a fictitious graduation speech. “Most of us, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns”. She invited her readership to do the same, 14-years later we take up that mantle and the #sunscreenchallenge was born. Each blogger spent 1-hour creating a graduation speech. Essentially, it’s the advice that they’d pass onto school leavers today based on their own life experience.

This song had a huge impact on me when I heard it in 1998, little did I know that it was a year old by then but the words of the song hit me hard.  A lot had happened for me during the last years of school (I left in 1997) and did not know what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it or if I wanted to do it.  In 2006, I hit a rough patch and heard this song again and the words had an impact again.  At the same time I had heard of a girl in her mid 20’s who had died, and her parents found her list of 101 things she had felt made her life feel fulfilled.  The list hadn’t been published, but I thought it would be good to work on something similar.  I never had any intention of publishing it, but reading some of the other blogs being published also re-reading some of my statements, I would be going against what I was trying to achieve and what the #sunscreenchallenege was all about.  So here is it, my ‘graduation speach’ on simple things that make me smile, and feel that help fulfil me, even at times of need!  Some are corny, some are an insight into me, but problably more scary, is that this is my first blog!

(This may have 101 items, and started over 5 years ago, I think it would still fit into the 1 hour allowance as I only ever spent a few minutes on it at random times over the last 5 years).

101 points to travel through this life with. Each is bendable, variable and open to interpretation. You are here once; you live the life you like so like the life you live.

  •  Be yourself; do not try to be something you are not. You are you. You are the only person who knows how you tick, knows your quirks, and knows your loves, fears and hates. Others will pick up on your traits – small things that make you, like what type of cheesecake you’re most likely to go for at the Cheesecake Factory or when you’re likely to turn up at a party. But not being yourself or being not true to yourself – you will find yourself lost
  • Do not be afraid of your actions; just be sure of your actions. You will create enemies, people will think less of you, but those who love you and respect you will stand by your choices, sometimes in shock, some times with smiles.
  • You are not too old to learn stuff – contrary to popular belief – you can teach an old dog new trick. If you find yourself wishing you had learnt something when you were younger – go learn how to do it. Whether it is dancing, painting, horse riding or sky diving, you may not be the best at it, but you will at least have the chance to do it.
  • You can make a change; whether it be a voice in a crowd or the voice of the crowd, by standing up for what you believe, you can make a difference.
  • Travel; expand your mind, experience new cultures, taste unusual foods. Respect what you see and their cultures. You are a visitor in their country, abide by their rules and face the consequences of your actions.
  • Breathe
  • Do not have firm opinions on anything. 99% of things are not black and white. Yes the sun will rise in the east, a bear does shit in the woods and the Pope is catholic, but an opinion is just that – an opinion. On the scale of things – some times it will appear white, sometimes black. But the more you understand the situation, the more ‘grey’ will creep into the colour scheme. Light or dark, your opinion still matters, but unless it is an irrefutable fact there is always wiggle room.
  • Keep an open mind. Just because you believe something is wrong or right, does not mean that someone else thinks the same way.
  • Protect the environment; recycle, use energy efficient appliances, water capture, reduce your carbon foot print. Live with environmental efficiency; don’t let it rule your life.
  • Tell someone if you have been hurt. If you are hurt physically or emotionally, tell someone. If it is physically, tell a Doctor, a parent or a friend. They will help you. If someone has hurt you emotionally, tell them. They may keep doing it, they may use it as a means to “get to you”, but you are the better person for saying something. They are hiding their own insecurities if they continue to do it.
  • Do not “save” things for the future; unless it is money for your retirement, don’t save that bottle of champagne for a special occasion. A special occasion is what you make of it – passing your driving test, making it home from work before 5 on a Friday, seeing friends, etc. If you do save it for “that special occasion” it will never be used. Use it now – make a memory – don’t let it gather dust on the shelf. A memory is better than a dust collector!
  • Buy gifts; if you see something that you know a friend will like, and if it doesn’t cost the earth, buy it and give it.
  • Complain about a service; if you pay for something, you are entitled to ensure that the service is good and to your liking. If you don’t get what you want, make sure the people providing the service get the message.
  • Always be nice to your waiter/ess. They can get a bum deal at times. Be nice, don’t ignore them and engage them in conversation. If the service is good and you had a good rapport with them – tip them well. If they gave you attitude – tip them accordingly.
  • Respect the generation differences. What you like may infuriate your elders as “they didn’t get it that good” when they were younger in the same way that your youngers will get it better than you got when you were younger.
  • Listen to free advice; it is provided by others as a means to guide you to your choices and decisions. You do not need to take it, you may not understand it, but you could find that at some time in life, a single piece of advice given freely can be the best thing to move you forward, make you stronger and help you out of a hole. Beware when this advice comes useful! It may blindside you on a Tuesday morning when you’re knee deep in it!
  • Help others; whenever you can – you will reap the rewards at some time when you need help.
  • Smile
  • Respect the opinions of others; you may not agree with them, you may think it is a bad idea, but as with your opinions, allow others theirs. Our differences of opinions is what makes us “us”.
  • If you feel ill see your Doctor – leaving it will make it worse.
  • Listen to music. Music that makes you feels good, music of your choice. Don’t feel that you need to “fit” with music groups or people. If you enjoy the sound – listen to it. But don’t force your choice onto someone else; let them appreciate it in their own time.
  • Support who you believe, providing you are informed on all the facts – be it a sport team, a person, a side in a battle – whatever. If you believe in that person/battle/team, stick with them to the end.
  • Face the consequences of your actions. You made the choice to do what you did/about to do. The consequences are as much part of your choice as the action itself is.
  • Tell White lies. If it gets you out of a “situation” or keeps the status quo and does not have serious repercussions tell it – if you are caught out though – own up!
  • Balance your cheque book at least once a year – you will find money you don’t need to be spending, unauthorised withdrawals etc. It will be beneficial!
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water a day. (Not including coffee/soft drinks/tea) Yes it is dull stuff – but it keeps your system working.
  • Forget grudges – they are not worth the time you think about them!
  • If you are blessed with a skill – use it. Don’t waste something that was given to you.
  • Exercise – there is no excuse not to. No reason not to. Be it standing in front of the TV, or actually going to the gym –go for it!
  • Watch your posture – don’t slouch just because it is comfortable.
  • Age – be it 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80. Expand your mind. Age is not a barrier.
  • Learn to do something unusual. Being an expert in bat droppings may be a little far fetched, but it is a conversation starter. Learn a dying language, learn an instrument. Don’t just sit at home doing nothing.
  • Forgive peoples mistakes. Depending on their severity of course. Honest mistakes and errors of judgement are not as bad as wilfully caused errors.
  • Make your own mistakes; people will give you advice on actions and how there action resulted. It does not mean your action will fail; it could be that theirs did!
  • Losers are not the people last in a race; Losers are the ones who didn’t try.
  • You are unique, beautiful and one of a kind. No one can take it away from you.
  • Don’t burn bridges – literally and figuratively! You never know when you need to cross back again.
  • Plan your life – but know that extensive planning actually hides the fact that you don’t know what you want to be do or are actually meant to be doing.
  • A good leader will not take you somewhere you don’t want to go. A good leader, will take you somewhere you want to go faster!
  • Small acts of kindness, even to strangers, can help in ways you may never understand. Be aware that the effects of what you did may come back to you when you least expect it and you may find the only thing you can do is cry!
  • Treat others how you want to be treated.
  • It is today’s challenge that needs to be over come, not the overall goal. Achieve today’s challenge everyday and the overall goal will arrive one day.
  • It ain’t as bad as you think. Things will look better in the morning.
  • It can be done!
  • Be careful for what you ask for. You may get it!
  • Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  • Check the small things. They help build the bigger picture.
  • Credit where credit is due. If you take the credit of work you did not do, you will get caught out when questions are asked as to how things were done.
  • Remain calm. The situation maybe falling down around you but if you remain calm you may stop it falling further.
  • Have a vision. It maybe a loose vision of where you see yourself in 10 years time or what you think you will look like after a gruelling gym programme. But having a goal is better than just fumbling through!
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get. More often than not people don’t ask as they assume the answer will be ‘no’. 90% of the time it will be ‘yes’.
  • Never be afraid to say you don’t know.
  • Be generous.
  • Read your horoscope. It may not always be true and may not have any bearing on where you are in your life – but on occasion, they may give you that little nugget of support and focus that you need at that time.
  • Remember – only dead fish go with the flow.
  • If it makes you feel good – do it. Walk around the office with a rugby ball in hand – you may get funny looks and questions – people may be less surprised to see you walking about in a duck suit. But it is fun, different and a laugh! Also acts as a good conversation starter.
  • When in an airport, make sure you keep your eyes open for friends. You may not see someone every time, but you will on occasion find a friend (in my case usually sitting at the bar!).
  • Laugh – even at the silly jokes.
  • Buy a dishwasher – life is too short to stand there washing dishes. Plus, the economic and environmental benefits of owning one are slightly better than manually doing – before you ask, there is scientific proof to back that one up (somewhere).
  • Make contact with your friends at least once a year – visit them, talk to them on the phone, email or text. The latter options are not always the best, but they will do. You never know when it will be too late to say ‘Hi’.
  • Drink red wine and coffee in moderation (ok – not necessarily ALL the time). There is proof that they are good for you. They taste good as well.
  • Enter competitions. How many times have you said – ‘I won’t enter as I won’t win’ – you need to enter to win! Your chances of winning significantly increase if you enter the competition.
  • Always take the time to watch a lightening storm (when in a safe place to do so).
  • Respect the faith of others and don’t force yours onto others. There is no right or wrong when it comes to your faith or anyone else’s. Use your faith to enrich YOUR life as others use THEIR faith for the same aim.
  • Claim to be Spartacus at least once!
  • Keep your plans loose and flexible.
  • Test your breaks.
  • Be confident in yourself. If you are confident in yourself, it will show to others.
  • Trial and error is an inevitable part of improving. You may get it right first time, it maybe the 27th time!
  • Stick with what you know. It could be ground breaking for some and dull for others. However, ensure that you can adapt what you know to what you need!
  • If you want someone – go get them, but not in a stalkerish way!
  • Be proud of yourself, of what you are and who you are.
  • If you enjoy something, do it! Screw what other people may think. If they are too embarrassed to do something they enjoy, not matter how odd it is – who cares.
  • Find your motivators – and make them work for you. Your motivator should be your strength, power, flexibility, ambition and goal. Keep your motivator simple but ensure it makes you work hard! Gareth Thomas motivator is not to let other who have put trust in him down. Works on every level!
  • Don’t lie about yourself. Don’t hide behind lies. It makes it harder for the truth to be told when it is told. It is harder to tell the truth to people you have lied to.
  • Eat sensibly, not carefully. If you enjoy a dish or meal. Enjoy it. Forget about what it costs in Calories or Carbs. Just know you can’t have it all the time and make up for it by running the next day!
  • Learn from heart breaks. Don’t let them engulf you.
  • Don’t force a situation; let it take its time. If it is meant to happen, it will.
  • Back up your files on your computer – REGULARLY – you never know when your computer will just die!
  • Set yourself a challenge with a goal. Then add a little bit to it. It could be to loose 10kg, make it 12kg. Could be to run a marathon, do it and set the next one. Challenging yourself helps to motivate and improve yourself. Don’t go for the easy road. Go for the challenge.
  • Laugh when you need to, cry when you need to. Show your emotions. We are not drones. We are people. Though if you are a man with a girly laugh – learn a new one!
  • Look at yourself in the mirror at least once a month. Really look! Read your eyes; see what they are telling you. The eyes are the window to the soul. It is an eye opener, be prepared – you could laugh, smile or cry.
  • Don’t betray someone’s trust in you. They put faith in you to do something. If you can’t do it, say so. Trust is important, and is a key foundation to all aspects of life. If someone can’t trust you – then you can’t trust anyone.
  • Always stop for a drink with a friend if offered. Tea, Coffee, beer or cocktail etc. it is always going to be worth catching up. Make time for your friends.
  • Accept criticism, it may not be what you want to hear, it may feel like a huge smack in the face, but criticism is useful and helps you develop. It will make you a better person!
  • If it is impossible, it will take time. Nothing is impossible!!
  • Fly by the seat of your pants at times, you never know what will happen or where you will end up!
  • Don’t try and second guess others. You will end up reading more into things and will end up hurting yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to be…..
  • Don’t one-up others – it maybe hard to avoid it. But you don’t need to top everything! Toppers are not liked in business.
  • If it don’t feel right – don’t do it! Simple!
  • Do the right thing when your mind is clear. Your body plays tricks on you at times of need. It will make you do what you know you shouldn’t. Try and fight it, but if you fail. Stand up, accept what you did and make it right. That is what takes courage.
  • Don’t play with other peoples hearts, you will only hurt yourself.
  • Never say never!
  • Don’t wait for things to happen, only you can make them happen.
  • Be who you are, not what someone wants you to be!
  • Be a positive spirit, find the silver lining, it is always there, even if it is a bit abstract.
  • Thundercats! HO!
  • Write a story, we all have at least one in us, be it a short story or a novel. It is a good experience and well worth doing.
  • Have a claim to fame, it maybe a tiny thing, but it is your claim to fame.
  • Leave the world knowing you have made it a better place.

If you’ve enjoyed the blog – please RT the post, include the #sunscreenchallenge tag and find other blog posts using this hashtag.

Here is a list of bloggers who are participating in the #sunscreenchallenge. Please visit their blogs to view their posts!

@ADCC1978 https://passthenomad.wordpress.com
@astrotour2010 http://davidault.blogspot.com
@bainser http://www.bainser.com/
@baxfail http://baxfail.wordpress.com/
@chrisgolds http://www.achapcalledchris.blogspot.com
@donkeycolm http://thesearethethoughts-c.blogspot.com/
@guy_interruptd  http://www.sexdrugssausagerolls.wordpress.com/
@kaiserraath http://kaiserraath.wordpress.com

@lucasowen85 http://lucasowen85.wordpress.com

@mjryandaly http://markryandaly.com/
@stitch_85 http://someonewicked.posterous.com/
@windsorbuoy http://www.windsorboy.com/
@peacockpete http://www.peacockpete.co.uk/
@squawkbox http://squawkbox.tumblr.com/
@thirtydegree http://wp.me/p1rxiF-1E
@textster http://noneofthekingsmen.wordpress.com/