Things I Wish I Had Known At 16 Years Old, 16 Years Later

The challenge of focusing on different perspectives is a difficult one – I don’t possess a creative fictional brain and spent a lot of time attempting to imagine various situations from the perspective of contrasting people, to no avail.

However, the sad news that I have received this week has prompted me to reflect on life a little, and I found myself thinking about the me of 16 years ago. This me was a very different person to the me that I know now, and there are lots of things I want to say to that 16 year old, with her frizzy blonde hair, her insecurities and her weaknesses. I thought I knew everything. I had a plan – where I was going to go, what I was going to do and how I was going to do it – and if my 32 year old self could travel back in time I would give the 16 year old me a good slap and a lesson in naivety. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing…

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Straighteners didn’t exist back then. Neither did sunglasses apparently…

These are the things I wish I had known at the age of 16, 16 years later.

How to say no. There have been many decisions made for me during my lifetime and it took me until my late 20’s to learn how to say ‘no’ and tell others what I actually wanted for my own life. Learning this at 16 could have potentially saved me hours of boredom and dissatisfaction.

How to simply let it go. I spent most of my 20’s harbouring futile resentment and hatred towards people and situations that were out of my control. Meanwhile, while I was crying and feeling sorry for myself, they were out living their own lives without thought for anyone but themselves.

How to appreciate a moment. I have lost count of the amount of times I haven’t taken the time to step back and enjoy something beautiful.

Not to take the lives around me for granted. My grandfather, one of the nicest, most kind-hearted men I’ve ever known, passed away when I was 16 and to this very day I miss him dearly. One of my biggest regrets is not taking more time to find out about him, his life and his experiences. It was nearly 13 years after he passed that I researched my family history and found things that he could have explained further.

How to value my own opinion more than the opinions of others. At the age of 16 the slightest unkind word would send me into a spiral of self-doubt and worry. While these doubts still plague me from time to time, I can now trust my own judgement that what I am doing is right for me, and despite my many flaws and faults I can look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who I am.

How to hold my tongue during a heated argument. At times I have been ruthless when angry and have said things that I will never be able to take back, regardless of how many apologies I have made.

The value of money. I’ve wasted thousands over the years on nonsensical things and have nothing to show for it. Indeed, if I had saved the money that I have spent on cigarettes since starting my smoking habit at the age of 16 I would be able to put a large deposit down on a house, or be able to travel the world at least once.

How to appreciate that the love of a friend is just as important (and in some situations more so) as the love of a partner. While I am not the sort of person who abandons her friends for a relationship now, I have neglected friendships for the sake of a man on several occasions in the past and have had to work hard to regain them.

To understand that, regardless of the subject, my mother was, and still is, right about everything. 

What about you? What one piece of advice would you give to your 16 year old self? 

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81blog

Written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/writing-challenge-shoes/

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Old Friends, Cocktails, Dancing and Sore Feet

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It’s the weekend – I’m happy!

One of my (many) faults is that I am useless at keeping in regular contact with people. I always have good intentions, but life gets in the way.

Luckily, I am blessed with very understanding and patient friends. 

From the age of 16-18 I completed my A Levels at a Sixth Form College that was miles away from where I lived, which required me to get four buses a day. My music class was full of talented young people and we bonded instantly. We performed in concerts, went out together in a large group, went on holiday together, stayed at each others houses and got to know each others families.

After our qualification had finished we all went our separate ways to various parts of the country, but managed to remain in contact. I was there when LR met the man that she would eventually marry, I attended their hen parties and weddings, some of them visited me in Birmingham (one of those visits was to surprise me on my 30th birthday) and I’ve travelled up to Leeds on a few occasions with them.

However, over the last few years I have been rubbish – they have consistently invited me out several times a year and I have always had to cancel at the last minute. So, when I received a message just before New Year, I was determined to go. I thought that fate was conspiring against me with the rather intense inspection I had at work, but by Saturday morning I had pulled myself together and was on an early train ‘oop North’ with my overnight bag and a feeling of excitement about the night ahead. I was staying at my Mum’s so it was a good opportunity to see her too…

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Bolton Bus Station: It’s what horror movies are made of…

As I still haven’t learned to drive, despite being 32 years old, I had arranged with one of the girls that she would pick me up at the bus station near to where we attended college, which meant that I had to undertake the same bus route that I did every day as a teenager. Standing in Bolton Bus Station by myself for the first time in 14 years was a strange experience – it’s a terrifying place and despite the total familiarity I had I couldn’t help feel a sense of utter paranoia that a mad axe murderer was going to jump out at me.

Luckily, I arrived in record time as the driver went so fast he clearly had dreams of becoming a racing car driver, I met my friend without any issues and very soon I was sitting around a table in a beautiful restaurant (which also had a dance floor – I was delighted) with a group of very glamorous, beautiful women who immediately made me realise that I was hugely underdressed. (I can never seem to get it right).

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My friend AH getting into the spirit of things…

It was a fabulous night and exactly what I needed after a very stressful week. We ate, talked, reminisced, danced and shared cocktails. I laughed so much that my face and stomach muscles hurt. I was 18 years old again – despite the fact that most of them are now engaged, married and parents to young children I found myself on the dance floor with the same people that I knew all those years ago. We were the last to leave and I arrived back at my mum’s house at about 2.30am, which I haven’t done in a long time.

I’m feeling a little delicate today, my feet are extremely sore, (despite the fact that I wore flat shoes) and I’m on a train back down to Birmingham where I plan to spend the rest of the day attempting to recover…

Hope that you’ve had a good weekend!

Don’t forget to check out the winners of my Week 2 New Year competition – their buttons are on the sidebar of the blog – this is your last chance before they change!!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @Suzie81

Saved By The Bell

As a child and then as a teenager there were certain TV programmes in the summer holidays that my sisters and I simply had to watch before we did anything else that day.

One of these was ‘Saved By The Bell.’ I discovered recently that the last episode was aired 20 years ago, and so I thought that I would write a little tribute.  We watched it from the very first episode, and followed it right through to the very end of the ‘College Years’, including all the specials and the culmination of Zack and Kelly’s Wedding. Continue reading