Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Advice to my (much) younger self

Apparently Victoria Beckham has published in Vogue advice to her 18-year-old self. This set me thinking. So here's some advice to my own young self (schooldays to early twenties, growing up in the sixties):

Just because no-one from the boys' grammar school wants to dance with you at the after-school ballroom dancing lessons does not mean that you are finished as a woman. You're not even started yet, (with your 32AA chest). Have faith.

Don't go to university just because you have the grades. (You were right when you said you'd hate it.)

That vein on the back of your leg that you stress endlessly about because you think you'll get varicose veins doesn't necessarily mean it will happen (it didn't).

Do try harder at tennis. Being relegated to the bottom of the playing field with two equally un-gifted friends to throw a discus will do you no good at all. Neither will making daisy chains and talking about boys. Tennis just might.

Getting your pet mice out in Miss B's scripture lesson is neither funny nor clever. You know the poor woman can't keep discipline - that's why you did it - and it isn't  kind.

Being kind is the most important thing of all; even more important than looking good in hot pants and mini-skirts. So: always try to be kind.

Notice old people. They may be more interesting than you think, and they're certainly more interesting than you are.

Ringing up a  boy you fancy to ask if you left your umbrella in his car isn't cool. You know and I know that you don't even own an umbrella.

And talking of  boys (still): when a boy says "see you around", he means just that. He's finished with you. Get over it.

And later on:  when at the end of an evening out a man asks you back for coffee, he does not, repeat not, mean coffee. He probably doesn't even like coffee. He has other things on his mind. If you like his brand of "coffee", then go for it. Otherwise decline politely and go home.

Lastly, be kind (again). Try to be happy and make others happy. Marry the right man (I did. Twice).

What single piece of advice would you give to your younger self? And did you follow it?

14 comments:

  1. I think you nailed it with "Be Kind".

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  2. I think I'd tell myself "learn how to love yourself". Don't know if I'd go as far as "love" but I've learned how to like myself.

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    1. I'm still working on that one, Colette!

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  3. So many half-hidden stories in there, Frances! And it is wonderful that you married the right man twice.

    If I were to advice my younger self, I wouldn't know where to begin! To sum it all up at around 17, I'd say: Stop being such a bundle of insecurities. You're alright, you know.

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    1. Good advice, Meike, if not easy to follow, especially when you're young.

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  4. I think I'd tell myself to think before I speak, then maybe I wouldn't have put my foot in it so often!

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    1. Teresa, we all do that. I remember years ago peering into the pram of a spectacularly ugly newborn and totally lost for anything nice to say, commenting "what a lovely babygro!" Why couldn't I have just lied?

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  5. Love your list, Frances - funny to see how many times boys are mentioned! I'd tell myself to stop being so self-conscious - think of the other person instead.

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    1. Spot on, Rosemary (with the advice - I could have done with some of that)! As for boys...well, weren't we all the same?

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  6. The problem is that if I gave my 18yr old self advice, I probably wouldn't be here now, and would I have listened anyway?

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  7. I think the advice I'd give to my 18 year old self (in fact any age from 3 onwards) would be "Act your age and don't try to be 65.".

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    1. Hm...I'm not sure I acted my age until quite recently, and then I'm still not sure. Do you,
      Graham?

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