So ladies, what do we really, really, really need to know?
A couple of months back, I read a Twitter acquaintance’s post entitled ‘What advice would you give to a younger you?’ What a bloody good question, huh? Me memory cogs whirred into action and as a result, the stupidity of my youth flooded me brain box.
I’m not really one for regrets. That’s not cos I see every mad, bank-breaking purchase; every alcohol-fuelled action or every plate-smashing argument as a simple mark on life’s long learning curve, let’s get that straight. The reason I don’t have regrets is because I’m basically too boring and sensible for any such wild behaviour and spontaneity.
I wouldn’t change my quiet life but here are some things it might have been good to know in my teens and early twenties.
- Sweet potatoes exist. Don’t bother with the bog standard ones.
- Call your grandparents every week, no matter where in the world you’re currently shacked up. Being old sucks and they actually do want to hear about your adventures despite sometimes not really getting this living abroad lark. Things were different in their day.
- There’s a reason why white people don’t tend to have midnight black hair. Dying it said colour makes you look anaemic.
- If anyone messes with your sister, it’s ok to hit them. Very hard. No matter how old they are.
- If you suspect your boyfriend is cheating, don’t be a sap and give him the benefit of the doubt, give him the boot. Life is too short.
- Take heed of older people. Yeah, it’s not what you wanna hear and doesn’t conform to your rosy teenage ideals but it’s probs worth listening to.
- Only class someone as a friend if they give you as much as you give them. Who wants their energy drained by some little hood rat who doesn’t have your back.
- Take more interest in history lessons. They actually stand you in good stead to have conversations with people about CURRENT affairs. Unbelievable, I know.
- All inclusive holidays are never, never EVER a good idea unless you are fat and / or like to perve on people with shitloads of tats.
- Identify hobby to do with mother. It is yours forever, a lasting bond.
- Identify hobby to do with father. It is yours. Forever. Whether you like it or not…
- …Brings me on to subject of football teams. Choose one. A local one. Be aware that which ever one you fall for, you will be stuck with for better or for worse for the rest of your whole damn life, right, Nick Hornby? They will cast an unbreakable spell over you so that no matter how frustrated you are with them, you will watch, listen to, cheer on, celebrate and commiserate with them and them only.
- Eyebrows are there for a reason (apparently to stop sweat dripping into your peepers) so don’t make them so thin you have to draw them back on. They are also supposed to begin from the inner corners of your eyes, not the centre of your iris.
- Snog as many boys as possible but don’t pick too many from your school.
- If you get decent GCSE science grades, do a science A level. Rightly or wrongly they hold more weight than artsy ones.
- After the age of sixteen, only go out with older boyz. They just ‘get you’ more, yeah?
- If you go off on your tod to start a new life in a different continent, make thorough notes of the quirks of the culture and never ever stop asking the locals questions. Blog about your findings. You will need these to add excitement to your mundane life back in the UK afterwards.
- Ensure you are tech savvy enough to do the latter.
- Be aware that you’ll never get a job with a degree in English and American Literature. What’s impressive in the students’ union, impresses nobody in the real world even if you do know what F Scott Fitzgerald’s grandmother’s favourite long cocktail is.
Ah, what one would give for the superpower of hindsight.
Give it ten years and I’ll be sitting in an old man’s pub in the middle of nowhere – a place that I will by then call home, slurping a pint of bitter, munching on pig bits and revisiting this jolly good question about advice for a younger you. Only by then I’ll be renaming the post as ‘The idiocy of my twenties’ and wondering why I ever drank chilli and mango martinis in dimly lit bars with my girl friends; why I listened to people reassuring me that career progression is ‘just around the corner’ and why I strongly believed that investment pieces of ‘style’ were so totally worth spunking hundreds of quid on.