I recently read Sophie Heawood’s ’37 thoughts on turning 37′ article in The Guardian and absolutely loved it, it’s worth having a read.
Despite being 17 years younger, I thought I could do one too. Whilst I may not have as many years behind me in life experience or even know as much as she does, what I have learnt already has proved invaluable to me and will continue to be so for the rest of my life, even if it is a bit inane.
1) The boring textiles teacher who I hated at school retired leaving a surprising yet brilliant piece of advice you could give to a 14 year old girl, “If you can’t be good, be safe!”. I’ve based a lot of choices I’ve made on that quote and I ended up really liking that textiles teacher, turns out she wasn’t boring at all.
2) Nothing is permanent, you can change something if you don’t like it, don’t trap yourself.
3) Feminism is important. If you want to be in charge of your money, your vagina and have your own house then you’re a feminist. Don’t be afraid to say it. Caitlin Moran said in How to be a Woman that you should stand on a chair and shout it out, don’t be ashamed or apologetic.
4) If you can’t get a job at 16 or even before, volunteer. You’ll get loads of experience and even qualifications out of it.
5) If you’re planning on learning to drive when you turn 17, practise for your theory test before you are 17. Book your test for your 17th birthday, take it and pass it. Once that’s over with you can concentrate on the driving bit.
6) Dying your hair red at your mate’s house often ends badly.
7) As does cutting your own fringe in school at lunch time. That was horrendous.
8) Diets don’t work. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less crap and move your body a bit more.
9) Always wear suncream, or if you can’t be bothered to put it on, sit in the shade! I’m not in anyway registered to give health advice and I’m not trying to be your mum but I have experienced being a bright red shade of lobster way too many times. It’s not pretty.
10) ‘Walks of shame’, or walks of success as I’d rather call it, are not always the most fun thing to do on a Sunday morning if you don’t have a proper outfit on or you’re wearing fancy dress or you’ve lost a shoe etc. Just get a cab.
11) Teachers tell you that you need to decide what you’re doing with your life RIGHT NOW so that you can choose your GCSE and A Level options and even university courses. Don’t listen to them, just do what you like but if there’s nothing that you like, do something you’re good at.
12) Put yourself in someone’s shoes. Atticus said to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person…until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
13) If you see something you like in a shop, walk away from it and go back to it later. If you still like it, buy it.
14) Don’t get drunk on a moving vehicle or boat. Especially not on a ferry crossing to France whilst eating free strawberries given to you by French farmers. You’ll “chunder EVERYWAAAH”, so to speak, and it will be bright pink.
15) Being confident gets you in places and free stuff. If you’re a bit shy, fake it ’til you make it. Remember , however, that there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
16) When it comes to sex, both parties (or however many there are involved, you never know) are responsible for contraception and protection. It takes two to tango!
17) I eat better when I’m away at uni. No offence Mum and Dad, your cooking is lush but mine is better.
18) Don’t get a credit card unless you know what you’re doing!
19) Don’t squeeze spots until they’re ready (bit gross but lots of people do it and then have angry marks and blood streaming down their face).
20) Be nice to people and don’t burn bridges, you never know if you may need that person later on in life.