In my 17 years, I feel like I’ve learnt a reasonable amount about life. Although I’m still young, with so much ahead of me- careers, uni, relationships etc- I also feel that in the time I have had, I’ve learnt a great deal. This week I turned 17 and, although I find it unfathomable that it has been a whole year since my last birthday, it has left me with this sense of reflection. So today, I’m writing about 17 things I’d teach my younger self.
- Family are the most important gift in life. Stay close to everyone- your sister, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. There will be days when these people won’t be here anymore, so don’t you dare waste a single day with the people who simply love you the most.
- Push yourself out of that comfort zone if possible- you need to once in a while or else you won’t experience anything new. Half the things you love now are probably from those moments.
- Secondary school isn’t always fun and easy- in fact you may not enjoy a rather big bulk of it- but that’s okay. Spend time with friends, and enjoying learning- that’s all that matters.
- Even if you don’t like a certain person, or don’t get along, stay polite and forgiving. This is part of what makes you an amazing person.
- Don’t let anger build up. Shouting at mum over a lost top in the washing will never be an important enough reason.
- Not everyone is the same shape and size, so don’t try and mould your body into something it simple is not. The distorted expectations of a woman’s body are intoxicating, especially when you’re young, but as long as you’re happy and healthy- don’t be consumed by it all.
- Don’t force yourself to feel down but expecting what is too much. At school, don’t make only one test score or grade acceptable, at home, don’t pressure yourself into doing weekly runs that are longer and faster paced each week. Life shouldn’t be about feeling unachieved.
- Believe you are brilliant. You work so hard, are smart and loving. It isn’t self-centred to have a little self-belief and appreciation- so make sure you are always reminding yourself of the good you have done.
- When you start work, know that with a few weeks to months, you will make good friends here. There are people you can talk to, learn from and even make up good friendships with- so don’t worry when you know nobody… it will come in time.
- Don’t quit guides, it is something that has given so much to your life. Girlguiding has given you great opportunities, a chance to volunteer weekly in your community and the best set of friends there is. Without it, you would never has jet-setted off to Spain for a holiday without parents or adults- and they were some of the best few days of your life.
- Never stop reading. Fill your evening’s last minutes with books and character, with imagined adventures and the simply impossible. Don’t stop, or you may never get back into it. There are so many truly brilliant authors, so keep discovering them.
- Value your weekends, your holidays, the time you have free from responsibilities, revision and work. Go for a run, babysit your cousin, do anything you want. There will be times in your life when you will no longer get these times, so overfill them with memories.
- That day in November 2013, when you had the idea of a blog, was the day you made one of the best decisions. Yes, blogging is just a hobby of yours, but it’s something you love, something practical you can fill your time with. Blogging will challenge you, please you and open up a whole new world of flat lays, Bloglovin’ and bloody brilliant writers.
- You don’t always need to know. You may not know quite what you’re doing, or what’s coming up next- the plans for life you’re expected to have made by the age of thirteen (or so it feels). Just try and research and think, hopefully it will come to you when you’re ready for it. Do work experience, talk to people. Life won’t plan out the way you plan anyway, so don’t fill your life with stress over it all.
- Einaudi is a musical genius, introduced to you by Ruth, but also a pianist that will become so important to you. His music will calm you, even on the most stressful of revision days. His music is like floating on clouds and calms the soul, it is a necessity.
- Not every day will be good, go well or leave you happy. Some days will be really shit. However, you need bad days to know the value of good ones. It’s okay to cry once in a while. It’s okay to feel hopeless. Just don’t let it be every day- if it is talk to someone.
- There are some friends that will always be there for you. These people are your scaffolding. So always treat them like gold dust. If they’re upset, help them, if they need you, be there- but most importantly, if you do something stupid (even when you don’t see it at first), apologise and make it right. Every time.
There are so many valuable lessons to learn from simply living. I can’t imagine what will happen in the next five years. The people I’ll meet, places I’ll go, things I’ll do. All I know is that I will take with me all the things I’ve learnt so far, and hopefully discover new ones along the way,