Beer is NOT Food and other Advice for my Twenty Year Old Self

The fabulous writers over at Stylist Magazine (a magazine I have been reading obsessively for years now) have got me thinking. They’ve asked a load of readers to write in with some pearls of wisdom for their twenty year old self – you know, things they wish they’d known – or someone had told them – when they were standing on the precipice of adulthood. They were great. Both heartwarming and funny – these little snippets of information would have certainly come in handy as I embarked upon the hellish journey of navigating adulthood (You can read the article here).

Now, if anyone else is like me, and have managed to get themselves a teeny bit lost along the way, these words become even more poignant. My favourites have got to be:

“Wear more Sunscreen” – I regret that lobster-pink I turned in Ibiza and the horrifying bout of sunstroke I suffered in the South of France. I can now be found slavering on the factor 30, donning a sunhat and sipping margaritas in the shade.

“Believe in yourself and contribute more” I wish someone had told me this. I wasn’t quiet at university – not by a long shot – but I wasn’t very brave. I should have tried out for the university newspaper or gone for an internship.

“You’ve got more than enough time to be with someone else, concentrate on yourself first.” This one is easier said in hindsight. The heart wants what it wants, after all, especially when you’re young. I wish I’d cottoned onto this sooner but then I don’t regret falling in love with the people I have as I have learned something from each situation.

As I seem to be hurtling towards the end of my twenties (28 – eep!) the whole concept of being able to sit that wide-eyed girl down and have a word with her is brilliant.

If Doc Brown skidded down the High Street, opened the passenger door to a Dolerean-turned-time-machine, and said, “where to?” I’d probably give this a go.

I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.

– Alice in Wonderland

So where is it that I’m going with this?

Well, I started to think about what I would say to that girl, you know, just in case time travel becomes “a thing,” and this is what I came up with.

  1. Beer is not food.
  2. Bleaching your hair to within an inch of its life is ill advised. It WILL turn a manky orange and it WILL nearly fall out. You look better with dark blonde hair.
  3. When life gives you lemons…then find someone who’s life gave them vodka and have a party. Stuff is about to get pretty hard. You’ll be tested. A lot. But you have great friends. You’ll be OK.
  4. Its not love if you feel miserable. Contrary to popular belief – and country songs – love should not feel like getting hit by a bus. Love is hard, and will produce more obstacles than the Ironman competition, but it shouldn’t make you feel like crap.
  5. Dating is fun. Don’t feel ashamed to go and meet new people. Have fun, be spontaneous.
  6. Travel. Travel. Travel. We don’t get round to this until later. You get the bug in 2012 and take it seriously in 2014. It would’ve been nice – and easier – to have done this when you were a sprightly young thing who didn’t have a serious hair straightener addiction.
  7. Appreciate your parents and spend more time with them. You will always need them, and soon you will love nothing more than having a laugh over a boozy dinner, and spending weekends with just them for company.
  8. Speak up. Have an opinion. Its OK to be wrong or misunderstood, argue and be passionate. Your opinion and voice is important because it is unique. Its also OK to change your mind.
  9. Put work into your dreams.
  10. Grief does not change you. It reveals you. OK so I stole that from John Green and The Fault in Our Stars, but its true. There will come a time when you feel lost and it will last for a while, but it will ultimately make you a better, stronger and more compassionate person. It will help you become who you are.
  11. Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love.
  12. Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes. We learn from failure, not success. Its OK to make mistakes and don’t waste your time regretting them.
  13. The majority of your fears are irrational
  14. Support the people you love. Again, we all make mistakes but its important to support people – in career, love and other choices – rather than criticise. Everyone is different. Offer advice and be there as best you can. Don’t walk away from a friend in need even if you disagree with their choices.
  15. You will never like scary movies. Don’t try and watch them. Sleep is far too important to you.
  16. Don’t exhaust yourself with making others like you. Like yourself and others will follow.

So what would you like to tell your younger self?



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