I am 22 years old, and although that may not sound old enough to have very much hindsight and retrospect, I made it through my teenage years and I experienced a lot. I have learnt many lessons in the (relatively) short time I have lived, and if my advice and guidance can help even one person on their life journey then I’m happy with that.
I don’t have ‘regrets’ per se – I don’t think I believe in them. In my opinion, you either win or you learn. Regrets are redundant because time keeps moving and so must we. However, I will say that if I could go back to being my 13 year old self, with the knowledge that I have now, I know there are a few things that I would try to do, or think, differently.
So, in the hopes that my personal lessons might be valuable to someone out there, here’s my advice to my younger self, and my lessons learnt – so far.
- Listen to your mum’s warnings
I don’t know how she does it, but my mum is always right. About everything!
I have a theory that when you become a mother, you develop a sixth sense. She knew about all my friendship problems before they’d even happened, she could predict which boy would stand me up before they’d even asked me out. It’s mental! But regardless, whatever she says, listen, because she just knows.
- Save your money
I worked every weekend throughout sixth form, I worked at my dad’s office during the holidays, and I have a full-time job now. I have always been a worker. BUT I wish I had known the benefit of saving money earlier, instead of just spending and living completely in the moment.
- Friends are either for a reason, a season or a lifetime
There are 3 types of friends. Some are for a reason, to teach you something or to help you understand something. Others are for a season, to help you get through a phase, to grow up with you. Then there are a few who are friends for life. These friendships are rare and they’re special. It doesn’t matter how much time passes, or how much you change as people, because you will always have your friendship. So don’t get confused between different types of friends, and don’t cry over losing people who were only ever meant to be temporary.
- Being popular is not as important as it feels
At the time it definitely seemed as though being ‘in’ with the popular group in school was the biggest deal in the world. Having the most friends, being invited to the most parties – it all mattered. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that a) I don’t really like going to parties and b) having a few good friends is all I need. And I definitely don’t care about popularity anymore.
- Your sisters are your forever friends
Sisters are a gift. And not just because they HAVE to love you. No matter who drifts in and out of your life, your sisters are your constant. They are your best friends and they are for life, so make sure you cherish them (even when they steal your clothes or get too drunk and ruin your night out.) Ps. They are more understanding than you think, so share! It’s never TMI!
- Boys will come and go
You will inevitably think that every boy you are with at the time, is going to be the person you marry. But the likelihood of your year 10 romance lasting until marriage is very slim, so just chill and enjoy life, don’t take things too seriously. Boys will phase in and out, each one will teach you something new about yourself and about life. Just go with it, don’t force anything and eventually the right person will come along. THAT’S when you can start making the baby names list. (Joking, kind of)…
- Being dumped sucks, but stay classy
The feeling after being dumped or rejected is up there with stepping on lego. It’s awful, it’s humiliating and it takes a very, very long time to get over. But when you are going through heartbreak, eat ice cream and watch funny movies with your friends. DO NOT try to seduce their friends, get drunk and throw insults at them across the bar, or just generally get their attention. You will regret it in the morning, and every morning after for the foreseeable future. Stay classy and keep your distance until you reach a point where you don’t even care whether you bump into them anymore. And that, my friends, is what they call ‘closure’! – Rachel Green.
- Dating your best friend IS a good idea!
I am currently in a 3 year relationship with a boy who I have been best friends with since I was 14. It took us almost 6 years to get our sh*t together! As much as the lost time frustrates me, I’m glad we only started dating when we did. I think we needed to mature and grow before we could be together properly – and if we had tried too soon it could have ruined the entire friendship. All I would say to my younger self here, is keep him close, he’s a good one!
- Don’t put your whole life on social media
Something I am still learning, is that social media is just for the good bits. I used to be the type of person who would air alllll my dirty laundry on Facebook/Twitter, and in doing so I would create lots of unnecessary problems for myself. Not smart! It’s important to keep yourself to yourself sometimes, and to share your feelings only with people who care about you, not with the entire world!
- Don’t hold grudges
Holding grudges gives you wrinkles. And it’s bad for your mental wellbeing. Holding on to bitterness and negativity is only going to make you bitter and negative. In order to be happy, and genuinely content, you will need to let go of all bad vibes. You won’t be able to straight away, but time is a healer and eventually you will be able to let it go. You’ll feel better for it I promise!
Ahh, I am getting nostalgic looking back at past me! I almost miss it. As much as being a teenager is hard, I did have some good times. And when I look back, despite all the cringeworthy stuff, there is a lot of happy memories and a lot of laughs.
I hope that in another 5 or 10 years, and for who knows how many years after, I can update this little list with all of the new lessons I have learnt. I want to create a kind of autobiographical list of my experiences and lessons learnt, to pass on to whoever might need to read it in the future.
I hope you enjoyed. Drop me a comment or message with any advice you would give to a younger version of you, I’d love to read!