No, I didn’t know there was going to be a part two either! Until after I’d written this and decided to call this post that. ^
“No one should ever know too much about their own future,” so says Doc to Marty in the Back to the Future movies.
Well, indeed. I completely agree. If I’d know what was to come in life, with the mindset I had back then, I’d have probably never have got out of bed after 1994! But let’s have some fun and play devil’s advocate for a moment and imagine I could now go back in time.
Having recently read my old diary from exactly twenty years ago, I’d love to be able to go back and give my 19 year old self a great big walloping dollop of advice. She wouldn’t take it of course, because she knew better. Doesn’t every 19 year old? *sigh.
However, let’s ignore her and press ahead with:
Advice I’d give me at 19 based on the stuff I wrote when I was 19. (a 26-step plan). :)
a) When your mum loses her dad at the age you are now, (just think about that, 39 year old me) don’t spend all the preceding days of the funeral stopping out at your friend’s houses, not having dinner at home and, when you are home, spending most of the time on the phone organising your social life. Be more sensitive for goodness sake.
b) Enjoy university. For crying out loud, you are privileged to have got in to one, given your socio-economic background, a Tory government and the measly 2 a-levels you managed. Stop whining about it and bemoaning every minute you are there and everyone who is there. These will be the easiest (well some of the easiest) years of your life. You love history and you find it interesting. If someone told you at age 40 you could go and sit in a 6 hour history lecture, you’d jump at the chance.
c) Stop using the word depressed/depressing so casually. Remember when you were a kid and your mum used to tell you off for using the word starving when you were merely hungry? It’s kind of like that. You have no idea. Yet…
d) Really! Stop drinking so much alcohol and fizzy pop. And eating so much junk food. You’ve let it become a habit. I know, I know you’re a size 8 now and fit and healthy, but…old habits die hard. Just saying.
e) Don’t let your life revolve around one person (man/bloke/boyfriend/object of affection). You are more multi-faceted than that.
f) On that note, don’t be so needy and insecure. Yes, you are. Stop arguing with me. No-one wants to spend 24 hrs a day/ 7 days a week in anyone else’s company. Not even you do if you’re honest with yourself. Don’t expect it from them.
g) Be nicer to your best friend. All that weird acting up he’s doing and not wanting to come out on nights out. He fancies you, you twerp. But you’re going out with someone else, so it’s hard for him. Be kinder.
h) When your dad goes into hospital in August with quite a life threatening complaint, go and visit willingly before your mum has to step in and tell you to do so, and then you feel bad for not doing so in the first place. Save yourself the hassle and the heartache.
i) Stop bossing your younger siblings around, especially brother number 1. If you end up with a hot cup of tea poured over your clean white blouse don’t be surprised. He’s 17. He will bring girls and friends back to the house and make a mess when your mum’s out. Remember when you were 17 and the family all went on holiday except you and you had all your friends over without telling your parents? Oh yes…stop being a hypocrite.
j) Realise that boys/men will fancy you and will flirt with you and some, some will even try and take advantage of your trusting and friendly nature. Don’t be so naive as to think no one finds you attractive because you don’t look like a supermodel. They do. You might try and pretend they don’t because it makes you feel uncomfortable or you don’t believe them, but they do.
k) Save some of that wedge of money you’re earning from working at the umbrella factory. And the stints of babysitting and random other sources of income from interviews in a teen magazine or from odd jobs at the college. Save some. Just a bit. Your mum and dad really aren’t taking that much from you for rent, even if you feel hard done by. Your record of shopping sprees, nights out and trains up and down the country testify to that.
l) When your mum and dad have their two married friends round for meals, hang around. All night if need be. Make it awkward and uncomfortable for your dad. It might not change anything ultimately, but at least you’d have tried.
m) Do keep spending some/most of your spare money on CDs and music. (the bits you’re not saving) You need it. It’s good for you despite the jealous accusations from your boyfriend. He doesn’t mean well, he’s actually being a bit of an arse.
n) That bloke who’s new in the factory? Steer clear of him. Don’t accept lifts in his car, even with your boyfriend in tow, or invitations out for work’s drinks or breakfasts at greasy spoon cafes before work on snowy days. None of those things. Just say no.
o) Go to a doctor about your extreme period pains and wild pendulum-like mood swings. These are not teenage hormones. Believe me. They are not. You need some medication to sort those. Really.
p) Keep writing all those letters and making all those phone calls and keeping your friends together. They may moan sometimes and may let you down about going out, but they do and will always appreciate the effort.
q) when your sister’s boyfriend’s mum turns up at the house and has a slanging match with your mum on parenting, DO NOT GET INVOLVED. Your mum is perfectly capable of fighting her own battles and your sister doesn’t need to feel like her sister isn’t on her side. You are not the goody-two-shoes you try and portray so stop pretending to be and trying to win favouritism. It won’t work anyway, your mum finds you all equally troublesome and irritating! Er… I mean loves you all equally, yes that’s what I meant. :)
r) Nothing is boring about Much Wenlock Priory or the churches/abbeys/cathedrals you are shown in France on the history degree field trip. In fact nothing about your life is boring. Be grateful for every second, every experience you have at this time. It’s your time.
s) You have to actually have had sex to get pregnant, so when your period is two days late, stop panicking about it and making plans in case you’re pregnant. Really, I know you were raised as a Catholic and the sex ed wasn’t up to much, but you’ve read enough copies of Mizz and Just 17 by now to know you won’t get pregnant anyway else.
t) When your boyfriend asks you to marry him after yet another drunken row, saying yes is probably not the best idea.
u) Don’t drink gin. If you do still insist on drinking, don’t drink gin.
v) All your friends are going through all the same confusing, emotional shit as you are. Remember that. Stop wondering what’s wrong with them and dismissing them as moody. Instead ask them what’s wrong and listen.
W) Stick to your guns about not moving into that student house. You may wish at some point you had, but your instinct here is right. Always. always trust your instinct. It’s better than you think, Miss Dilly Dally.
x) When your best friend discovers a new religion to follow she is not becoming part of a cult. Don’t fear. And she needs your support, not you playing diplomat and talking with her mum behind her back to try and dissuade her from joining a different church.
y) It’s okay to find other blokes attractive even when you have a boyfriend. It’s normal. And its normal for him to find other girls attractive. Flirting is also allowed. Neither of you should feel guilty about this at your age. Quit being so serious.
Z) 1995 was not a “crap year” as you say on December 31st. Don’t “Thank God” it’s over. Really…you don’t know what 1996 has in store…yet! ;)
Ah…hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? :)