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Date > 2022 > Aug
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Desiderata | Wear Sunscreen Aug 22, 2022

Desiderata | Wear Sunscreen

Location Google Map: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai Daybreak
I woke up too early and can't get back to sleep. Wondering what to do, somehow, Wear Sunscreen came to mind. Of course, with that, Desiderata also followed suit. It's high time I write about these two.

A High School Manifesto
As an impressionable teenager back in the day, Desiderata was probably the moral Zeitgeist of the time - at least during my high school days. It was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann but it wasn't until the 1970s, when it became part of pop culture, when he was identified as the one who wrote it. I lived by it, and I would quote it whenever the need presents itself. Yes, "I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, I have a right to be here."

Desiderata (Max Ehrmann)
Go placidly amid the nosie and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Desiderata: by Max Ehrmann, written in 1927

Desiderata for the Millenials
Fast-forward to July 2013 when I strayed into Surigao, I met the elite local denizens of the town - the young, upwardly mobile 'it crowd'. One of them, Zati, was raving about the new craze of the time, a hip spoken-word called Wear Sunscreen. It felt like a modern-day version of Desiderata, 70 years earlier.

Wear Sunscreen (Mary Schmich)
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 nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have 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're 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 bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday 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 the 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 in 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.
Brother and sister together we'll make it through Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there I know you've been hurting, but I've been waiting to be there For you. And I'll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can. Everybody's free.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but for the 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 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 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

Wear Sunscreen: written in 1997 by Mary Schmich

GigitGigit '22 TheLoneRider Philippines
The Glass is Half-Full
I'd been around the block long enough to come up with my personal version of Desiderata and Sunscreen. This is all based on whatever knowledge I've accumulated, whatever life experience I've gone through, and of course, my current state of mind and being. I'll call my version, The Glass is Half-Full.

The Glass is Half-Full

This is a continuing Work-In-Progress as I keep updating

Your love for one another is vault-solid? Rubbish! There is no such thing as a vault-solid love. Love is forever fragile...handle it with care and don't take it for granted. Like watering the plants, it's a daily maintainance job...not a trouble-shooting job when it breaks. When kindness is offered, don't say, "Thanks, but I can manage." Make your partner feel needed. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you"..but only if you mean it.

Your love is forever? Rubbish! Love is never forever - it has a shelf life. Love is there because it serves a purpose. When that purpose is met, love fades away. Hopefully, you're not the partner left holding the bag - because it's heart-breaking. Yes, love is finite so while it lasts, make the moments count.

When your heart is broken (trust me, it will inevitably happen), you can take refuge in the bottle, psychedelics or just calcify your heart. But stop for a moment. If you were given a choice to go through life without knowing what it's like to fall in love and have your heart shattered into a million bits, would you choose to deny yourself this powerful human experience? I'm glad you said no. But once is enough.

When you're young, fresh out of university, take a corporate job. Most people off the grid will tell you it's a shitty place. They're not lying. Take the job anyway. It's a rite of passage. Deal with the tight deadlines, deal with a stupid boss who gives you stupid tasks, get by-passed for a promotion, get victimized by office politics, deal with unpaid overtimes and lost weekends. Be prepared to be slapped around. When you've had enough, tell your boss she's incompetent. You will be fired, but you'll get a nice severance pay.

Now, you've paid your dues. Leave the job. Nothing hurts after that. Follow your bliss all the way to the end of the rainbow. Three things will happen - 1) you'll make less money, 2) you're happier and 3) you'll never go back (you can't put the genie back in the bottle).

Sometimes, family can be toxic, but you feel stuck. It's an itch you have to keep scratching. Step back, and love them from a distance. Send them birthday cards, but keep your distance. You'll also keep your sanity that way.

To the benevolent few, make sure you invite them for coffee whenever you miss them.

Friends will wish for your long as it does not exceed theirs. In times of trouble, most friends will just stand there, pretend not to see, and do nothing. Some will even betray you. Don't despair, it's human nature. You can be jaded, or you can dust yourself off and move on, being more aware of the energies you allow into your space. And if that doesn't work and the cycle repeats itself, well, that's just life - take it or meditate inside a cave and never come out. Your choice!

But the rare one or two who'll go the distance with you through the gauntlet, go out of your way to make them feel valued. These people are rare and sought after...and they know it!

While the glass is half-empty, it's also half-full. Both are correct. It's the choice you make.

Ending Thoughts
These spoken words are compelling to live by. But I could imagine, one gets to realize the wisdom of these words when they're not too young anymore - in which case, the words simply become a validation of life. But to the rare few who embrace the insight, it's a headstart by a mile!

Desiderata was written almost 100 years ago, and Wear Sunscreen was written 25 years ago. It was cool during its time, and it's still relevant now. But I wonder if there are any modern-day versions of it in this A.I. | post-Covid | post-Trump time.

If you have a series of powerful life experiences that transformed you, I invite you to create your own and share for the benefit of us willing to learn (add it in the Comment below).

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)Gigit
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Reader Contributions:

Mama Lily Torrefranca

(note: My good friend Jeanne asked her Mom of 92 years of age, to give an inspirational talk about living a long life. Below are highlights of that talk.)

Mama Salud Lily TorrefrancaMama Lily Torrefranca Philippines
(Aug 22, 2022) I am Lily Redulla Torrefranca, 92 years old, and mother of Jeanne. I believe that everyone is sent by God to our planet Earth on a special mission. In my case:

  • as a wife to Dr. Dino Torrefranca for 71 years
  • as a mother to 7 children - two boys and two girls, to nurture and educate them to become professionals in their own chosen fields
  • an educator for 35 years, 25 years in the Philippines and 10 years in the USA - taught in all academic levels from preschool to graduate school
  • as a retiree at 70 years old in California
  • as a sole caregiver to my sick husband for 5 years

Jeanne requested me to give a short inspirational message for you, young people. I'd like to share with you my quick insight about longevity. Long life is elusive to many people. Many have different goals in life, but all have the goal for long life. However, long life is not enough. More than this, the desire to stay healthy and happy.

Interestingly enough, there are many factors which are determinants to a long life. I put them into 9 categories as follows:

9 Considerations to a Long Life
  1. Diet - eat a variety of nutritious food - avoid red meat, junk food and highly processed food. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Consume organic food. Eat less, live more - a motto to be remembered
  2. Environment - live in a peaceful, safe, clean, and less crowded place
  3. People you live with - make proper interaction and adjustments with your spouse, children, parents, in-laws, friends and co-workers
  4. Personality - includes character, attitude and habits. Outlook in life must be broad and positive. Avoid stress. Be contented
  5. Lifestyle - have an organized life. Everything in their proper places. Avoid clutter. Exercise physically and mentally. Balance your time for work and relaxation. Avoid vices
  6. Economic status - does your income allow you to live comfortably and conveniently?
  7. Job & workplace - are you happy in your job as well as your place of work?
  8. Heredity - starts with genes, from chromosomes interacting with other chromosomes, then transmitted from parents to offspring. Variations result in physical, mental capacities, as well as talents - special, natural abilities which must be developed otherwise it will be a dormant talent
  9. Belief in a higher power - believe in a Supreme Power who controls life

Among the 9 categories, 7 depend upon personal choices. Only 2 categories - hereditary and Supreme Power, cannot be under your control. You cannot choose your parents. Your own life begins at conception. God is in control of human life. The bottom line of this message is - you cannot measure a man's life in the number of years he lives. Not how long he lived but how well he lived. Have you done something to help make our world a better place to live in?

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