EVERYBODY’S FREE… TO WEAR SUNSCREEN

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I don’t know if any of you are familiar with Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free, but it really does have some pearls of wisdom.

As a naïve 13-year old, I only liked listening to the song because it was one of the ‘in’ things at the time. However, despite the fact that it was released almost two decades ago, it’s still very relevant in 2016.

I vehemently believe in the ‘You live, you learn’ mantra. By looking back on whatever situation life throws at us, each experience allows us to become not only more self-aware, but also conscious of the people around us. I believe all of these aspects have some sort of impact on the way we deal with life in general, whether for the better or worse. However, I guess the choice of the outcome really depends on us. Ultimately, that’s what the underlying message of Luhrmann’s lyrics is.

The title of the song itself is pretty telling. By implementing this healthy regime of applying sunscreen, one is taking care of themselves, and such a rule of thumb is just a prelude to what the main message of the song is really about.

Youth – It’s something that passes us by so quickly that, by the time adulthood creeps in, we realise it’s too late to start appreciating what were our once-upon-a-time carefree days.

The Future – Don’t analyse or plan ad nauseum, because if plans unravel, the disappointment will be even more catastrophic. True, it’s good to have direction in life, but it’s also true that things don’t always go according to plan. If plan A and B don’t work out, there are twenty-four other letters in the alphabet.

Be adventurous – Being over-cautious eliminates any possible element of fun. A dash of spontaneity and a pinch of fear are the spicy ingredients to the recipe of a fun life.

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Be cautious – To contradict myself, a sense of impulse is healthy, but not when the decision being made might deserve a bit more thought and caution. You want your choice to be life-changing not life-shattering.

Look after yourself – Whether you believe in any form of deity or not, you were given one life on earth. Live it, appreciate it and above all, respect and take care of it! Don’t be frivolous with words and other people’s sentiments, and in turn, don’t tolerate people who are insensitive towards your own feelings.

Jealousy – Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. This is a fact of life, and we needn’t bow down and give in to societal pressure just because we’re not where our peers are. A case in point is the look on people’s faces when I used to tell them I didn’t have a driver’s licence at the age of twenty-something. It’s somewhat hilarious thinking about it now.

Narcissism vs. Self-deprecation – Both extremes are equally detrimental, not to mention unattractive! In my books, the key to personal growth is to have the right amount of confidence, but a portion of humble pie wouldn’t hurt either. One needs to acknowledge that there’s always room for learning and self-improvement, no matter how many titles or initials you have in front of or behind your name. If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.

Accept yourself for who you are – Flaws and all! Changing for the better is always good for a morale boost. However, it’s only good if you”re doing it for yourself. If you’re happy with the way you look, then embrace it and spend time with people who do too.

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Don’t allow the media to let you feel like crap – There’s this thing called photoshop and most of the time, not even the models in glossy magazines look like that in real life!

Appreciate your parents – You might have polar opposite views on many things, but they’ll always be your parents and they’ll always be the people who sacrificed a lot for you to have a better life, and they’ll always be the people who brought you up and loved you unconditionally.

Be nice to your siblings – Even if you’re at loggerheads with one another more often than not, when push comes to shove, they’ll be your support system when you feel the world around you is crumbling down.

When it comes to friends, quality trumps quantity – Enough said.

Accept that certain things in life are inescapable – A lot of things in life are beyond our control. The more we try to accept them, the better we are able to cope with them.

Be self-reliant and self-sufficient – No matter how many loved ones we’re lucky to have in our life, there’s nothing wrong in being independent. On the contrary, I believe such a trait to be admirable in a person.

Be wise with who to seek advice from – Ħadd m’hu ser jaħsillek wiċċek biex tkun aħjar minnhu. (Nobody’s going to wash your face just so you can be better than them.) I like this saying because it resonates truth. Of course, there are always the select few who genuinely want the absolute best for you, but these individuals are few and far between.