Saturday, June 18, 2011

Advice to my selves

We've had some heavy discussions here lately so, in the interests of lightening the mood a little, I thought I'd give you a little giggle at some of the not-so-smart things I've done in my life!

A long time ago I had another blog. It didn't last very long as a few weeks after starting it I lost computer access for a long time. By the time I got it back, other things had taken over. There were a few entries in it that I quite liked, and I thought I'd share this one from August 2008. I've only added one piece of advice since then. So tell me, what advice would you give to your younger selves?

Age seven – Do not carry on a shouted conversation from the toilet in your classroom to the kid in the toilet in the adjoining classroom, especially when you tell a pack of lies about how you are the new girl from America when A. you have been at the school for a year, and B. you have a totally English accent. When you exit the toilet you will discover that the entire class, including the teacher, has been listening to every word. They will all laugh, and you will cry.

Age ten – When you are asked if you have any doubts about the family that are going to foster you, be honest. If you lie to avoid hurting anyone's feelings then both you and the family are going to be stuck with each other for seven long years.

Age twelve – When you are told that there is a place at Grammar school for you so you will be able to get higher qualifications and go to university at eighteen, but you will have to start working to your potential, do not tell the headmaster that 'what you see is what you get'. You will stay in a school that is due to close the year after you leave which means everyone, including the teachers, stops trying and you will leave at sixteen having never worked to that potential.

Age seventeen – When you go to college to get the qualifications that you should have got at school, so you can still go to university, do not spend the first year of the two year course in the pub. This will lead you to fail your end of year exams and you will not be allowed to return. You will then end up in a 'safe' utterly dull job instead of doing what you really want to do.

Age nineteen – Learn to control your eating habits. When you stuff all that crap into your mouth and people ask how you manage to stay so slim, do not reply casually 'yeah I know, one day I'm gonna wake up fat'. Because one day you will.

Age twenty – When your parents tell you they are emigrating and taking your eighteen year old brother with them, don't let pride stand in the way of telling them you want to come too. They only didn't ask because they didn't think you'd be interested.

Age twenty-two – When your friend tries to set you up on a date and you tell her you can't possibly go out with someone named N****, listen to your instincts. Run fast and far from this man.*

Age twenty-six – When you are 32 weeks pregnant with twins, do not wish you were no longer the size of a small block of flats. Because when the babies are born 8 weeks early you will spend 3 weeks watching them in hospital thinking it was your fault.

Age thirty – When you move to the other side of the country and you are secretly relieved when your husband tells you at the last minute that he's not coming, so you'll only see him for four days out of every fourteen, listen to the warning bells. Something is wrong here.

Age thirty-two – When you decide after a year at university that actually social work isn't for you, try to pick a more useful degree course to transfer to than sociology/applied psychology. Sure, it's fun, but it won't get you a job.

Age thirty-five – When you lose lots of weight and look great after becoming a single mum, check your graduation outfit before the day itself. That way your Mother won't have to pin your shirt to your trousers so they don't fall down.

Age thirty-six – When you meet the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, talk more about whether you should live with him or he should live with you. They have good schools there too.

Age Forty – When you spend 9 months losing five stone in weight (again), don't stop going to the slimming club. It will all go back on in less time than it took you to lose it.

Present day – accept that all the things that have happened in the past have happened for a reason, and have led you to this point. Sure you could be financially better off, slimmer and have a tidier house; but you aren't and you don't. What you do have is pretty damned good so hold on to it, appreciate it and be happy.

*Name redacted so I don't offend anyone. (Also, this guy wasn't my husband!)


  1. Wow, you have lived quite the life! Your best advice? What you said to your present day self. Hold on and be happy. :)

  2. I agree the present advice is the best. If you didn't make the 'mistakes' you did, you might have made worse ones.

    Some of the worst things that have happened to me eventually led to the best things - if I could have avoided the bad stuff, I'd have missed the good stuff.

  3. I like the present day comment. What has gone on before has definitely led us here and I for one and doing what I want to do here and now :)

  4. Goodness, great advice for one which such a wealth of experiences. They say hingsight is a beautiful thing. I guess the mistakes are there to be learned from though I wish I could have advised my younger self on a lot of things. Definitely wish I'd eaten more fruit and veg and less chocolate so I could have had my own children. :O)

  5. Loved reading through your advice!

    I'd tell my younger self not to worry so much about what other people think -- and that they're probably worrying a bit about that, too. It's something I still need to work on!

    Hope you're having a good weekend!

  6. Linda - Thanks. I certainly intend to try!

    Patsy - I agree, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

    Rebecca - Isn't it wondeful when we realise we can finally say that?

    Madeleine - Your comment sounds like a tale in itself...

    Talli - Oh God yes! I'm trying to teach my kids that one but it's hard when I still struggle with the concept myself.

  7. wow- each one of those pieces of your past sounds like a good story in and of itself. You saved the best for last, age and maturity and retrospection are really invaluable. Such a shame they only come after the fact:(

  8. CQG - Welcome. And yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing :)

  9. Beautiful, honest and wise advice. Thank you so much for sharing :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  10. It sounds like good advice to me!

    Great post. :)

  11. Sarah - Oh, this is such good advice! It's eerie, too, because just the other day I was thinking about a book I recently read that prompted me to ask exactly that question.

    Here's one I would tell myself:

    Age XXX (Just a couple of years ago, actually) - When collecting your suitcase from a security inspector at an airport, be sure that everything is re-packed. Otherwise you will forever lose the skirt to your favourite suit, as well as another skirt essential to the trip.

  12. Sarah - Thank you for visiting, and for your lovely words.

    Eagle - Thank you. It's so much easier to give good advice than to take it - even when it's to yourself :)

    Margot - Welcome to you, and your advice is priceless. I think I'd almost lose a whole suit rather than just half. The jacket would forever be taunting me 'think how great a matching skirt would look'!

  13. Margot - that should, of course, say 'I'd almost rather lose...'


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