Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baz Luhrmann. Name his song. Do it. Now.

Do you remember the song about wearing sunscreen? The one where a guy basically talks the lyrics, giving advice on everything from flossing to enjoying the power of youth? The one that became the senior class anthem for probably millions of late-90s' high schoolers? (That's right, that was nearly 15 YEARS AGO. If you're like me, you were probably thinking, "oh yeah, that was popular 6 or 7 years ago.")

Well, here's a little history, courtesy of Wikipedia...
"Wear Sunscreen or Sunscreen are the common names of an article titled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" written by Mary Schmich and published in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997, but often erroneously attributed to a commencement speech by author Kurt Vonnegut. Both its subject and tone are similar to the 1927 poem "Desiderata." The most popular and well-known form of the essay is the successful music single "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)," released in 1999, by Baz Luhrmann" (Just FYI, Schmich, who wrote "Even the Terrible Things Seem Beautiful to Me Now," the article I've referenced on here numerous times, gave permission and did receive royalties from the song).

A friend and I were talking about the song the other day and you know what? It's actually pretty spot-on.  As I get older, I appreciate things like: "Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours." and "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday." much more.  I know these sound bites offer a limited perspective on life...and I am fully aware that I've critiqued the throwing around of cliches on more than one occasion on here...BUT, I also know that we are a society that lives in quotes. We pin posters on Pinterest that "move us." We copy and paste one-liners into our Facebook status updates.  When trying to make a convincing argument, it's common to reference our favorite songs, philosophers, or celebrities. Granted, all offer a skewed, surface-level take on a particular situation, but they also have the uncanny potential to motivate, to inspire, to actually cause change.  Sometimes it's just a matter of hearing what you need to hear, when you need to hear it, and from the voice of someone who affects you. 

So, with that in mind, I encourage you to go back and listen to the sunscreen song. Afterward, maybe make your own list of tips/random bits of advice that, for some reason, might be just the thing that someone else, or you yourself, needs to hear.

Here are mine:
1. Tell people you appreciate them. Be specific. Explain why.
2. Never say, "They get paid to do it." as a means of exonerating yourself from responsibility. Pick up after yourself whether at a hotel, ball game, movie theater, clothing store, etc.
3. Read a few pages of SOMETHING every night before you go to bed.
4. Create SOMETHING everyday.
5. Just tell the truth.  Other than simply being the "right thing," it is bound to come out at some point. You're better off having control over how that happens.
6. Try at least one new recipe every week.  Cook. Have supper with people you care about....if at an actual table, even better.
7. Print your pictures. Your grandkids probably aren't going to find you on Facebook.
8. Figure out (definitively) how you like your eggs; what your favorite type of music is; what book influences you the most; the types of personalities you want to be around. Know yourself.
9. Spend extra money to purchase name-brand paper towels and toilet paper.
10. Plan themed parties for no other reason than they make you happy.
11. Always have one really good ink pen.
12. Send at least one "just because" card or email daily.
13. If you don't like something, change it.
14. Tell animals that you love them just as often, and with just as much sincerity, as you would your family.
15. Make gift-giving a priority. Be thoughtful. Give someone something that looks like them, not that you happen to like. Spend more time, less money, on it.
16. Don't keep your phone on the table during meals. Make sure the people you're around have your attention.
17. Smile and look people in the eye when you meet them on the street, in the elevator, in the grocery store aisle. A "hi" never hurt anyone either.
18. Recycle.
19. Create your own art. Define "art" anyway you want.
20. Take at least two classes of some sort every year. Teach yourself new skills. Always be learning.
21. Do 5-10 minutes of yoga every morning.
22. Take your dogs for rides. I've yet to know one that didn't like riding in the car.
23. Order something different at restaurants every time you go. NEVER order what the person next to your ordered.
24. Grow some of your own food.
25. If you're worried or curious about what someone is thinking or feeling, ask them. Don't assume.
26. Don't settle. At the same time, make sure you acknowledge and appreciate the constants in your life.
27. Do things that scare you....as long as they're not unfathomably dumb.
28. Never fool yourself into believing that life is about choosing between good and bad; that would be too easy. More so than not, life is a matter of grappling with two "good" things.  Choose the one that is the BEST for you. Have the courage to sacrifice good for great.
29. Keep cards you get in the mail and love letters that you are fortunate enough to receive. Hand-written affection is an anomaly. Hang onto these gifts.
30. Take notes/do oral histories with people who fascinate you.
31. When the seasons start to change, go for drives with the windows down (even if you have to keep the heater on).  Take in the scenes and smells that seem reminiscent of a season you are likely romanticizing.
32. Have a favorite gas station. Frequent it enough that the cashiers know your name and you know the Thursday lunch specials.
33. Have dessert every night.
34. Put your shopping carts in the parking lot bins. If you get something off the shelf and decide you don't want it, put it back where you found it.
35. Use your public library. Go to local events. Be present in your community.
36. Let people really get to know you.  Keep people around who like you for the reasons you like yourself.  Appreciate the select few who capture you with a line like, "the written spirit of a cowgirl with turquoise boots who enjoys the crisp cold of a winter morning in the pasture, a meal plated perfectly at supper."
37. Get up early...even on the weekends.
38. Dance....in your living room, in your car, at wedding receptions. Don't hesitate to pull out moves that were popular when you were 16.
39. Make a dessert or a loaf of homemade bread for someone for no particular reason.
40. Even if you show them in deed, make sure you tell people you love them.
41. If something stays on your mind and makes you feel happy/inspired/motivated, quit thinking about it and try it.  So, for instance, if you are sitting in your office and a co-worker mentions painting her living room, a statement that suddenly reminds you that you really like all the pictures you've seen of stripped walls, go to Brown's Supply that afternoon, buy paint, excitedly rush home after work and start drawing some lines.

If you do make homemade bread for someone, try this easy, but nonetheless pretty good, beer bread recipe...
3 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. sugar
12 oz. favorite beer
Combine and pour into 2 small (or 1 large) buttered loaf pans. Bake at 350 for approximately 50 minutes (I typically cover with foil the first 30 minutes).  About 15 minutes before you take out of the oven, coat with melted butter.
Oh, and wear sunscreen.


  1. Oh, how I've missed you and Pillowbook! It is so good to "hear" you again. Thank you for always giving me lots to think about.

  2. And thank you for being someone who I want to be proud of my work. It's nice having people in my life who make me want to be better and who keep my standards higher than they otherwise would be.
    You need to write another entry soon!:)

  3. 9, 11, and 22 (while a bit insignificant in the big scheme) really spoke to me. Name brand TP and PT are a must in our house, I absolutely despise cheap pens, and I wish Chester didn't vomit everytime he looked at a car.

    Really enjoyed this. Excellent.

    1. You know, I may have very few insights about marriage, kids, jobs, or spiritual health, but toilet paper?...I got this.

      I'd love to see a list from you.
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment:)

  4. Oh MY, how do you do this? Such thoughtful, funny, practical, loving, and special thoughts for all of us. I am going to read them again. Love you, Aunt Carolyn

    1. Thank you so much, Aunt Carolyn. I know you have a million things going on right now; thank you for taking the time to read this. I'm really glad you enjoyed:) And, I'm sure you have a ton of wisdom to unload...feel free to share your suggestions:)

  5. Liza, you continue to amaze me. Your mind must be in perpetual motion. I always enjoy reading your blogs, but this one has resonated with me on so many levels. I would love to add something to this list, but there's nothing else to say. You've covered it all.


    1. Thank you, Mom. You always have the most thoughtful comments. LOL to you too.
      And, I'm certain you would have some contributions. Think about it today...i know you have stuff we'd all be better off knowing/being reminded of.