With my dreaded birthday looming on September 3, I wanted my last blog as a 25-year-old to be a letter to my younger self.
Dear 16-year-old self,
Where do I begin? I look at you and laugh at how naive you are. Your sixteenth year is the beginning of an important and influential time for you, so take my advice if you want a bit of an easier ride in this crazy world.
At 16, you will get to undertake work experience at your local newspaper. It will be a dream come true for you as you have your heart set on a career in journalism. However, the experience won’t be as great as you’d hoped. Whilst you completely disregard your dream, journalism is something which will come round in a full circle in your life. At 25, you’ll wish you’d have stuck to it all those years ago.
In the meantime, you’ll go to University and study business. You will graduate with a First Class degree, so through all the tears and tantrums, you’ll get what you came for. However, you’ll hate every second and regret going as you didn’t find it beneficial, but please make the most of the opportunity. Experience is absolutely everything when trying to get a full time job afterwards, so make sure you get as much work experience as you can. The best thing to come out of your time at University will be your friendship with Sarah. She will stick by you through everything, so make sure that you’re always there for her too.
When you graduate, you’ll struggle for six months to find a full time job. Just keep trying. Every no will both break you and unknowingly make you stronger. You’ll end up going down a completely different route to what you expected, and whilst it isn’t what you want to do, it will give you the craziest life experience.
That different route? The manager of a charity shop. People will judge you for your job but you just need to rise above it. At the end of the day, the work you do helps others less fortunate, and whilst doing so you’ll have fun. You’ll meet some incredible people (and some dreadful ones) but each experience, good and bad, will build your character. There’ll come a time when you realise you need to move on, but until then, enjoy the complete randomness that charity shop life brings you. Word to the wise, be careful when sorting suitcases. You never know what you might find…
Everything happens for a reason. You’ll become a true believer in that and it will become a life motto as such. Shit will happen, and at the time it will feel like the worst thing in the world, but good karma will always follow.
During your life, you’ll let people into your world who don’t deserve to be a part of it. The girls you’re currently best friends with? They’ll stab you in the back. Others will come and go too. You’re quick to trust people because you want to be surrounded by lots of ‘friends’ but as time goes on, you’ll realise that it’s quality and not quantity that counts. You can have the biggest gang of friends but actually feel like the loneliest person in the world if they’re not the right ones. Remember to always make the effort with the ones who deserve your love.
This leads into gut instinct. ALWAYS trust your gut instinct because 99.9% of the time it’ll be right. Whether it be about people or situations, go with what you think is best and don’t let anyone sway you.
Your mam will be your best friend, and sometimes your only friend. At this moment in time, you’ll be fairly close but over the next few years, she’ll become your mother, sister, and friend rolled into one. Your adventures will enable you to secure the tightest bond – make sure you always love and appreciate her. Aspire to be like her, as she’ll be the best role model you could ever ask for (albeit a bad influence at times!!)
Your health will continue to cause you problems, as it has done since you were eighteen months old. It’s not a life threatening or serious illness, but it will cause you pain, stress, anxiety and embarrassment for years to come. It won’t put your life on hold, but it will always exist on every trip away, on random days in work and even when you’re just at home chilling. Unfortunately, you’ve just got to live with it and you’ll learn to adapt with regards to what makes you feel more ill. My advice (which I’ve yet to take) is to be brave and actually speak to people about it, maybe it will make you feel a lot more comfortable.
Music and travelling to gigs will be your favourite hobby. It will bring you happiness and provide stress relief when you need it the most. Alongside loving the music, you’ll meet some life changing people who you’ll consider as family after a while. Appreciate those people with all of your heart and never let them go. Don’t forget to broaden your horizons too. Travel the world and appreciate everything around you. The older you get, the more you’ll want to visit every part of the globe so do it while you can.
When you’re 22, there’ll be an opportunity to meet your idol Gary Barlow at a signing. However, there’s a possibility you wouldn’t make it in time so you listen your mum and don’t go, which will annoy you for years to come. Don’t worry though…you’ll get to meet him (and the rest of Take That) a year later and it will be one of the best moments of your life.
In fact, during your fangirl years (and yes, you’ll still be a fangirl when you’re 25 soz), you will get to meet pretty much all of your faves, often on several occasions. From interviewing Tom Parker, one of your favourite boyband members, to being surprised by the teenage love of your life Joe Jonas for a TV show, you’re going to cherish every moment.
You’ll be easily excitable about a lot of things but an important life lesson to remember is to have no expectations. That way, you can’t be disappointed. Unfortunately, you’ll have your fair share of disappointments in life but I guess they’ll make you tougher. They’ll certainly change your perspective on things and change the kind of person you are. Remember that not everyone thinks the same as you, so you can’t expect people to do things or treat people like you would.
Be brave and take risks. In order to get what you want, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone and do new things, speak to different people and put yourself out there. Don’t doubt your ability, as you will eventually be on the right path in life – you’re just taking the scenic route.
You are who you are. You’ll be obsessed with boybands (probably until the end of time) and music will be one of the most important things in your life. People will always think you’re weird for it, and hey, they might be right, but you’re so much more than just your love of music. You’re fiercely loyal, you’re determined and you have a heart of gold. Embrace every single one of your qualities, because there’s only one of you.
Good luck for the future, all the love.