seven quick takes #7 - birthday edition!

Friday, 27 June 2014

It's my birthday! Well, it will be when you read this. I'm writing this in advance because I will be busy on my actual birthday, presumably being showered with gifts and being waited on hand and foot.

My husband has the week off work, which has been fun. Yesterday we were walking through the high street, smiling at the kids assembled at either end doing Geography coursework. I recalled doing the exact same thing during my Geography GCSE and the feeling of mild terror and embarrassment that came over me when I had to approach a stranger and ask them about their shopping habits. We were laughing about it and I said 'ten years on and I'd still feel like an idiot if I had to do it now.'

Er, what. Ten YEARS later?! Apparently it is true. Ten years ago I was leaving school, ready for a summer of doing nothing before two years of doing practically nothing college stuff.

In celebration of the fact that older = wiser (mostly), here are 7 things I have learnt since I was sixteen.

1. Life sometimes sucks, and it will still suck whether you whine about it or not

Self explanatory really.

2. You will make mistakes all the time and you will sometimes wonder what on earth is wrong with you and why you can't pull yourself together

Same as above.

3. You will still encounter bullies as an adult, but you will mostly feel sorry for them

This is such a Mum thing to say, but it's true. I figured when I left the closed environment of school, I'd never need to deal with bullies again. Sadly, they still exist in the adult world. But you are more free to walk away from them. And with age comes the knowledge that what Mum says is true ... bullies are really just projecting their own issues onto you. To be able to look past mean words and a nasty spirit into a person with terrible self-esteem issues makes the whole thing a lot easier to deal with. 

4. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling

I learnt this abruptly and with great difficulty at the age of seventeen and it took me years to properly get my head around it. But it's true - if you hang around waiting to feel like you've forgiven someone, it might never happen and then you'll be wallowing in bitterness forever. Forgiveness is an decision and it's not always permanent. I have had to re-forgive the same person for the same thing again and again and again, but it's worth it, even if it's more for you than for them. Unforgiveness can lead to bitterness which can lead to hate which can lead to ... all sorts of horrible time wasting stuff, and eventually it will almost be worse than the thing that actually happened to make you angry in the first place.

Which reminds me of the Beth Moore study we're doing at the moment. This quote jumped out at me:

'That's the nature of bitterness. It never stays in its cage.'

As Beth would say:  amen, sister.

5. Routine and boundaries are actually a good thing

When I was sixteen I wanted to be a writer because I envisioned myself partying late into the night, every night, then laying in bed for most of the day, eating junk food and drinking coffee and cracking out a novel in a couple of hours before selling it for instant fame and fortune. 

Ha ...

Really, rules are a good thing. Routine is a good thing. Otherwise I'd always be browsing on the internet and eating crisps all day like I'm doing now.

6. Love is so much better when it mellows

Falling in love is such an all-consuming thing. I remember that feeling of not being able to eat, sleep, or even think properly because your mind is always on that person. It feels, at the time, like the best thing in the world, and you want to hold onto that crazy-summer-love feeling forever.

Suddenly it's eight years on and things have certainly calmed down a little. Despite what the movies tell you, it means a lot more to love a person when you get past the dramatic, I'll die if I don't see you today, let's overcome all the crazy obstacles keeping us apart, kissing in the rain stage.

It's when you get into the bit where you see each other in every situation, dealing with hurt and pain, making mistakes, forgiving yours, stepping up and becoming a better person ... that's when love becomes real.

Plus when you get to the stage where you've spent five years doing mundane, normal everyday stuff with a person, where you share a washing basket and a mirror in the bathroom for tooth brushing and you pretty much know each other inside out ... if you can still get that flippy feeling when you look at them sometimes, you are definitely onto a winner.

7. I can survive childbirth!

Not without a fair bit of screaming, but still. Now whenever I have something scary or painful to do (i.e, a trip to the dentist) I have the mantra of 'it's not as bad as giving birth, it's not as bad as giving birth' to cling onto.

It's pretty much destroyed my ability to watch One Born Every Minute though. And I can't watch any sitcom/film birth scene without shouting 'THAT'S SO UNREALISTIC! Where is the blood? Where is the pain?!' at the screen.

BONUS! 8. Life goes on even when you're old

When I was sixteen I quite liked the idea of being 21. Grown up, but still young enough to be able to enjoy life. 22? Getting on a bit. 25? Ancient.

I literally could not imagine what my life would look like past 25. 26 for me back then would be so terrifyingly close to 30 I may as well give up the ghost and start wearing granny knickers and stockpiling packs of boiled sweets.

It turns out I feel the same way as pretty much every other 26 year old. Still young, still pretty clueless, and a bit baffled as to where the last ten years went.

It makes me smile to think of sixteen year old me, and if I met her, what I would say. But I'm pretty sure she would have thought of me as way too old and past it to be relevant anyway. ;)

Happy Friday everyone!

Check out other 7 Quick Takes posts by lots of awesome bloggers, started by Jen Fulwiler of Conversion Diary.

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