Sunscreen Challenge – You know what to do

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.

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

You know what to do

When I left school I didn’t really know what to do with my life. All my friends started jobs or studied further, and the pressure was on to pay rent, get a car, and get on with my life.  So I did what anyone in my situation would do: I started doing what I was good at.  I got a job in IT.

It was great, because all my tasks were easy, and I never really had huge challenges to overcome. The pay was good too, and I was well on my way in life.

Then I got stuck in a rut. I realised that I am repeating the same things over and over in my professional life, and that I deal with the same things again and again. The stress is horrendous, and I barely have time for anything else.  I began to think of where I went wrong, and then it hit me: I chose to do with my life what was easy, and I chose to do something to get money.

By making a mistake with that crucial decision earlier on in life, I am stuck in a job I don’t really like that much, and I am used to the great income. But having a good salary and not being happy at your job isn’t a great situation to be in. No amount of money can buy happiness.

I just need to add that we can’t always make the right decisions, because we never know what may happen in the future. That which may be the right decision now, may turn out to be a mistake only much later on in life.  Life is amazing at how it shapes and changes us, and we never know how our lives will change next month, next week, or even tomorrow.

The important thing to remember is that society’s pressures and norms won’t always be what you need in life.  If the great artist Michaelangelo bowed to the pressures of society, the Sistine Chapel would have been wall-papered 🙂

I realised that I bowed to the pressures of society; get a job, get a car, get a house, get going! In this process I never listened to my heart, and I did something which was easy at the time. Something which is making it very difficult for me to change my life now. By making the easy decision at the time, and by making the decision so that I would comply with society’s pressures, I have made the wrong decision for me. My life was now wall-papered, and didn’t have the frescoes and paintings I could have had.

If I took my time and really thought about what I really wanted to do with my life, I would have made the right decision earlier on, even though it may have been harder, or even though it may not have yielded the same income.  The sad thing is that I realised this even a few years ago, but at that time my quality of life overruled any complaints from my heart, and I wasn’t willing to make a change. That was another mistake.

Some people make great money doing what comes naturally and which is easy. Look at Donald Trump for instance. He loves doing business, and he is clearly very good at it.  Sometimes people really strike it lucky by doing that which comes naturally and that which is easy, and they make great money from it.  Heck, I did for quite some time.  The key thing is that you listen to your heart when making such important decisions, or when you re-evaluate your life.  Do what you want to do, and do what you enjoy. Don’t do that which is easy just for the sake of making everyone else happy. Sometimes you must make the difficult decision to reap happiness later on in life.

You live for you! Go on, listen to your heart, you know what to do!

If you found this post interesting, helpful, or just plain great :), you can visit more Sunscreen Challenge posts by browsing to the following blogs:


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