30 Things This 20-Year Old Song Can Teach You About Life

There are hardly any songs that would make you feel so good within seconds after listening to them (i.e Earth, Wine & Fire’s September … or any other song by them, to be honest).

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These days it’s all about Gucci gangs, alcohols, twerking – but don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against it. In fact, I’m all for it when I need to do some housework. But they don’t exactly inspire me, make me feel sad, introspective and struck with the thought of “Hey, this is a song I can apply to my real life.”

tenor.gifThis too, but only sometimes…

Songs like that (the wise ones, not the twerk-y ones) are scarce, and I was quite lucky to have been listening to MixFM or LiteFM since young, which, one day played this song by Baz Luhrmann. It’s called Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen). I’ll put the link at the very bottom of this post, in case you’re intrigued enough by these words of wisdom to actually listen to it.

So, here are some of the gems that this song, which came out in 1998, can teach you about life. If you’re not much of a reader and would like to listen to the song in all its glory, click here. If you’ve got a bit of time to spare, read on.


  1. 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.
  2. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; or never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have 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.
  3. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. 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.
  4. Do one thing every day that scares you.
  5. Sing.
  6. Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
  7. Floss.
  8. 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.
  9. Remember the compliments you receive; forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
  10. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
  11. Stretch.
  12. 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.
  13. Get plenty of calcium.
  14. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
  15. 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.
  16. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
  17. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
  18. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
  19. Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.
  20. Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
  21. Be nice to your siblings; they are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
  22. Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
  23. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
  24. Travel.
  25. 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.
  26. Respect your elders.
  27. Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
  28. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
  29. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.
  30. 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.

That was worth it, no? :)And now, for the song:

Happy listening.


Have you got a story you’d like to share with us? Hit us up on the Write In page, or email us at askanythinglah@gmail.com.

Image courtesy of Pexels.

5 thoughts on “30 Things This 20-Year Old Song Can Teach You About Life

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