Sunday, 24 August 2014

What Would You Tell Your 16 Year Old Self?

It's been a while since I blogged, and as I type this post I feel like a new student returning to school after the summer break.

I was in a fortunate position to take four weeks off work to enjoy the summer holiday with my kids.  My time off also included a step away from blogging.  This meant I developed a nervous twitch on what would have been blog post day, but on the whole I was able to take my own advice, and switch off, unwind and have an incredible summer.

As with any family holiday we document every tourist hotspot, sunset and sunrise, and every international #selfie on our phone, tablet or with a camera - or is this just me?

16 Year Old Shelley
It was as I uploaded the numerous photographs from my iPhone to my laptop that I spotted an old picture in a frame on my wall.

This was taken on my 16th birthday.  The same day I sat my GCSE maths exam - the same day I failed my GCSE maths exam!

My eldest son collected his own GCSE exam results last week, along with many other 16 year olds across the UK.  He did incredibly well - much better than his mother!

As I sat in my car outside the school gates, waiting for him to come out, I felt physically sick.  I was transported back to my own results day and I experienced all the same sensations I had back then; sweaty palms, butterflies and headache.

I began preparing my best scenario speeches.  The 'OMG A's I'm so proud of you,' and the 'let's draw a line and take a moment to think through our next step.'  Luckily I was able to use the OMG speech (my own parents had to opt for the latter!)

This got me thinking about what I would tell my 16 year old self, about exams, life and growing up, if I could borrow Michael J Fox's Delorean, and pop back to 1988.  This is what I came up with:-
  1. Suck it up! You really should have been revising instead of reading those 'Sweet Dream' books.
  2. They're going to make you re-sit your maths exam - that's an extra year of night school and you'll still never use Pythagoras Theorem.
  3. Boys come and go - the heartbreak ends and the sun comes up again.
  4. Enjoy being skinny, it doesn't last!
  5. Make lots of wrong decisions because you'll learn so much.  Regret nothing.
  6. College is great so enjoy yourself but watch out for student nights' (Southern Comfort is not as nice second time around!)
  7. Learn a foreign language.
  8. Stay true to who you are and never let anyone tell you what to think.
  9. Things might get really bad for a while but stay strong and life will deliver amazing opportunities.
  10. Never give up on your dreams.
  11. Cherish your family.
  12. Embrace the changes in technology as they arrive - you're going to LOVE social media!
  13. An 18-30 Ibiza holiday is okay once, but travel as far and wide as you can because the world is an amazing place.
  14. Johnny Depp will always be gorgeous.
  15. Fear is just false evidence appearing real.  Don't let it control you.
  16. Your love of pizza isn't just a teen thing.
  17. You've got the gift of the gab for a reason - use what you say to help others.
  18. Be a leader, not a sheep.
  19. Chocolate cures EVERYTHING.
  20. Dream It, Live It, Become It.
I'd love to hear what you would tell your 16 year old self, let me know in the comments below.


  1. It'll be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.
    I say that to my 50 year old self too. Often.

  2. Shelley, this is great. I have linked to it from my blog, where I have also posted in similar vein. I hope you don't mind.

    1. Thanks Julia, and thank you for the link. Share and share alike is my blogging motto lol :-)

  3. Heck yeah on #16.
    I would tell myself that the SATs don't matter for crap in the long run, so lighten up.
    I would also tell me to stop straightening my hair! (I was always terrible at it.)

    1. Haha I love that Kat, my twelve year old has started to ask me to straighten her hair - I shall refer her to you! Always proud to meet another pizza fan ;-)

  4. Hmmm... I'm not sure if my 1st comment went through. So please delete this if it's a duplicate!

    Great list, Shelley! Very thought-provoking.

    I am curious how many of these things you have told your son now that he is 16? Of course, he may not be receptive, right?

    There are so many things I would tell my 16-year-old self if I could, but one thing I would do is tell my younger self that it is OK to pursue my creative passions, and that I should definitely pursue my heart's desire in that regard. Also, write every single day!

    ~Tui aka @TuiSnider on Twitter dropping by from #WWWblogs, because I like to comment on all the blogs that I RT. :)

  5. Love this! And a big YES to #14 and #19!