I stumbled across Everbody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) for the first time last week and was struck by its profound wise message. Certain sections of the sage advice caused me to cry up at my youth, and others had me laughing at how the world never changes! How could anyone sum up life in just a few minutes but they did!

Here are just a few snippets:

‘The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.’

‘Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.’

‘Know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.’

‘Do one thing everyday that scares you.’

‘Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.’ (Exactly what I did last summer when sorting boxes in the loft!)

If you’ve heard the song before I hope you enjoy listening to it again. If you’re hearing Everbody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) for the first time, prepare to feel as if your emotions have gone through the tumble dryer, coming out uplifted, seeing the world with new clarity and peace! And don’t forget to slap on the sun cream! I always do!

The song is based on a hypothetical commencement speech by newspaper columnist Mary Schmidt for the Chicago Tribune which was published in June 1997. Like so many others, musician Baz Luhrmann thought the essay was one given at a graduation ceremony at MIT by Kurt Vonnegut but as Baz Luhrmann tried to gain permission to use it for his song he discovered its true origins. Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen), also known as The Sunscreen Song, reached number one in Ireland and the United Kingdom.


  1. I found this song when I was 16, that’s 15 years ago, and I keep listening to it, singing, dancing, crying, acknowledging its wisdom. So many emotions, all at once. Oh, and, yes, I always use sunscreen. Especially after listening to this amazing song.😂😂

    1. Astrid, how great that you’ve heard this song before and you’re right, it evokes an incredible number of emotions – the words so profound and filled with wisdom! I’m not surprised that is has stayed with you all this time and it’s definitely one I will listen to many times myself. Haha! Yes, I always use sun cream too – and every time I do in future I’ll think of the song from now on! 😀 Many thanks for your lovely comment!

  2. I had never heard of this before. Some wonderful advice here. And that quote you used about needing people around who you knew when you were young. Wow, so true. I think that’s why Facebook has been good for reuniting with people from my childhood and teen years!

    1. Luanne, it does pack a powerful punch with so much heartwarming and insightful advice! Yes, I’m holding on tighter than ever to those who knew me as young – such precious contacts. Yeah, it’s great you’re connecting with people from your childhood via Facebook. I’m not on this but remember doing just that when Friends Reunited came out years (decades!) ago! Many thanks for your lovely comment. ❤️

      1. It’s a reason I don’t want to let go of Facebook: especially reuniting with friends from junior high and high school. Without FB I would lose track of them all over again. We are all too busy to keep up otherwise.

  3. The words about not being reckless with other peoples’ hearts and not letting them be reckless with yours is pure gold 💝He have to be kinder to others and have boundaries for how we allow them to act toward us. I had never heard of the song before!

  4. Ahhh, Annika, I listened to this while getting ready for work. It was just what I needed! Life is hard, so hard, but these reminders help simplify and put things into perspective. I’m not sure if it’s the state of the world that has me looking back, but recently I keep thinking of my teen years and the fun I had. The music, the parties, the friends. It was all so innocent and pure. I wish I had worn sunscreen back then, but in those days, it was necessary to coat yourself with baby oil and lay fully exposed to the sun. 😬 🤦🏻‍♀️ Things have changed, thank goodness. You are a goddess for posting this. I will continue listening to this as a reminder of what’s important. I hope you have a fabulous weekend, my friend. Xo ❤️

    1. Tanya, my friend, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! ❤️ It means so much to know my post came along just when you needed it, that the words reached within your heart! The first time I heard it it felt as if my mind clarified, my emotions calmed and overall enlightened and spiritually boosted! It’s lovely you can look back with joy at your teen years and it sounds like you had a brilliant time. Life is just so much simplier often in those years – yet I recall times of angst and worry too! Tanya, it warms my heart how much hearing the song meant to you – an affirmation that my words, my posts touch others – bless you for your beautiful words. Love & hugs xx ❤️

  5. I can watch this at least once a day, Annika. Every piece of advice is a gem. “Remember compliments you received. Forget insults.” How true! That’s the way to keep us pressing forward. I’ll save the video and watch it again and again. ❤

    1. Miriam, wow! ❤️ I see your feelings for the song, its emotional impact mirrors my own feelings – I’ve already watched it so many times and each time I take away something new from the words! Why is it that the insults seem to become embedded in our brains and we forget all the beautiful compliments over the years – time to rectify this! 😀

      1. Exactly, Annika! Those words are mirrors. Everyone could see their own reflections time and time again. I can see myself pause and reflect on every thought.

        Each this the thought is universal and applicable to different people in do different ways.

        Thank you for the post.

  6. I loved this Annika, And those old quotes are quite evergreen. I especially loved, “The older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.’’ ❤

    1. Debby, it means a lot you enjoyed the song and its wonderful universal message – a great quote you picked out! Those connections from one’s early life are precious indeed. Wishing you a great continuation of your break! xx ❤️

  7. Fun advice, Annika, and a clever way to present it. The older I get, the wiser it seems. Each age has its own joys and brings its own challenges. At 80 in three weeks, I still believe I should do one scary thing a day. Laughing. I’m not sure our kids share that perspective. They worried when I went on my 750 mile backpack trip to celebrate my 75th birthday and they worried when Peggy and I took our truck and trailer on a 12, 000 mile drive about this past fall. And I’m sure they will worry about the next thing we do. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Curt, your whole life, I feel, has been an epitome of adventure and daring! From what I gather from your posts even as a child you would venture out into the woods and wow, what an amazing 75th backpacking hike. I love that you (& Peggy) go against the expected norm. The 12,000 trailer venture sounds fantastic and I bet scary enough moments to fulfil the words of the song here! Haha! 😀 I can understand that your children are worried for you but also see that this life is who you are and blimey, by now they must see you know what you’re doing so they don’t need to worry so much! 😀 Take care, mind … and Happy Trekking and Adventures!

      1. Thanks for the very thoughtful comment, Annika. I decided early on to live life as an adventure. And I was ever so lucky when I met Peggy 30 some years ago that she shares my love of wandering. (She met me when I stepped off my bicycle at the end of a 10,000 mile sol0 tour around North America. Grin.) The only truly scary time on our RV trip was when we were avoiding the tornados that were whipping through New Orleans. 🙂 We are off to travel up the Nile next Wednesday.

        1. Curt, it’s impressive that you only had the one truly scary moment on such a mammoth trip! Phew, I’m glad you avoided the tornados!

          Have a great trip on the Nile and enjoy seeing all the amazing sights along the way!

  8. Hi Annika, I didn’t know you are back in blogging. Apologies.

    And, wow what a powerful message! I completely agree with the idea of surrounding yourself with people who bring positivity into your life and not being reckless with others’ hearts. It’s amazing how a simple song can have such a profound impact. 🙌

    And the advice to keep your old love letters and throw away your old bank statements is so true. Memories and experiences are much more valuable than material possessions. I’ll definitely be giving Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) another listen after reading your post!

    1. Ritish, it’s so lovely to see your comment and no apologies necessary! I don’t have a set blogging schedule and feel grateful that so many understand this and keep following and in contact!

      Wow! I love that you find so much within the message of the song and I honestly felt as if my emotions had been through a whirlwind, so many feelings and thoughts tumbling within me!

      I feel many more people are treasuring memories, and experiences above material objects; they are a well to draw upon and continuously enrich one’s life!

      Wishing you well.

  9. This is new to me and I love it. The message and the examples. Oh my, when I hear wisdom like this all at once it makes me smile– and want to do better. My dermatologist would agree, of course. 😉

    1. Ally, I love that, the song both makes a you smile and wanting to do better! Bless! Ditto and it is incredibly inspiring! Oh yes, we use sun scream but probably not enough as I found some bottles out of date the other day! 😀 Thank you so much for your lovely comment and have a great start the week! ❤️

    1. Robbie, that’s often the way when you hear a song first time round, busy with something else the words and the profound message don’t have a chance to register. So glad you could appreciate them now – it does help to see them written down I feel! Hope you’re having a good start to the week. Xx ❤️

    1. Exactly, Khaya, I think that is causes us to reflect on our own youth, nodding sagely in agreement with the advice – and probably knowing we would have ignored half of it if told at the time – is its huge appeal! 😀Truths recognised with experience of life! I’m glad it’s brightened up your day -winter is holding its tight grip over us for now. xx ❤️

  10. So inspiring- and true! When we’re young we live in the moment, but life has a way of slapping us upside the head, doesn’t it? We learn success isn’t as important as treasuring those little moments, the ones we can never get back.
    Thank you, Annika ❤

    1. Jacquie, beautifully said and here’s to treasuring those little moments – which become the great important ones in our lives! Thank you so much for your lovely message! Wishing you a lovely Sunday, Jacquie! xx❤️

    1. Diana, I know, a superb summing up of our human nature – and and to finding our path through our lives! How true about learning to be gentle with ourselves and others, to see this as a strength, to understand the precious small moments are the ones that truly count in the end! Wishing you a lovely Sunday. xx ❤️

  11. Love this Annika! What a great video with such wise advise! I was going to share it with the kids but maybe in about 5 years. lol. Now my parents will love it. Thanks for sharing this great song. I was going to start reading the love notes, if I can find them. haha! 💗

    1. Cindy, that’s great and I thought the same – I’ll wait a few years before sharing with my son! 😀 The advice is spot on and I love that it encompasses so many emotions! Oh yes, those love letters … enjoy if you have a chance to read them! I fear I may start and not be able to stop until I’ve read them all! hugs xx ❤️

      1. Bless you, Bernadette for your two beautiful messages, and for listening again – it struck me this morning as well how its message is more relevant than ever! A song that should be heard more widely, words one can hope will be followed and taken to heart. hugs xx

  12. Behind the Story

    Although I’ve heard much of this before, this is first time I’ve heard the whole song. It contains lots of good advice. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Nicki, it’s strange how certain songs or even films one only comes across in parts – it is revelatory when experiencing the whole! I am only too happy to share here and it is heartwarming how many are touched by the words! Wishing you a lovely weekend. xx

  13. great post, Annika –
    and I get the message (make that messages) but at first had to put aside how “against” sun screen I am – but this is not the place for that – hahah
    and my favorite takeaway

    Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

    1. Thank you so much, Yvette and I was so taken with the song, its message I just wanted to share here! I hoped people would not think this was just an advert for sunscreen or such … it take a short while to get to the main part. (Now, as you say, not the place why you are against suncream but I am intrigued!) I think that sentence about protecting one’s heart and looking after others is so important and one of my favourites – time and experience is a great teacher! Wishing you a lovely weekend! xx

      1. Hi – well I did get that it was humor and the sunscreen phrase was the anchor for all this wisdom phrases and life encouragement
        – and quick version
        I think our culture has an untrue message from some groups about the sun and the body
        And the chemicals in sunscreen can be very dangerous and we also need sun to make our d3
        And well / even many researchers can show that skin cancer is not from the sun but from the gut and body terrain and as an organ- the skin is a dumping ground – and so I just think there are lies and brainwashing to fear the sun when we should embrace fails sunshine and change the diet and clean the body because the “terrain is all”

  14. Hi Annika, I have heard variations of this awhile ago, and I appreciate the reminder. Age old wisdom never truly grows old. Like you say, uplifted with a new clarity. I don’t know whether you are familiar with Jay Shetty “On Purpose” podcast plus books such as “Think like a monk.” He was a monk. Now married…no longer a monk…relatively young. I am immersing myself in age old, yet current, relatable, humorous, many gems I can immediately apply to my life and my challenges. I love the wise snippets you share here! ❤️ Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. xx 💕

    1. Hi Erica, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and for sharing about Jay Shetty! Of course, you sent me off on a Google search and wow, he seems phenomenal! How have I not heard of him? Although a Londoner he seems to have struck it big in America since moving there. I want to learn more about him, and his books – from one brief snippet I was nodding at how he said that ‘happiness is not a checklist’! We often seem to think it is exactly that!

      Erica, I’m so glad you found gems within this video, could relate to them (isn’t that what makes many humourous!) and that you found the inherent wisdom. Lovely to ‘chat’ as always – and we’re doing okay here. Take care and hope you’re having a good start to the weekend. hugs xx ❤️

  15. I had not heard the video before Annika… And yes, so much wisdom in those lyrics..
    If only we knew then, what we know now LOL.. as the saying goes.. So true… I smiled as you said you had been going through old statements etc…. I only said to my hubby on a rainy day we really must go through some of the documents we have kept over the years.. 🙂

    I smiled at the ” Do one things that scares you”…… I smiled as I did….. Driving through todays traffic is enough to scare anyone LOL…

    Sending smiles and hugs Annika… May we always remind YOUNG at heart… ❤

    1. I have posted about this song and it’s salient message before. I love that an Aussie brought it to popular attention. I often think of its words. If ever there was a suggestion box for living life, this song was it.
      Especially love the bit about take kind to your knees. You will miss them when they are gone.
      The race is long but in the end it is only with yourself.
      And for us in Australia, Wear sunscreen!

      1. Amanda, thank you for mentioning your post about the song and I enjoyed reading it, learning more about you and I’ve left a message there! The clarity and wisdom shine through here and I love the idea of a suggestion box for living life! Wouldn’t that be an idea for schools? Oh yes, I relate to the knees and a powerful reminder about the race being only with ourselves – a difficult lesson to learn but once engrained upon one’s soul life suddenly becomes more tranquil and harmonious.

        I hadn’t realised Baz Luhrmann was Australian until your comment here and wow, that he is such a famous film-maker and director of many of my favourite films! Wonderful! I loved ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet ‘ – it was a revelation and Australia is a terrific film!

    2. Sue, it is a joy to read your comment and yes, there are so many ‘what ifs’ moments when listening to the song! I am sure this is a speech students would remember – even is not follow all the advice! 😀 Good luck with sorting through your old documents – I found that once I started I worked like a demon, the shredder literally overheated and passed out and I wonder now if perhaps I should have retained a bit more about earlier me! Love letters are all intact and safely tucked up in their boxes though! Haha! 😂Yes, driving on today’s looney roads in the UK is definitely scary – the M25 is genuinely terrifying! Here’s to being YOUNG at heart – that is one of the secrets to life!

      Wishing you a lovely blessed weekend, Sue – it’s great to reconnect again! love & hugs xx ❤️

  16. This is the first time I’ve heard the song. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I worked in higher ed for over thirty years, so I’ve sat through my share of awful commencement speeches. The students would have been better served by watching this video.

    1. Liz, that’s probably what the author of the essay thought as well – what is the true helpful and wise words to pass on to the next generation that they might remember and make a real difference in theirs and others lives! Commencement speeches seem to be particular to the US and I feel for your listening through so many during your career in higher ed. Are they given even at school level? In the UK I have a vague memory of a short speech before my university graduation ceremony – but no idea if there were any inspiring advice to future me and other students!

      1. The commencement speech that stands out as particularly bad was the one when a governor of the state used it as an opportunity for a campaign speech. Not cool. Yes, commencement speeches are given at high school graduations as well. What I remember about mine was that the person who gave it (our lieutenant governor) was drunk. Not cool either.

  17. Thank you for reminding me of this song, Annika. I remember hearing it a while back, and listening to it again had my eyes brimming with fluid. I especially related to “enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.” I’m struggling with my age lately. It suddenly snuck up on me, and I’m trying to get a grasp on this “older me.”

    When was that a #1 hit in the UK? Recently?

    1. Lori, snap! When did this ‘older me’ appear? As I’m sure I should still be enjoying the power and beauty of youth – oh well! 😞 Lori, it is a powerful prose song and one that touched me to the core.

      It’s great you have heard it before! It was played randomly on the radio the other day but I see it was #1 in the UK in June 1999 (and realise now why I might have missed it – recovering from a brain thrombosis and planning my wedding a few weeks later!) The song reached #17 in US during the same time in 1999.

  18. I love the quotes you shared here, Annika. They are filled with true wisdom. And how appropriate is the reminder so close to Valentine’s day to not be reckless with someone else’s heart or put up with anyone being reckless with yours. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Jan, thank you and of course, a lovely connection with Valentine’s on Tuesday! So often we forget to look after our own heart or realise the pain we’re causing others! Sage advice and one can never hear it too often! Wishing you a lovely weekend! xx

    1. Lynette, me neither and I’m trying to work out how I missed this becoming a #1 in the UK? Was I kidnapped by aliens for a few weeks?😀 So glad you enjoyed my post. Wishing you a lovely weekend! xo

  19. Annika – I needed this, how could you know?
    I was blindsided by the baby bro & sister references in the actual song…My baby bro just celebrated a birthday the 8th. This year I was especially taken by how much he means to me…serendipity?

    1. Wow! Laura, your comment leaves me tear-eyed! ❤️ Maybe I knew, because I felt the same – this was just what I needed the day I heard the song.

      A belated Happy Birthday to your brother and hope you could all celebrate together.

      Certain times one can almost be bowled over by love for another person, be it a partner, sibling, parent, family or friends! You are a warm and generous-spirited person, my friend – take of that giving heart of yours. xx ❤️

  20. Anonymous

    Hi Annika

    So good to hear this again. I first heard it around 1997 when I believe it was No 1 in the UK!. I didn’t take too much notice of the words then but it had much more impact this time around, a quarter of a century later! On the point of worrying, I do remember someone telling me years ago to only worry about things I could do something about – something I have still tried to do to this day. not always successfully!

    Thanks for the memory.


    1. Hi Mike and yeah, great that someone remembers the song! I’m trying to recall what was happening in my life around that time which caused me to never even hear it in spite of this becoming a #1! I’m glad it brought back some memories and it is interesting how it touches a deeper chord with you twenty-five years later. Perhaps this is not surprising – even though technically written for advice for the young, at that stage in life one tends to plough ahead not waiting to listen to much advice; the words from this essay song will resonate most with those who have experienced some of this! Looking after one’s knees had me laughing and nodding in agreement! Someone gave you some sage words about worrying but I agree, it is not always easy to stick to this – worries tend to have their own power! Wishing you a great weekend!

    1. Jacqui, just by randomly listening to the radio while doing some pilates! As I missed the title or artist of the song all I could Google was ‘sunscreen song’ and up it popped on youtube!

    1. It’s a good feeling to recognise those inherent pieces of wisdom, Layla! I do wish I’d been more careful with my knees though!😀 Yes, isn’t that inspring to dare do something that scares one – every day! As for singing and dancing – yeah! Especially while cooking in the kitchen! 😀❤️

  21. What a fun little sort of historical and definitely interesting tidbit. 🙂 Keep the love letters, lose the tax papers is definitely sage advice. I mean, so long as they’re at least seven years old, right? 😛

    1. Haha! 😀 Betsty, I wondered whether to add the seven year caveat! During my clear out I came across my saving book from when I was a young girl – how I treasured each pound! So glad you enjoyed my post, Betsy and hope you’re doing better. xx

      1. I still have my childhood diaries. I wonder if I’ll ever reread them. I’m kind of scared to. Will I be laughing at my young self or just shaking my head? There will probably be a lot of “If I knew then what I know now” thoughts. That and, “Man, I was dumb!” 😛

        1. Ditto! I have two bed drawers full of my early diaries – shall we take the plunge and read a few – probably best to have a glass (or two) of wine at hand! Young wise you may even surprise you now! 😀 Then … what to do with them?!

    1. Brad, I take it you’re not a fan of sunscreen? 😀 As a child I would run away whenever my mother pulled out the suncream bottle – and of course my son did exactly the same! 😀 The format video of the essay reminds us there are many ways to share messages and creativity!

  22. Hi Annika, thanks for sharing these sage snippets. I need to pay more attention to the worrying one. As I get older, I appreciate these reminders. I’m not familiar with this song, but I’m going to check it out! Hope you are doing well 🧡🧡🧡

    1. Barb, I’m glad to introduce this song to you and it’s a great format for this profound message! How true that we seem to need the reminders more and more – I’ve worked on worrying less all my life and think I’m making some inroads (I hope!!😀) Thank you, I’m doing okay. Wishing you a fun weekend! xx❤️

  23. Hi Annika, I’ve never heard of this before, but what a fantastic video filled with advice to heed! I love the snippets you share, and the algebra and bubblegum made me laugh. Oh, to be young again, right? I do agree about sunscreen though because I have a little sun damage from those teen years lying on the beach, working on that tan. If we only knew then what we know now. It was a different time. But there is wisdom (and perhaps, a hint of regret) to that moment when we “look back.” More importantly, my husband is a melanoma survivor, the only skin cancer that can steal your life. He was lucky. We were lucky, but his aunt died at 56 from this cancer, and we have a friend who died at 31.
    So, to move this reply out of its dark corner, the video is enlightening and something everyone should watch. Thanks for sharing, and have a lovely weekend! ❤️❤️

    1. Lauren, the bubblegum and algebra had me in stitches too – it creates such a fun image, doesn’t it?!😀 I reckon this is a song one should listen to every day, starting the day with wisdom and laughter (plus a few tears!) I’m sorry about your family and the experiences with skin cancer. (((Hugs))) As young, I would always be in the shade reading away while on a beach holiday and now I’m a great advocate of sun cream. Wishing you a great weekend, my friend! xx❤️

      1. I agree about the song, Annika, and now the shade is our best friend also. My hubby can’t be in the sun unless he’s covered really well. He’s just fair-skinned; he didn’t chase tanning like I did, but as you know, the outdoors has always been his passion. Anyway, such is life. And it’s all good. Happy weekend to you too, dear friend. Thanks again for a great post! ❤️💐

    1. Selma, bless! Thank you so much and I think these words can’t be shared enough! Sending hugs back to you! xx ❤️ btw, Oh no, realised I’ve never thought of the risk of sunshine even on cloudy days! Yikes!

  24. I’ve never heard the video before, but it was fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Annika. I love the quotes, too…especially ‘Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.’ Enjoy your weekend! xo

    1. Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed the video and its message. There is some great advice and I bet there are many who wish they realised some of this much earlier in life! 😀 How true that we need to look after our hearts as well as others! Wishing you a lovely weekend, my friend! xx❤️

  25. So much wisdom in this Annika. I just finished watching and listening to the video. I hadn’t heard it before but so much struck a chord with me. Ahh the joys of youth, it all goes by so fast. Emotional, poignant and very true and I agreed with the snippets you pulled out. Thank you for a fabulous post. 💜

    1. Miriam, it is wonderful to read how the prose song has resonated with you – I felt the same and felt a moment of emotional enlightenment! Haha! 😀Yes, the joys of youth and of course, one wouldn’t have listened to most of this then!😀 So glad you enjoyed the snippets and would have picked the same! Wishing you a peaceful and harmonious weekend, my friend! xx❤️

    1. Bless! Miriam, I love that this prose song creates exactly the same emotional impact for you – those moments when tears and laughter blend together are precious indeed. Yep, this is one I will be returning to often as well – and I bet I will take away different things each time! xx ❤️

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