As my 21st quickly approaches, along with a full time job, it’s safe to say I’ve been feeling extremely nostalgic recently. I thought I would look back a bit, and give some advice to my teenage self. Hopefully this can also be quite helpful to any teenage readers of this blog – I know I definitely enjoyed hearing/reading about other peoples’ experiences when I younger. So, let’s get to it.
I don’t really think I truly took my school work seriously until year 9 (age 14), which is still pretty young. I remember one Easter, with exams around the corner, I just decided I’d try doing that thing called ‘working hard’; I’d wake up in the morning, work all day until 8pm, watch a film on Sky Movies, go to sleep, and do it all over again in the next day. It all paid off, as I won a school award that year for getting such high results. Since then, it’s been the same routine for me every pre-exam Easter. The only difference is, each year that 8pm shifts back a few hours; these days, it’s around 2-3am that I tend to finish working leading up to exams.
If I was to give myself advice, it wouldn’t be anything to do with education – it would actually be to look more towards the future. I was always scared to think of life post secondary school, because I knew that’s when things really got serious. If it wasn’t for my parents, even with my good grades, I really don’t think I would be doing what I’m doing now, because they truly gave my some much needed guidance. Being scared about the future is like being scared to check your bank balance (I’m still a little scared of both), one day both things are going to catch up with you, so you might as well do what you need to do .
I’d say from the age of around 13-16, I was honestly a nightmare teen. I’m not sure what got into me, but all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends, and whenever I was with my family, I wasn’t happy to be there. I remember around this time it felt like it was my family vs. me. I just didn’t think they ever understood where I was coming from and because of that, catastrophic arguments would ensue on a regular basis. TVs, phones and computers were often confiscated for some time as a result of this too. I also didn’t think hanging out with my family was very ‘cool’, I remember on the first day of my year 10 (age 15) work experience, my dad took me to work, a friend (at the time) laughed at me saying it was hilarious that I was ‘going to work with my dad’, and I was so terrified that more people from my school would see us on the commute together. If I ever went out with my family on trips, I’d hope I’d never run into anyone from my school, and it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to pretend I couldn’t see my brothers out and about in school either (we all went to the same secondary school).
Obviously, I got over this. Now I love spending time with my family, and plaster our photos all over Facebook. That is definitely a change. Looking back, it does make me quite sad to think I ever acted like this towards the closest people to me, but I know that a lot of teenagers go through this phase. I think a lot of it boils down to me caring too much about what people thought of me, I just wanted to be ‘cool’, and from what I remember when I was younger, spending too much time with your family wasn’t. If I could go back, I’d want to tell myself to get a grip and think a little more about my actions and how they might be hurting people.
Me and a friend coined the term ‘S and S’ in year 12 (age 16/17). S and S stands for single and sad. In hindsight, this is all very laughable. Me and this friend would sit for hours in my room and discuss why we were single. We honestly thought there was something wrong with us. In fact, at one point, we even contemplated asking some guy friends what we were doing wrong. I remember in the summer after my first year of university (age 19), every. single. one of my friends from home was in a relationship, and I felt unbelievably left out. I never thought I was going to be ‘forever alone’, but all I wanted was a boyfriend, I literally thought it would complete my life. Of course, now I’ve been in a relationship for almost one and a half years, and it’s easier for me to look back in hindsight was laugh at how crazy I was being. But at the time – it was a very big deal.
What would I tell my younger self? I’d tell myself to . I’d tell myself that if I think I needed a boy to ‘complete’ my life, I seriously needed to get both my self esteem and my priorities in order. Lastly, I’d tell myself that being single doesn’t mean you’re ‘doing something wrong’, it means what it is – you are single.
Being single doesn’t mean you’re ‘doing something wrong’, it means what it is – you are single. tweet this?
A lot of friends come and go, and that’s just the way it is. From my first year at secondary school until now, my friendship group has transformed so many times. It’s even managed to transform over these three short years at university. I was talking about this with an old friend the other day, and she said it made her upset to think about the fact that she’s drifted from some people, but I’ve come to realise… that’s just life. A lot of people I was friends with when I was a little younger I am no longer friends with, however there are a few close friends that I’ve remained close to for almost a decade now and I feel very blessed to have these people in my life. There’s friends that I’ve known for just a few years that I feel blessed to have in my life. And I know there will be more in (and out) as the time goes by.
A lot of friends come and go, and that’s just the way it is. tweet this?
If I could talk to my teenage self, I’d tell myself to be a bit more careful about who I really let in. I say this all the time, but not everyone wants the best for you, sometimes even those closest to you don’t. I think being able to suss who’s genuine or not if something that comes with age, but I’d tell my younger self to keep that in mind.
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