“Wear Sunscreen” – Concert Edition

Living my best music, middle-aged life!

A few months ago, or maybe it was a few years, I have no idea as time just blurs together these days – regardless, sometime ago my Dad shared with me the infamous essay “Wear Sunscreen” by Mary Schmich. It’s all sage advice, but I feel like with any kind of life lessons, most of the time we don’t really learn anything until after the fact when it’s all hindsight and its purpose has expired. Anyway, last weekend, my husband and I trekked down to Louisville for the four-day Bourbon and Beyond music festival. We had gone to a different fest last year in Franklin, but it was definitely much smaller. I equated this one to be more along the lines of an older person’s Lollapalooza. And when I say older, I mean like my age and above but with a splattering of 20-and 30-somethings. On our drive home, I was reflecting back at all the various things I saw, heard and just experienced over all and decided I would write my own version of the Sunscreen Song but in a Concert Edition format. So here goes:

For starters as the saying goes, “wear sunscreen” and I would like to add: wear a hat. Because as my Dad has loved reminding me my entire life: protect yourself at all times. You truly can apply that rule to just about everything.

Each day I was surrounded by so many people. And when the music wasn’t blasting me to my core, I spent my time listening to people – their conversations in line to the bathroom, hanging out on the lawn etc. And while it’s seemingly so obvious, sometimes I think we forget that EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE has “stuff” or baggage or drama or whatever you want to call it happening in their lives. No one escapes this life problem-free. Appearances are just that, and honestly they don’t mean shit.

Parenting is hard, stressful and you’re always being pulled in a million directions at once. Not everyone has family or even friends to help out. But that doesn’t stop the need parents have to enjoy adult stuff every once in awhile. And sometimes being able to enjoy adult stuff means the kids gotta tag along. Instead of being annoyed or judging (which trust me, I excel at) just give those adults a little extra grace. Most likely, they are doing the absolute best that they can. Their actions may not seem like the right thing to everyone, but remember, it’s none yo’ business.

Every day the news blasts us with all the negativity and the “bad” people of the world, and at least for me, sometimes I think this world truly is going to shit and everyone in it is awful. But honestly for the most part, I think the majority of people are actually good people, but we’re just so conditioned to focus on the bad, the good can easily go unnoticed. I was around thousands and thousands of people last weekend. Belongings were left everywhere. It was hot as hell and extremely crowded – the perfect combination to make people like me insanely crabby. But in reality, I didn’t witness one altercation, anyone stealing or even getting annoyed with one other or really anything bad at all. Which considering probably nine out of 10 people were annihilated, I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

Don’t be the asshole that doesn’t dance at a concert. I’m not talking break-dancing or the need to make a viral TikTok from your famous dance moves, but for the love, let yourself enjoy the music. Even if it’s just tapping a finger or swaying your head a little bit. If you don’t move AT ALL, yes I’m going to judge you because that’s not normal.

Old people are just as capable of having fun as young people. In fact, they might even be better at it. Don’t ever let age stop you from being you and doing what you love.

There’s a time and a place for stilettos. Normally I would say choose wisely when that time and place is, but in this case (a huge music fest in a field) I would think it would be obvious. However: Choose Wisely.

The more attention you seek, the dumber you look. And when you appear dumb, you appear unattractive. Definitely not a concept I fully understood in my youth, but glad I do now.

Parents, kids will eventually like you again someday. And if you’re cool enough (and continue to pay) they might even want to hang out with you. Be the parent when you’re supposed to be the parent and reap the reward of friendship later after you’ve earned it. (Right, Dad!)

Sharing is indeed caring, but there’s just some things in life that shouldn’t be shared with strangers.

Hydrate. And then hydrate some more because chances are you didn’t do it enough the first time.

If I think about it, I’m sure there’s more I could add. Because isn’t there always? But sometimes less is good enough. At 44, I think back to my 20-something self that experienced those awesome three-day Lollapalooza weekends (back when it actually had good music and only cost $60!) The experiences were the same, but the perspective was worlds apart. I can recognize both and appreciate their individual worth. The one constant will always be the music – never dull your ears to the current songs in your life.