The other day I heard a song that I absolutely love, Baz Luhrmann Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen), if you have no idea what I am talking about take a look on YouTube. Anyway I digress, listening to him and his words of advice got me thinking about what advice I would give my younger self and here is what I came up with.
Don't believe that school days are the best days of your life
When I was at school and grown ups used to tell me that my school days would be the best days of my life I was filled with horror. The thought that life wasn't going to get any better than being told what to do all the time, stupid rules that nobody was willing to explain, bitching, insecurities, your mates being off with you because you've been off sick for a few days, needing a diary to remember who your best friend is that day, how could these possibly be considered the best days of your life? Fair enough you have no responsibilities, you don't have to worry about bills and money but still the best days of your life?
I would tell my younger self that this is a load of old rubbish and that the people who say that school days are the best days of your life probably need to get out more and actually have a life. Trust me if you live your life right things get a whole lot better than school.
Honesty isn’t always the best policy
When somebody starts a sentence with the phrase ‘can I be honest?’ Or says the line ‘I was just being honest’ 9 times out of 10 this translates as “I want to be a bitch but nobody will call me that if I disguise it as honesty.” Trust me on this, when you were a kid and your mum told you that if you didn’t have anything nice to say it’s better to say nothing at all, she was right. My rule of thumb is if being honest is going to stop somebody from getting hurt do it, is going to hurt them for no other reason than you felt that it was necessary to mention that you didn’t like their outfit then don’t bother.
One day you’ll get hangovers
In my carefree student days when I could drink copious amounts of cider and roll out of bed fresh as a daisy for a 9am lecture I would never have believed it if somebody had told me I’d one day get crippling hangovers, but boy do I believe it now.
The decline into hangovers from hell kicked in at 26 and has got progressively worse. At 26 the hangover probably lasted a morning and I could probably be back out on the night, by 30 it was lasting a whole day and now if I deign to stay out past 3am on a Saturday you can guarantee I’ll be turning up to work on Monday still feeling slightly jaded.
Don’t take advice from people whose life you don’t want
What I mean by this is if there’s an area of your life that you’re having trouble in and you want advice on it choose whom you ask for it, carefully. For example nobody would/should ask me for relationship advice or how to be a domestic Goddess, but they might ask me how to make a wicked spinach and goats cheese lasagne, where to go on a date or how to maintain a hectic social calendar.
Basically what I’m trying to say if you want relationship advice ask somebody who’s relationship you admire, not somebody who’s relationship you look at and think “no way no day would I put up with that shit”. If you want advice on asking your boss for a pay rise or getting a promotion go to somebody who is successful in this area, if you want somebody to give you tips on hosting a great dinner party ask somebody who's party you've enjoyed. It's not brain surgery.
Find a passion and make time for it
Life is short and what you do for 8 hours a day and 5 days a week won’t always fulfil all your needs. I love working in PR as I love writing, coming up with ideas and dealing with people, but as much as I wouldn’t choose any other career it doesn’t fulfil all my needs and I suspect it’s the case for most people.
So, I try to get my fix of other things I love in other ways, for example, writing this blog, seeing new places, and doing voluntary work with young people (although currently looking for a new project), these are the things I love.
I have friends with everyday jobs who sing in bands on an evening, another who spends a few hours a week working voluntarily with RSPCA, a few who run marathons (crazy in my opinion), work with homeless people, the list is endless. The thing they have in common is that they’ve all found something that they are passionate about. Whatever the passion whether it be climbing mountains, sailing oceans or just taking time out to read a book with a good glass of wine, take time to do it and your life will be more fulfilling.
When it comes to friendship get rid of the spreaders of doom
Sometimes we end up in friendships, which start off great, like a great romance but platonic, and like many of the great romances things can go wrong. One person becomes to needy, bossy, whiny, spending time with them leaves you feel deflated and a bit crap. Generally they are what I refer to as zappers or spreaders of doom. If this is your friendship then I say run, run for your life.
Now I’m not saying ditch your mates when the going gets tough (we all have times where were a bit down, grumpy, teary), but for some people this is just the way they always are.
Example one, cheery friend: “Shall we go to that festival our favourite band are playing it’ll be great?” doom spreader “I’d rather not it’ll probably rain or they’ll cancel”
Example two: cheery friend “Let’s go to that party, that guy you like will be there” doom spreader “He’ll never fancy me what’s the point”
There are some times when the doom spreader is happy, usually when you’ve had a row with your boyfriend, lost your job or your cat as died and they want all the gory details. They seem to thrive off your misery like some blood sucking vampire. Trust me anybody who’s company you leave feeling deflated, tired and emotionally drained needs to go as no good can come of it.
You’ll get your heart broken and break hearts to
Unfortunately this one is pretty much a given and for most people it will happen more than once. Everybody gets his or her heartbroken; everybody has that moment where a break up is so bad that you think you’ll never recover. I once broke up with a boyfriend and couldn’t eat or sleep for about 4 months, all I could do was cry, drink alcohol and cry some more. I swore I would never get my heartbroken again, fast forward a few years and I’m crying and drinking again and so the cycle continues.
On the other side most of us will have a time where we the heartbreaker who leaves with no real reason or who says the cruel thing just because we know it’ll hurt. This is how life goes.
The good news no matter what we might be told not many people actually die of a broken heart, most of us survive heartbreak, can one day laugh about some of the tales of woe and will hopefully go on to meet somebody who makes us question what all the tears previously were about.
If my younger self decided not to take any of this advice I’d just say go and buy a copy of Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen).