It’s my birthday next weekend, and I’m also coming up to my first year blogging anniversary. One of my favourite posts from this first year has been 52 Things I Have Learnt in 52 Years and, if I could go back in time, there are a few more things I would like to impart to my younger self. It’s not that I have got regrets, or made any particularly big mistakes, but there are things that I wish I knew as a younger me, or at least believed. So, if someone could kindly provide me with a time machine, here is a list I would tell myself when I was somekindofyounger.
1. You look amazing! When I look back at the photos of me in my 20’s, I am stunned that I looked that good! Of course, at the time, I was worried about my thighs being too big, my hair being too fine and my hips being too wide…..
2. Don’t be guided by what other people think is best for you. You know yourself, so trust your instincts! Sadly, I took a couple of awful jobs because someone said I should!
3. Don’t give up anything because of a romance. I once gave up a promising career in America because of a wanting to come home to an English boyfriend.
4. Don’t worry about dieting! Although I didn’t spend huge amounts of my life dieting, I did spend a lot time thinking I should.
5. All that exercise, running and aerobics will be worth it! Keep at it!
6. Don’t worry about anything. It’s a waste of your time. You are in control of your own destiny and you will get where you want to be.
7. Be grateful. You have everything you need and always will.
8. Educate yourself as much as you can. Although I have a degree and changed career in my mid thirties, which involved years of further learning, there is always more that I wish I had done. I still want to do a MA and I’ve got a keen interest in learning Latin!
9. Life is great. Wonderful, exciting and full of opportunities. Don’t be afraid of anything.
10. Don’t worry about finding your soul mate. As it turned out, I didn’t meet him until I was 40.
11. People will come and go in and out of your life. And that’s fine because you will grow and change and different people will be attracted to your changing self. Don’t worry about friendships ending.
12. Don’t waste your time trying to make everyone like you. No matter who you are, what you say or do, and what you look like, some people will always dislike you.
13. Do not coast. Always have a plan, a goal and a direction to head in.
14. Don’t worry about money. It comes, it goes. Sometimes you have a lot, sometimes not a bean. You will never starve.
15. Try new things.
16. Travel more.
17. Go to all the parties. I have always loved dancing, and now events where I can dance all evening are somewhat limited.
18. Don’t dwell on those who you feel have done you wrong. Forgive, forget and move on.
19. Don’t listen to that idiot woman who told you when you were 30 that you have no ability for writing. Write!
20. Put sunscreen on your face and body whenever you are in the sun! Stop using coconut oil!
21. Love yourself. I eventually came to this state but not til I was in my mid 30’s. Start earlier!
22. If anyone tells you you are fat, avoid their company.
23. Lay off the makeup, you don’t need it, particularly in your teens and twenties.
24. You are a good enough mum.
25. Don’t expect that anything you can buy will change your life, it won’t. Stuff doesn’t change lives. Experiences do.
26. Keep old letters and diaries. They are a wonderful link to your past.
27. Don’t mess with your hair so much. It’s quite incredible that I have a single hair left on my head with all the bleach, colour, perms and other hideous things I have done to my poor locks over the years.
28. When you decide to make big changes in your life (such as undertaking training to be a counsellor), realise that this will drastically change many of your relationships.
29. Self development is your priority. It’s more important than any romance.
30. You don’t need hundreds of friends. You don’t even need a handful. Learn to rely on yourself.
31. Believe in yourself.
32. Enjoy being in Torquay in the 1980’s! It was a special place at a special time.
34. Stay strong through the difficult times, they will make you incredibly strong and self reliant.
35. Don’t smoke. I know you didn’t do it for long, but it is still a nasty habit.
36. Work harder at university. Your final grade was fine…. but you know it could have been better.
37. Pernod and Black. No. And no again.
38. Stop worrying about what other people think. They are far too wound up in their own lives to worry about yours.
39. Enjoy life before the internet. It was a lot simpler.
40. Learn to play a musical instrument.
41. Learn a second language – the earlier the better.
42. Don’t listen to criticism. It is often born of jealousy.
43. Adopt more animals! I waited til I was over 40 to start, and I wish I had grown up with more animals.
44. Volunteer. There are lots of amazing opportunities right on your doorstep and some of them will lead directly to paid work.
45. Don’t go anywhere near tanning beds. Ever.
46. Don’t worry when plans and circumstances change, simply readjust your course, and keep going.
47. Stick with low heels and trainers. I’m rather vain about my feet which still look fab, though I say so myself. I put this down to wearing high heels about twice in the last 50 years. (Even on my wedding day I had glorified trainers on underneath my dress!)
48. Love unconditionally.
49. “To thine own self be true”. My favourite quote through all these years. Well, that, and “Have we no wine here” (Both are Shakespeare.)
50. Be proud of who you are. Never ever pretend to be what you are not.
So there you have it. I like to think that if I could hop aboard that time machine, my younger self would listen avidly to my sage advice. But, knowing myself as I do, I imagine I would listen and smile…. but still think that I knew best. And I probably did. ❤️