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  • Writer's pictureJenny Ward

The Best Advice I Ever Received was from Baz Luhrmann

Ok, well not IN PERSON.

But still, I remember the first time I heard his musical rendition of a commencement speech given to the class of 1997. It debuted on "This is Music Now - Volume 2" released in 1999. #ifyouknowyouknow

In hindsight, I wish I had taken more of the advice he dispensed, especially the sunscreen piece.

In case you aren't familiar with it, you're welcome.

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 proven 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 blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday Do one thing every day that scares you

Saying, 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 don't Get plenty of calcium Be kind to your knees You'll miss them when they're gone

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 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 own 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 a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle For as the older you get The more you need the people you knew 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

So what has me thinking about this today?

The societal expectation that we are supposed to pick a major when we're 18 and then just get on with it.

That somehow, by the time you graduate highschool, you're supposed to know what you want to do for the REST of your life.

Well, guess what? There is nothing wrong with you if you DON'T know what you want to "be", whether you're 18 or 48.

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 don't

Society often emphasizes the importance of having a crystal-clear career path from the moment we step into the workforce. However, I'm here to say that it's okay if you still don't know what you want to do with your career when you reach the milestone of 40.

Throughout my own journey, I've encountered countless individuals who've navigated diverse career paths, each with their unique set of experiences and lessons. Our careers are like an ever-evolving tapestry, woven together by our passions, skills, and life circumstances.\

🔹 Embrace Growth: Our interests and priorities can change drastically over time. What may have fueled our passion in our 20s might no longer resonate in our 40s, and that's perfectly normal. Embrace this growth and allow yourself the freedom to explore new avenues.

🔹 Lifelong Learning: The pursuit of knowledge and personal development has no age limit. Embrace the opportunity to learn new skills, take courses, attend workshops, and expand your horizons. A willingness to learn opens doors to exciting possibilities.

🔹 Transferable Skills: Over the years, you've likely acquired a treasure trove of transferable skills. Embrace the potential to apply these skills across different industries or roles. Your diverse experiences make you adaptable and versatile, adding value wherever you go.

🔹 Embrace the Journey: Remember that your career path is not a straight line; it's an adventure filled with twists and turns. Each experience, whether triumphant or challenging, contributes to your growth and shapes your story.

🔹 Redefine Success: Don't let societal norms dictate your definition of success. True fulfillment comes from finding alignment with your values and passions, regardless of age or external expectations.

So, if you're still uncertain about your career path at 40, fret not. Embrace the uncertainty as a sign of growth and a chance to craft a future that truly reflects the person you've become.

Be curious, be open, and be willing to embrace the endless possibilities that lie ahead.

Share your thoughts below or connect with me if you resonate with this message! Let's inspire each other as we navigate the exciting landscape of our careers. 🤝


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