Advice to my smaller self

This post is subtitled – I get to think about a lot of things when I’m awake in the wee small hours.

I have been thinking about that meme that people do when they talk about things they’d like to share with their younger self if only they had a time machine etc. Here’s mine. There’s tons I’ve not put in. Stuff like, ‘You know when you know in your head that if you have one more drink it’s game over? Don’t have that one more drink.’ Stuff like, ‘Nobody will ever care that you can’t do six figure grid references, and you were right about the pointlessness of trigonometry to your existence as well, by the way.’ Also, ‘You still haven’t let go of your burning resentment of Mrs. Rance, thirty years after the fact. You might need to work on this.’

I have also loosely interpreted ‘my younger self’ to be any age that is less than 45.

Here goes:

Walking in ‘cloppy’ shoes is as much fun as you always thought it would be. It still makes you feel grown up. Stilettos however, will never be your friend. You should have given them up for good after that hideous school disco where you got those bright yellow winkle pickers stuck in a grating and fell over. Wedges and stack heels ARE your friend.

You were right to hate American tan tights. They were awful, they still are awful. Your ambivalence about socks continues and you go from feeling curious about pop socks to loathing them. The higher the denier, the happier you are.

Reading is still your best friend. Books will never, ever let you down. You still, as you vowed, read children’s books with no shame. Some of them are the best things you’ve ever read. You still read everything else as well.

Country and Western music and opera will never do it for you. Don’t waste your money on those opera tickets, or those ballet tickets, by the way. Go and see more gigs instead.

Your eyesight stops deteriorating so rapidly. You can stop panicking about going blind in your twenties, although you will have to eventually accept, that even with your sight intact, you will never find time to read ‘all’ the books.

You never break your arm so you can’t do an exam. Even when you strain your finger and have it splinted, they still make you do the exam (bastards). Also, you will never manage to pull your tooth out by tying string to it and tying the end of the string to the door. It remains a disappointment to you.

You can stop panicking about nuclear war until you’re forty five, then you’re going to have a few sleepless nights again.

You don’t like chocolate as much in your older years. Some days you prefer cheese. Weirdly this does not distress you as much as you thought it would.

Your life turns out to be way more interesting than you dreamed. Your life is way better than those of people you envied at school for being cool. Don’t waste your envy.

Milkshakes are still your favourite drink, but you are sad that you cannot drink them as often as you would like due to sinus issues. Curse your ageing nostrils. You still have them on high days and holidays and consider yourself a risk taker.

You will continue to be considered eccentric all your life. Embrace it. It’s better to be eccentric than dull, and your life is never boring.

You will never be fashionable. This too, does not worry you as much as you thought it would. In fact you come to see this as a great boon. You develop your own style. It is called, ‘wear what you like and don’t give a shit.’ People used to make your life miserable about this as a teen. As a middle aged woman, people frequently compliment you for your ‘bravery’. You find this hilarious.

‘Just being yourself,’ and ‘Stopping thinking so much,’ are just as hard as you thought they would be. You are shit at meditation and yoga, and never get over the trauma of that woman shouting at you when you kicked her doing the downward dog that time. Give up on yoga and go shopping instead. You find it much more relaxing.

You will never look like that girl in the illustration of the short story you ripped out of Just Seventeen and pinned on the wall. It’s ok. You will not look like Kate Moss either. That’s alright as well. You will look like you. When you’re forty five you will find out that you actually really like looking like you and it’s a great surprise and a relief because amazingly enough, you’re going to look like you for the rest of your life.

You will learn to love dungarees. This has a lot to do with being able to buy them yourself  and not having them forced on you in Mothercare. You still hate corduroy though, particularly jumbo cord.

You will never, ever know what you are doing. You will go into everything randomly, blindly and with a total failure to understand what it is until it is too late. Surprisingly this works out quite well for you. Don’t knock it. It takes you to some interesting places. Sometimes joy is involved.

The man you want is out there. Turns out he arrives late and you are already second hand. Turns out that this doesn’t matter a toss. Turns out you don’t actually need him to complete you or make you happy. Turns out it doesn’t matter because sharing your life with him is still one of the best things you ever do, and it’s more like splashing out for the leather seats. You don’t need them, but you appreciate them every time you sit on them and having them in your life makes you happy.

You will come to value peace in your mind above everything else. Excitement is over-rated and often comes tinged with fear you could live without.

You don’t need to go to all the parties. You don’t need to go to any parties. Pretty much you can do whatever you like. When people tell you you can’t, mostly it’s because they’re frightened for themselves. Learn to ignore them. Do it your way.

George Michael is gay. Get over it. Be ready for Jarvis Cocker and Guy Garvey and be consoled. He was too old for you anyway.

Being kind is one of the best things you can do, and be. It’s not as dull as it sounds.

You will never, ever, ever regret eating chips. You should always put salt on them.

Turns out that you were right about being a blonde deep down. Some days you’re also a pink deep down. You were never a mousy brown. Find the money to pay for the hairdresser to dye it. It’s worth every penny.

Love is spectacular. Not just amorous love, but the whole gamut. It lights up your life like neon. You are, eventually, incredibly blessed in that department. You don’t quite know how you’ve managed it, but you are surrounded by incredible friends, family and the random kindness of strangers pretty much every day and it truly is an every day miracle.

You will give up many things in your life. Never give up coffee.

Your kids turn out to be fucking amazing, despite your fears, and your parenting.

You were right about the hormones. Put your foot down ten years earlier, and save yourself and everyone else the grief.

You laugh every day. This is what saves your sanity. That and chips.

3 responses to “Advice to my smaller self

  1. I’m gonna try this! It will include tea and baked potatoes as the two ‘can’t do without’ items. 😀

  2. That and chips… my thoughts exactly, with salt

  3. this is so genuinely lovely and positive, it made me smile.

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