Turning 30 wasn't a big deal but it did make me look back over my life and analyse things I've done, choices I've made. The other morning I was doing my deepest thinking in the shower, as we all do, pondering the meaning of life and all that, when I thought - if I could have told future me, younger me, what I've learnt in the past 30 years what would I say?!
I set a bit of a challenge to list 30 things in my 30 years I've learnt about myself and about life in general, as it's a bit wordy, here's part one.
1. Boys are not the most important thing in life and never will be. I've spend most of the last 15 years in relationships. (3 of which have been long term). I've never had a one night stand and I can list every guy I've dated. But growing up I always thought finding 'the one' was the be-all in life, a bit like Mark from Peep Show with slightly less social awkwardness. It took a long time for me to realise I like my own company more than some guy I 'kinda' like. I realised that I didn't have to be such a walk-over when it comes to them and that it's not a good look, it looks desperate and needy. I've been used and I've used guys in return, I've had my heart broken & broken hearts, I've cheated & been cheated on (karma!). Over the past 30 years I wasted around 13 of them wondering if that one guy who kept coming back into my life would one day stay for good but then I met Jamie (as cliche as that is) and I 'woke up' and realise he wasn't what I wanted anyway, the 18 year old I had wanted when I was 15 had long gone. For the first time in 10 years I said no, I didn't jump when he asked, I'd moved on.
2. Never be afraid to swallow your pride and admit you made a mistake. This would have honestly saved me 2 years of my life living with someone I didn't even like after the initial 'honey-moon' period. Someone who made me unhappy, who was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive, all the things I swore growing up I'd never put up with. I wish I had just said to my mum, 'I'm sorry, I was wrong, I made a mistake. Help me put it right?!' So big or small, sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong.
3. Always handle your own finances. When I was 16 I lived with a 21yo (above), having never lived away from home I left him to set up the bills etc, I was responsible for paying them as the only one working. What I didn't know was, he wasn't paying them all. This resulted in a terrible credit rating & a CCJ which I then had to work hard for years building up to 'good' again. The CCJ impacted on everything and made obtaining a mortgage before this was cleared off my credit report almost impossible. Thankfully now it's not a worry and as much as I trust Jamie with my life I always know what's paid, when etc.
4. Never change to be the person someone else wants you to be. Before I met Jamie, I made a promise to myself, in my next relationship I wouldn't be 'pretending', I would be me, 100% me. After my previous relationship ended my brother was treated to the spiel 'your sister changed, she's not the person I met' - And yes, I had changed, but really I'd gone back to being the real, proper me. I'd started watching football again, I'd been out with mates watching the Six Nations, I'd been meeting mates for mid-week beers, started hanging out with old friends, actually having a life again. If we were both honest, this relationship should have ended about 2 years before it did and I'm not even sure why it didn't. Comfort? Scared to move on? Maybe he'll/she'll take the jump before I do? I don't know the answer.
Maybe changed is the wrong term, I stopped doing a lot of things I was doing before, I stopped seeing friends as much, I went out literally 3 times a year (my birthday, Halloween, Fee's birthday) and that was it because out of guilt I didn't want to leave them on their own. I stopped watching sports I enjoyed because it didn't interest them. I stopped seeing certain people because they didn't like it. Things you shouldn't have to do in a relationship.
When I met Jamie I was very open about things from the start, this is who I am. I like watching football, I like beer, I'm not a girly-girl, I won't tolerate sh!te from you. And it worked. We have shared interests which is great, not a lot beats a night in with beer, football and pizza, but also we have our own mates, hobbies and interests. Along the way some of these have intertwined, I'll happily go watch a rugby match (have you ever seen Tim Visser in shorts? ;)) and Jamie, with the help of a few beers, would come jump about to All Time Low with me.
5. Do have some kind of career plan, but also do something that makes you happy. When I left school in Feb 2001 I went straight into a job in a government office and stayed there for 5 years. I hated by the end, actually hated it. So I left and worked in a bar for a year. Growing up I'd wanted to 'be a barmaid like my mum'. My mums job always looked so much fun, I used to get to go and sit on a stool at the bar, drink lime & lemonade and eat onion rings, this was the life (of a 6 year old). I LOVED my job in Marcos, I LOVED the staff, I LOVED the customers, I LOVED pulling pints, having banter on reception, seeing the same faces coming into the gym day in, day out. But the pay wasn't the best. In an average week I would end up with one day off, a Monday morning so I could go to Cav on the Sunday night. Regularly I would get a call on a Saturday/Sunday morning asking me to cover Little Marcos, even though I'd gotten in about 3am from working the night before, I LOVED it but it got too much and I started looking for a normal office job again.
I got a job working on reception for a small company in Leith, after a while I was helping out the Project Managers with small jobs, then I became an Assistant Project Manager, and now I'm a fully fledged PM and hopefully I'll soon be a fully qualified PM with my PRINCE2 qualification under my belt. If I could go back I would have told younger me to stay at school, to go to University (for the experience as much as the degree) and get a game plan, although my MIL is currently studying Gaelic and Scottish studies now that she's retired so I guess it's never too late.
I think the next 25 of these won't be as in-depth or as deep going as these 5 will be 'don't over-pluck your eyebrows' isn't really in the same category some how....
If you could go back to younger you what would you tell yourself? Even if it wouldn't or couldn't be changed.