alt=a man in a dark house reminded of his past in the sun through photographs floating around him.

Skin Cancer: Difficult Reminders From My Past

I recently moved out of a 900-square-foot apartment in Downtown Dallas, Texas into a much larger home in the suburbs. In the suburbs, I now have room to spread out. As I was unpacking, I went through boxes that had not been opened in years, and I could not help but notice that in the pictures from my younger years, I was always brown-as-a-bear tan.

I thought bronzed was beautiful

In my twenties, as I lived my life fully in the sun, I spent my days studying in the sun day in and day out. I enjoyed how alive I felt being outside in the sun, and I liked the way I looked when I was really tan. I thought I came across to others as physically attractive and even perhaps glamorous. In my mind’s eye, I was bronzed and beautiful for sure.

I consider my greatest worldly achievement as my graduation from law school. Prior to law school, for many years, my life was spent on a legal trajectory. I worked very hard academically in undergrad to get accepted into law school and make myself competitive for academic scholarships. Then, in law school, I worked even harder to achieve a noteworthy class rank to make myself eligible for coveted legal jobs, such as a judicial clerkship with a state or federal judge.

A picture with my very tan skin

As my greatest worldly achievement, I would now like to post a picture or two from my law school years in my new home. However, all of the pictures from my law school years reflect that I whole-heartedly lived a life in the sun during that time. While unpacking recently, I came across a really good picture from my law school graduation of me with my paternal grandmother, who is now deceased. I was greatly saddened by how dark, very, very dark my skin was in the picture. Sadly, now I can envision my line of thought at that time. It was my law school graduation, a very big day for me, and I wanted to look my best. Therefore, I needed to be very, very tan.

It now strikes me as heartbreaking that there is a direct correlation between the road I am on—a skin cancer journey—and the life that I lived in the sun. Sure, at the time, I had no idea that my sun-worshipping ways would have such dire consequences later in life, such as the ongoing skin issues I now live with, but I now see that there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between my time in the sun and my ongoing skin cancer issues. And honestly, it is a difficult pill to swallow.

Are there reminders of your past life? If so, what are they? And how do those reminders make you feel today?

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