What I Wish I Could Tell My Eighteen Year Old Self

1. Nobody really cares about your music taste, fashion sense, or the TV you watch.

Making friends on the basis of you both liking Nirvana is a stupid idea. Nirvana are good, but you’re not the only person to think so. In fact, quite a lot of people do. Therefore, it stands to reason that quite a few of these people are complete idiots that you should not be involving yourself with. Dismissing someone because they like Girls Aloud isn’t fair; in a few years you will come to realise that the more diverse your friendship group is, the better, as they can introduce you to new things, making you more open-minded.

2. Being normal is okay.

We can’t all be film-writers, fashionistas, actors, and professional footballers. In fact, being normal is pretty rewarding. If you want more and more of something, or never settle with what you have, you’ll never be happy or satisfied. I’m not saying we should give up, but you’re more likely to be a well-rounded and confident person if you simply accept what you have without wondering ‘what if…?’

3. Enjoy yourself.

Being an adult can be pretty fun, but it can also be rubbish at times. Bills, bills, bills, and a few more bills when you least expect them, and the occasional breakage or accident just to liven up your careful budgeting. Drink while you still can! Make the most of the fact that you wake up after a heavy night on the vodka with a radiant face and the readiness to start again – in a few years you’ll crawl out from under the covers after a night out and suffer a two-day hangover, minimum. Laugh with your friends – you may grow apart, which is sad when it happens, but inevitable, so make the most of them while they are there.

4. Your parents will not be there forever.

They nag you, they tell you what to do, they embarrass you, but that’s OK. You can just do it to your own children later. Learn to appreciate everything they have done for you, even if you don’t have what everyone else does – just because your friend had her brand new Vauxhall Corsa paid for by mama and papa does not mean it’s your given right. They fed you, clothed you, and loved you when you were young, which is a difficult task, worth much much more than a driving licence or V Festival tickets.

5. Nobody knows how to feel.

Confusion is fine. Feeling sad is fine. Feeling happy two minutes afterwards is also fine. The human mind is an ever-changing thing, and feeling upset and hurt at times just makes the happiness and enjoyment of your life a hundred times richer. You may think you’re battling depression, but trust me, it’s all part of growing up, and realising that not every moment has to be skipping through a sunny meadow into the arms of your handsome prince (who we will get to later).

6. Advertising is just advertising.

You do not have to look like those models. Those models do not even look like those models. As cheesy as it is, and well may you roll your eyes, beauty really does come from within. A Greek Goddess might have the personality of a banana, and the IQ to match – she’s only going to be attractive to her male equivalent, whose brain is generally kept in his nether regions. However you want to look, just do it with confidence. If you want to be a fitness freak, that’s okay too. It doesn’t matter. Nobody cares if you have a rear end J-Lo would be jealous of, or if your stomach could snap wood. They care about you as a person, and as a whole. Your beauty is not just your physique, it is your entire being – you can get fitter and better, but you can’t change yourself. so learn to love your exterior, because it’s not going anywhere…and it’s damn well expensive to tweak it.

7. Nobody is constant.

People change. They change for the better, and for the worse. If somebody shows you they are sorry, accept it. We all make mistakes, and holding a grudge is childish. The people who do not accept their friends, family and partners for whoever they are and for the person they grow into, are not who you want to be. These people are the ones who end up alone, still trapped in their teenage world, and wondering why nobody wants to do the same things you have always done, at the same times you have always kept, and in the same places you have always been. Evolve together, and appreciate the person for who they are now, not who they were when you were fifteen. Chances are that when you were fifteen, you were massive idiots.

8. You are not always right.

It may strike you as strange, but most of the opinions you have now will have changed in a few years time. This is because you will learn more about the world, and realise that things are not necessarily black and white. Posting strong political messages on Facebook isn’t going to change anybody’s mind, and it will most likely make you cringe when you read them back in the future. The mentality of ‘I’m always right’ is not going to do you any favours (even if you are right most of the time – put a sock in it and don’t brag, it will lose you respect), because people will just give up having nice, interesting discussions with you, as they know it’ll develop into an argument.

9. That guy you think is Prince Charming? He probably isn’t.

Don’t think that the person you are with now (if you are with anyone) is going to be your future husband. He may well be, but this is a rarity. You make bad decisions as you grow, mostly because you are battling with insecurity, and feeling pressure from your peers and society as a whole. If you are dating someone just for the sake of having someone in your life, you are doing it wrong. You are with someone because firstly you enjoy their company, you want to grow and share with them, they appreciate and value you as a person, and finally because you find them attractive. The concept of attractive (as we discussed before) is very relative, and someone who you connect with and laugh with is much more important than someone who turns every head in the street. You are friends first; you have to spend so much time together that this is a crucial factor and one that is often forgotten.

10. It’s okay to admit that you can’t do something.

You aren’t a superhero, and we don’t all have the ability or skill to do everything under the sun. People have different interests, hobbies, skills and talents, so it doesn’t matter if you can’t do it yourself. People will appreciate honesty far more than lies. That said, it’s important to at least try, just to see if you can surprise yourself. But don’t flog yourself if you don’t succeed – success is something that comes after a long line of failures.

And the final; most important thing to remember is this:

You are so much better than you think.