"Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art"
As I approach my 35th Birthday I find myself looking back to my teenage years...they have a golden quality to them when you reminisce with friends, but look a little deeper and our lives were full of worry and angst, most of which was unfounded and unnecessary. What advice would I give my 18 year old self if I could?
Congratulations on escaping Cornwall! You've made it to University to study to be a nurse but please remember that as fun as your job in the nightclub is, you must make time to study. You may find yourself writing your 5000 word dissertation in a weekend and it won't be a true reflection of your ability. Try not to get sucked in to paying for a professional lifestyle on a student wage...credit cards are not the answer and you will find yourself spending years paying those expensive fresh pasta and red wine dinners off. The washing machine being broken is not a good enough excuse to go and buy a new wardrobe...bar work does not pay that well I promise.
You will lose your shyness, you will have a close circle of friends through University and you will have boyfriends...don't be in such a rush to find a serious relationship. Talking about the boyfriend subject you will find it easy to fall in love and you will easily forgive your boyfriends when they screw up or disappoint you, but this is not the sign of a laidback, loving girlfriend...this is the sign of someone who is afraid of being alone. As you get older you will come to understand this about yourself and you will find your strength.
Get ready for the shocker...after spending months obsessive with getting away from boring old Cornwall - you move back!! Embrace this time of your life, this will be your equivalent of a gap year. You will spend the summer working part-time and sunbathing at every opportunity, you will make new friends that you will still be in touch with 15 years later and you will become financially self sufficient. You will spend time looking after your grandparents and while sometimes it seems like a drag when you are older you will be so thankful for the time that you spent with them when they were alive.
You will fall in love 3 times, try not to fall so fast though...sometimes it is better to listen to the head rather than the heart, your partner should support you as much as you support them.
I'm so sorry Carrie, but you need to prepare yourself for this next piece of advice. Your wonderful Dad is diagnosed with Cancer. You have 3 years with him after he is diagnosed. Live for every moment with him, say yes to every opportunity to spend time with him, take as many pictures as you can and make sure someone thinks to video record your brothers wedding...there will be times in the future that you ache to hear his voice and you have nothing.
You will be shocked to be made redundant but this gives you time to nurse your Dad when he reaches the end stage. I know that the speed of it will take your breath away, don't be afraid to ask for help, don't try to be strong, make sure you cry and don't try to understand why life is so unfair sometimes...it will isolate you from your friends and family and it is them that help you through it. Try to recognise a little sooner that counselling is not admitting defeat, it is not wrong to be positive and a little selfish.
In August 2012 make sure you say yes to the BBQ at Sarah's, even though you start your new job the next day. That drunk guy who keeps forgetting your name, who tries to give you a lap dance while Barry White is on the iPod...you decide to go on a date with him (its been a while and he's hot). Turns out he's who you were looking for all these years. He is your other half, with him you feel complete. As you reach your 35th birthday you will be counting down the weeks to your Cuban holiday (the first foreign holiday with a boyfriend-shows how serious the others were!) and agreeing to start a family in the new year. Your life, I think, will amaze you and fill you with contentment - enjoy it!
This post is being linked to Wednesday Words