People write open letters to their younger selves and share them online. Have I done one yet? I don't think so, and the main reason is that I hate spoilers. I'm not sure my 16 year old self (or my 8 year old or my 12 year old or even my 30 year old) needs to know any of the things that will happen to her.
|Look how cute young me is - she should stay spoiler-free I think
|Camel Riding at Giza
I think I might tell 8 year old me not to panic for years about nuclear war, that the 'how to survive a nuclear winter' warnings never became needed (not yet at least) and that working out if you could get home to your parents in 4 minutes was just an unnecessary worry that spoiled times that should be fun, I think I would tell 8 year old me that the government were scaremongering idiots and to just enjoy the long hot summer holidays, because one day you have to go out to work and that's no fun.
|Innocence of youth
I wouldn't tell 13 year old me that I would not marry a young teen heart throb (no, not even one of the Bay City Rollers) but would in fact settle down to live happily for 30 years plus with a man 20 years my senior, I'm fairly sure 13 year old me would be horrified, and probably worried too. 13 year old me also wanted 6 children and I'm not sure telling her that it turns out having one perfect child is just what she needed and will love, would cheer her either.
I wondered if I should tell 19 year old me to get the tattoo! You wanted it and yet you acted so sensible, worrying it would be something you'd wish you had never had. You mentally argued for weeks before deciding to 'wait' and wait you did - until you were 40! But if I'd had my first tattoo in my teens I wouldn't have stopped, I would have lots of tattoos now and less canvas left to work with, and more importantly I wouldn't have been able to take 5 year old DD with me to see me get my 'sewn on' tattoo (as opposed to a temporary 'stick on' tattoo, a type I wore frequently before I had the permanent one. And that memory of mother and daughter, ink and blood, giggles and muffled swears is a memory I treasure.
A similar great memory is the first festival I ever went to - again with DD (and a friend and her daughter) not the drug and booze filled weekend of youth, but a hilarious time to be silly and let our hair down in a field, to discover the horror of festival toilets in the company of a 7 year old is the best fun! no, I don't think younger me needs to be prompted to go to festivals earlier than that.
|DD at a festival
|My mum and me
|DD taking her bridemaid role seriously
Is it a case of je ne regrette rien? I think I'm lucky. I am 50. I have had an interesting life, a fun one. I have a house, family, I've travelled, owned dogs, had tattoos, and a child. I hope the next 50 years are as enjoyable.
|Meeting Larry the wolf boy in the Californian Freak Show while visiting Mimi
So, Dear Young Me, enjoy yourself, you have so much excitement ahead. (oh but ask someone to buy you shares in Apple for your 15th birthday - trust me on that one)