Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
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…
I will dispense this advice now…

I was in St 7 this year. Even at the blooming age of 15, this song touched me deeply. You know, advice that came from anyone else but your parents.

At the age of fifteen, I used to live for the December holidays. We were fortunate enough to go to Mozambique every year for quite an extended holiday; free to roam, play Uno and Scrabble at the only restaurant, drinking Cola Tonic and Soda along with a plate of fries. Later years we swapped the Cola Tonic for Hooch and Hunters Gold. And another couple of years later, brandy and coke (I know, I know!) It was a holiday of chasing waves and soaking up the sun (wearing only baby oil) while reading and journaling. You know, I wanted to keep the sun under my skin for as long as I could for the first-term madness that was waiting.

My skin has always been strong and could handle the sun very well. I loved spending time in the sun, either swimming or just lying on my towel thinking of ways to make the world a better place. My mother always used to tell me to put on sunscreen; of course I hardly ever did, because “what does she know?”. She always used to say “I should have listened to my mother.” I find myself sounding like her now!

As with many other traditions that went with December holidays, I burnt myself into a raisin within the first couple of days. And, not willing to wait for the sunburn to heal, I ended up making it worse and worse. My skin hardly ever peeled, but every year I managed to do that. Without fail. Now, in my mid-thirties (sheesh, that sounds so old!) I honestly am sorry for not listening to my mother. The damage of the sunburn shows and, no matter what I do, I can’t reverse it.

So, ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2018. Wear sunscreen! You will thank yourself when you reach your thirties!

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