As my own daughters are battling their way through the maze of teenage angst, what better time to share my life lessons with them (and the world. Being a blogger and all, it’s kind of a given).
Yes, I’m fully aware that the chance of my two headstrong teenagers taking this advice on board is slim but these snippets of ‘wisdom’ are things that I kind of wish I’d have known (or you know, actually listened when other people shared their own advice with me) twenty years ago.
Your body is your own
Never, ever let anyone else tell you what to do with your own body. Set your own boundaries and do not tolerate any other human being who disrespects your personal space or touches you without your explicit consent. That guy (or girl) who slaps you on the arse or makes inappropriate comments about your figure? Call them out without fear or shame.
Wear the clothes that you want to with pride, be comfortable with your shape and don’t allow society to dictate what that should look like. As an adult, you are free to sleep with as many or as few people as you like. Who you choose to have sexual relations with is absolutely your own choice, regardless of gender, age (within reason, obvs) or stature. You get to decide, no-one else.
Financial independence is something that I’d highly encourage you to make a priority and is incredibly liberating. Before you have to start thinking about lengthy commitments such as a mortgage, save as much of your income as you can to help you on the road to financial freedom. Honestly, you really don’t need another pair of trainers!
Even when you’re older and have numerous bills to pay, it’s a healthy habit to put even a small percentage of your earnings away for that metaphorical rainy day and never, ever rely on anyone else to provide financial stability for you.
You are so much more than pretty
There is no denying the fact that you’re both aesthetically gorgeous girls. However, you are also far, far more than that. Beauty is a weird thing, isn’t it? A ‘luck of the draw’ lottery in which the genetics you end up with impact the way you are perceived and treated for the rest of your life.
Accepting compliments based on your appearance is fine but don’t forget to focus on your wit, intelligence, abilities and strengths too. For me personally, these unique traits matter so much more than ‘pretty’ ever will. Let them see your soul, not just your face.
Buy Decent Bras
If you wear decent, well-fitting bras now, you will thank me for it when you hit your thirties. The cute Primark bralets are all good and well but don’t actually carry out their functional purpose. Trust me, as an ex-bra fitter, this is one of the few things in life I actually properly know about!
Your heart will be broken – but it does get better
I’ve had my own heart broken through the years, by lovers, friends and family members in tragic, unavoidable circumstances and toxic ones too. It’s an unfortunate part of life and hurts more than any physical pain I’ve experienced, however, it does get better.
This is a huge cliché but time really does…well, not heal per se, but certainly helps to ease that raw, stinging pain. Once a relationship is past its ‘sell-by date’, learn how to let it go. Take the lessons in your stride and use the experience to grow, instead of being bitter and hateful.
See The World
This doesn’t necessarily mean taking a gap year, it means really seeing the world for what it is – the good, the bad and the ugly. Be brave enough to take the opportunities that may come your way. Make friends with people from all backgrounds, religions and ethnicities.
Debate with people who have different outlooks and opinions to you. Breathe in new places and take the time to learn about new cultures. Open both your eyes and your mind!
Don’t Be A Dick
How you treat other people is a huge indication of who you are as a person. Whether you’re speaking to a CEO or the lovely lady at the supermarket checkout, treat everyone you come across with the same level of courtesy; even those who don’t deserve it. Remember, this isn’t a reflection of their character, but a reminder of yours.
Clap when other people are winning, listen to your own moral compass, say please and thank you and if someone treats you like a knob, don’t stoop to their level. Be kind to those who seem incapable of reciprocating the same quality, keep your integrity and, regardless of the situation or temptation, honestly really is the best policy.
No-one knows everything
Despite appearances, no-one knows everything. Ego and ignorance to do not equal knowledge or wisdom. Be humble enough to admit when you are wrong; this takes guts and maturity. You learn nothing from life if you think you’re right all the time!
Remove toxic people
Do you ever walk away from a conversion with certain people feeling ‘heavy’? Those who seem to ‘take’ but rarely ever ‘give? I’m sorry to have to tell you this but some individuals are simply incapable of change. Those who take great delight in gossip, negativity and other people’s misfortune are not worth your precious energy.
This also applies to those who always seem to be angry and looking for an argument; most of the time, the issue is with them, not you. You may feel guilty but ask yourself if your own inner-peace and happiness is worth keeping up a toxic relationship, whether that be romantically or with a friend, relative or otherwise. Love yourself enough to set healthy boundaries and don’t respond to people who constantly steal your joy.
When I was little, your Grandad would always be taking photographs. I’d roll my eyes and smile but never really understood the significance this until I was much older. You see, your mind is a wonderful object but it doesn’t retain everything.
As an adult, looking back through numerous photo albums of days gone by, forgotten memories and precious time spent with loved ones (some who are no longer with us) is a beautiful thing. Take that spontaneous picture and enjoy documenting the seemingly ordinary moments such as a trip to the beach or a silly night out with friends.
Look after your body
Ok, so it’s kind of a given that you’ll be falling out of plenty of pubs in the next decade or so but remember, everything in moderation. Go to the gym/exercise at least a couple of times a week and balance out the pizza binges with a few decent meals.
Learning to cook from scratch will bode you (and your bank balance) well in the future. Feel free to decorate your skin with the tattoos and piercings that reflect your respective personalities but please, please don’t ever pump yourself with narcotics.
The only thing that’s left to do is live
This one is self-explanatory (and stolen from Frank Tuner).