The Meaning of Life (Sunscreen)

 Kurt Vonnegut's commencement address at MIT
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
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.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind.  You will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth  until they've 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. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is
as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing  bubble
gum. 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 idleTuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who
are reckless with yours.
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.
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
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're
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. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid
of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest  instrument
you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to  your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the  future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold
 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.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you  soft.
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.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund.
Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might
run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
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.

But trust me on the sunscreen.