A couple weeks ago I had a garage sale. In my family, we PLAN such an event and our lives for two solid weeks lead to a single Saturday morning where we lay out unwanted treasures for others to barter and buy. However, sometimes Mother Nature tries to throw a curve ball our way.
Such was the case recently when, in the middle of wonderfully mild pre-spring days in the 70’s, she tosses in this one particular morning where the temperature was 35 degrees. Undaunted, we pulled out the space heater (and put a “Not for sale” sign upon it) and held the sale as planned. Of course, I couldn’t simply sit down the entire time. I often found myself sipping coffee and negotiating the price of Barbie Dolls and faded prints from Kirkland’s while standing on the driveway. In the chill of the morning, the morning sun felt very nice.
After the sale was over, we counted the money and shoved the remaining items into the attic for a future sale. The heater was put away, the coffee pot cleaned, and I freshened up to face the day. That’s when I felt it. As I rubbed the comb through my hair, I felt the sensitivity on my scalp. I’d become sun burnt.
The day had started off cloudy and I didn’t even think to wear my hat. Actually, I’m not a causal hat-wearing person. I typically wear them when I golf or know that I’ll be out in the sun for an extended time. I guess that’s the thing…there are times that you don’t plan for. I didn’t “plan” to be in the sun for a couple of chilly hours. But I was.
Ironically, a co-worker of mine came up to me the following Monday morning and admitted that she had been “bad.” She knows my melanoma awareness mission and stated that she and her husband had made plans for the weekend, but was diverted and found themselves outdoors more than expected. As a result, she had a slight pinkish tone on her neck and shoulders.
Yesterday, I read “Pretty in Pale” and saw that Katie had also recently “sinned.” We all had been sun-kissed and felt bad about it.
And that’s good.
There are so many people out there that don’t feel bad about it. Many even feel good about it…loving “the burn” and looking forward to the tanner tone after the skin peels away. They don’t feel guilty because they’re not aware or educated about sun safety. They’re not aware that their ignorance could lead to far greater problems.
We’re all going to make mistake. I suppose the lesson that our collective experience can teach is to be better prepared the next time. Make putting on sunscreen a habitual thing. Wear a hat on all days and create a new “look” for yourself as you experiment with various “hat looks.” And by all means, realize that mistakes happen and it’s okay as long as it’s not repeated and ignored. Feeling guilty about a sun burn is a good sign that we’re aware. Now it’s time we start letting other folks realize their mistakes.