Even when turning 50, wear sunscreen

Down the right side of my blog, I have an RSS feed of Google News stories on boomers. One today was a column in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich called, “Basic premise for a column Boomerangs.” It opens:

If I hear the term “Boomer” one more time, I’m going to go kaboom.

That was going to be the premise of this column.

I was going to write about how much I hated the term Boomer, and how if I, as a member of the bloated Boomer club, couldn’t stand it anymore, pity the younger generations. They really must be sick of hearing about us.

It’s a fun column with some nice twists, so stick with Mary for the ride.

If her name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Mary Schmich wrote a famous column in 1997, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young” — an imagined commencement speech that included the advice “wear sunscreen.” (It became famous because word circulated on the Internet that writer Kurt Vonnegut actually gave it at MIT.)

I looked at the column tonight and it has some wonderful lines that could be used at someone’s 50th. For example, this part:

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.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Or this part:

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

And, finally, this:

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.

Good advice, especially, as Mary says, about the sunscreen. (Disclosure: My newspaper is owned by the same company as the Chicago Tribune.)