Welcome to the first guest in this series of, ‘Letters to My Younger Self’.
I’m so delighted to have Helen Bullock here 🙂 She’s a great Twitter buddy.
Helen is a primary school teacher. She is the editor of ‘How I Learn’, a crowd sourced study of learning styles – you can find out all about her on her blog; just click here.
You can follow her on Twitter @AnseoAMuinteoir
Over to her…
Happy 18th Birthday!! Hard to believe while you relish being 18 I’m here looking at 28 and thinking how much has changed. You’ve grown a lot from that 17/18 year old you know now. You’re so confused right now about what to do in college, facing into your leaving cert and boys. Let’s face it boys are always going to be confusing at 18 but don’t worry, at 28 you’ve got it figured out 🙂
Anyway, I’m here to remind you of a few things and encourage you with a few others.
Firstly, study more. I can tell you now you did just brilliantly in your Leaving Cert but it was down to good planning and study. Yes the supervised study is a bore but you actually study there which is more than you do at home….Just get over it. Study. And don’t forget French, you will regret it if you don’t put the effort in. Speaking of French, be ready for your mock aural exam…you’ll have an embarrassing nose bleed and no tissues, maybe you should keep some in your school bag at all times! The teacher won’t appreciate the mess you’ll make!!
There’s a time ahead when your college plans change, you’re planning on going to Mary I in Limerick to become a teacher but that doesn’t happen. Our parents can’t afford the rent and other expenses that come with you moving out but don’t worry. You do get there, you take the long road and are now a fully qualified teacher, it is not an easy road but without it you will miss out on meeting that guy you want and need to meet so don’t worry. Detours don’t hurt.
“Detours don’t hurt.”
When you do finally make it to college you need to remember to study. But if I’m honest, college is about finding who you are and what you want to be when you grow up. Yes you’ve always wanted to a teacher but it’s this time in college that allows you to explore other areas and jobs. Make friends in college, one especially will be your closest friend and you’ll need her in the future. Have fun, there comes a time when you won’t be having much fun and you have some your worst fears to face. Enjoy your first two years in college, the final year is the hard one and your memories will get you through it. Eventually.
Your taste in boys takes a while to mature, let’s be honest some of the boys you’ve dated have been eh, less than stellar; but one ahead is worth his weight in gold. There’s one however who comes pretty close to ruining your life, don’t let him. Yes everything will seem like a disaster but that friend from college will help you through it. The bruises will fade, the aches lessen, the nightmares become less frequent and the friends who matter will stand by you. The rest don’t matter at all. They’re not real true friends if they can’t or won’t stand by you now, yes you made mistakes but who doesn’t? The biggest mistake was choosing to wrong guy to be with but trust me everyone does at some stage. The main thing to remember is every experience teaches you something and this one will give you a lot of lessons and not all of them will be easy. Don’t give up, yes he hurts you, a lot. But you become stronger because of him, braver. Yes your confidence will be damaged but that guy I’ve mentioned will help.
You will eventually meet him, he’s amazing. Ok so you won’t meet in the most conventional way, or even the way you both tell your parents. But by 2008 meeting online isn’t something to be ashamed of, over the next few years it becomes almost normal and a lot of your friends meet that way. They even find it settling that they’re not alone! By the time you write this you’ll planning your wedding so any ideas or demands now is a good time to think of them!
Try not to worry so much about what people think of you, yes it’s going to be hard, you can’t help it and you are so self conscience of your clothes, that hasn’t changed much if I’m honest. There are times you still think you’re not good enough but you are. Some people just don’t matter. Ignore them. You are smart, clever and intelligent. Not everyone sees you for you and trust me they are the people you don’t need to be friends with. Make people laugh, you have a quick sense of humour, use it. Sometimes laughter is the best cure to defuse a situation and timing is everything.
“There are times you still think you’re not good enough, but you are.”
Save money. There’s a time when yes your savings go AWOL but the habit of saving is a great one and at 28 trust me you’ll be glad you did.
As I write this and I think about my life at 18 and all the things ahead of you I can’t help but smile. Things weren’t easy at times but I’ve had fun and I know you will too. Don’t be scared by the rough times ahead, everyone has challenges but they shape who you are and who you will be.
Celebrate being 18 with your friends, enjoy the night, the moment because let me tell you the people who are there celebrating with you won’t feature much in your future. There’s just one who sticks around and she’s invaluable, keep her close. I’ll be celebrating 28 with friends, I don’t know if they’ll be around when I celebrate 38 but I know that the friends you have now (and the ones I have now) are some of the most important people in our lives, cherish them.
Be good to yourself.
From your older, wiser and often less sensible self