Twenty years ago I was in a loaded up car with my parents heading down the M4 towards Swansea and the start of my university years. I was nervous but most of all excited about what was to come. I was eighteen years old and had an uncomplicated view of the world. I was ready for whatever the next three years (and beyond) were to bring and I don’t think I can ever capture that feeling of invincibility again. Here I am at that time with big hair and I don’t think I will ever be as skinny or tanned again.
I was talking with my best friend recently about what our eighteen year old selves would think of the nearly forty year old versions. It got me thinking. First and foremost I think my eighteen year old self would be delighted that I am still best friends with my best friend from school, despite many things that changed for us through the years we are still the same silly girls who started fencing to meet boys and laughed ourselves senseless over things only we found funny. I love her to bits now as much as I did then. My eighteen year old self would also be pleased that I am still in touch to a greater or lesser extent with all but one of my core group of friends from school. She would be delighted at the success in life they have all enjoyed…a phd, two doctors, an award winning journalist, and all with happy families.
She would be delighted that I still keep this stone painted by another close school friend, capturing the three of us in our hippy phase, in our favourite clothes from the time – it is one of my most treasured possessions and reminds me of being young and to be hopeful.
I think my 18 year old self would be pleased that I worked hard at my career and that I helped people’s lives a little bit through the work I did but I think she would be disappointed that I let others dim my confidence at times. For her confidence was a given, she could conquer the world. She would be surprised I so happily gave up working in the corporate world in my thirties but I think she would be thrilled that I embraced the adventure of moving to a country I had only visited once (and after I had decided to move there) and that I learnt a very difficult language there. She would be sad at how hard I found my time in Germany but I think she would understand.
She would be amazed at what the internet can offer now. All those dreams she had of writing newsletters and magazines have become a reality for me with blogging now.
I think that at first she would be surprised that I am a mother but she would be delighted that I am the type of mother I am – trying to give my son the kind of childhood I had but with the added adventure of living in a different country. She would be very happy that I finally managed to get a proper boyfriend at University and that we are still together almost twenty years later. She would also be happy with the kind of man he is.
I think she expected more adventure and travel, certainly in her twenties, but I don’t think she would be disappointed with what is to come….
What would your eighteen year old self think of you now?