Twelve years ago, aged 11, I was on the verge of the awkward stage of my teenage years. I can’t say that I look back on those times with the fondest of memories, but rather as more of a transition between the unhindered innocence of childhood and into my teens, a period I would probably rather block out.
When I posed the question of advice for your 11 year old self on Twitter, KettleMag followers had some sage advice. Including some interesting tips around shaving…
@KettleMag never buy economy packs of cheap razors and expect them to be good quality; they’re cheap for a reason.
— Silky Seal (@Peculiar_Jenny) February 11, 2016
— Naomi (@nsdlittlelegs) February 12, 2016
I usually focus on looking forward, and in another 12 years I’ll be 35. The best thing I can say to future me is that I hope you’re happy and still chasing your dreams. For now, let’s take a look backwards with 11 things I wish I could tell my 11 year old self!
1) Things won’t work out how you expect
Right now you have a few ideas about what the future might hold, but don’t hold on to them too tightly. You won’t like it, but things change, and there’s not much you can do about it. Take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Letting go of those concrete plans could leave an opening for something incredible to happen.
2) It will get better
@KettleMag I’d tell 11 year old me that sometimes things get worse before they get better! Something I’m still learning at age 24 ?
— c a r r i e (@StreetlightLove) February 10, 2016
I’ll be honest with you, there’s some pretty dark times ahead. The next four years at high school will be ones you would rather just forget about. The highs are there, but they’re going to be overshadowed by the lows. Just remember that you will get through it, and I promise things will get better!
3) Ask for help
When things get rough you’ll be tempted to lock it all inside and try to fight the battle alone. Please don’t! It’s not cowardly or weak to ask for help. That could be confiding in a friend, speaking to your family, or sometimes even a professional. Nobody knows it at the time but, in a few years, you’ll start an ongoing battle with mental health that only gets better when you talk about it.
4) You will lose friends, and that’s okay
Some friends will feel alienated by your new interests, and others will quietly fade into the distance. There’s even a few who will straight out just stand up and say they don’t like you anymore. “Friends for life” is a phrase that will get thrown around too much without any substance behind it. Moving on from your friends as you move into the next stage of your life is perfectly natural and nothing to feel guilty about.
5) Relationships won’t last
It won’t be long until you find yourself falling in love and enduring the inevitable heartache that follows. Enjoy each experience and learn from it, but don’t get too caught up in finding ‘the one’. You’ll find them, but not for a while, and it will be when you least expect it!
@KettleMag also don’t feel the need to be with somebody, the right person will come along when the time is right! ❤️
— Emmi Bowles (@emmixbowles) February 10, 2016
4) Don’t lose sight of what’s important to you
Sometimes it’s tempting to get caught up in the dreams and adventures of those around you, and that can lead to some great experiences but it shouldn’t take the place of your own ambitions. Focus on the things that matter to you, and don’t let anyone stand in your way.
5) Be brave
You’ll go on to do some incredible things, and more often than not you’ll face them alone. Don’t let nerves, or worries about other people, get the better of you. Just stand proud and go for it, you won’t regret it!
6) Be yourself
@KettleMag That it is ok to a little bit different
— Gemma Hirst (@GemmHirst) February 11, 2016
Over the next few years you’ll find the interests and styles around you evolve, and unfortunately those choices can have a big influence on your ‘popularity’. Just remember that what happens now really doesn’t mean anything in the real world. Be a step above those around you and be yourself. Anyone who has a problem with that isn’t worth it!
7) Embrace the disasters
@KettleMag I would have warned myself to never go through the frosted lilac eyeshadow phase ?
— katy gilroy✨ (@KatyGilroyBlog) February 10, 2016
@KettleMag never touch your eyebrows or try to cut your own hair!
— Emmi Bowles (@emmixbowles) February 10, 2016
You’re going to wear some questionable clothes, and give yourself plenty of bad haircuts and awful dye jobs. In 12 years you’ll still be doing it and don’t have any immediate intentions of stopping. Learn to laugh at yourself and face the world with a smile.
10) Be proud to be a feminist
This word might be alien now but you’ll soon hear it, and it won’t be meant as a compliment. Don’t let this stop you from standing up for what you believe in. Feminism isn’t a bad word and it’s never too early to start educating yourself.
11) Have fun!
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the serious stuff. People might keep asking you what you want to be when you grow up, where you’re going to university, and a whole load of questions you don’t have the answers to, but you’ve got plenty of time to figure it all out. I’m still working on it!
They say you’re only young once so go out and have fun, the future can wait…