Dear 16 Year Old Me….

It’s summer and that means time outside. It also means using sunscreen and being smart about your sun exposure. I came across this video and it was so moving. My mother-in-law has had surgeries to remove melanoma from her leg. She takes extra precautions now when she is outside. She has told me that when she was younger she didn’t think anything like that would or could happen to her. Don’t we all? 

When I was younger I didn’t think about skin cancer….that doesn’t happen to people like ME. Well, yes, it could. It happens to young people all the time. When you are young, you think you are invincible…and the reality is that you are not. So, here is my letter to 16 Year Old Me….

“Dear 16 Year Old Me,

Don’t lay out and try to tan. Don’t use baby oil when you go outside instead of sunscreen. Don’t ever go to a tanning bed. Embrace who you are and your paleness. As you get older you will learn that having a tan isn’t worth having surgery or going through chemo or even dying for. You will have an amazing husband and family and you will want to be there for them. You will slather sunscreen on everyone and you will be the one making sure that everyone is wearing sunscreen before they go outside. 

You will want to protect your children from harm and you will want to be there for every milestone they have. You will want to watch your children grow up and start their own family, and then hopefully you will still be around to see your great-grandchildren too. 

You will be the one documenting your family, but don’t forget to be in the picture every now and then too.  Remember to take time out to tell people that you love them. Remember to say I love you before you hang up the phone.  

When you are shooting outside, make sure you keep sunscreen accessible, even in the winter months. Yes, you remember those sunburns you got from being outside on those sunny and cold days! Wind burn + Sunburn = PAIN!

Life is too short already…don’t let wanting a tan make it shorter.

PS….Listen to your Mother. She is right. Always has been. Always will be. Deal with it.”


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