Dear 18 year old me. ‘Six cocktails do not make you more attractive’ and other gems

Ages ago… years ago, in fact, my lovely friend Jenny wrote me some life lessons – things that she would like to tell 18 year old Jenny, should time travel ever become possible. I kept them, and during our latest move discovered the scrumpled piece of paper in one of my old notebooks. I thought I’d share some of them with you, because they’re really very good:

Dear 18 year old Jenny,

It’s not love, he isn’t perfect, 10 years older than you is too damned old and eloping is a really crappy idea

Never, ever, ever, ever, let the sun set on a fight. Ever.

Save yourself an awful lot of time and heartbreak and accept these two inviolable truths: your Mother is always right and your Dad is the only boy who will ever truly love you no matter what.

It doesn’t matter how much of a sissy you are or how much waxing hurts. Never, ever shave below stairs.

Only hussies think a black bra and a white top is attractive; hussies and their gentleman friends.

Six cocktails do not make you more attractive, witty or a great dancer. Six cocktails make you very drunk indeed.

A boy who isn’t good enough to meet your family is a boy who isn’t good enough.

It’s perfectly ok and sometimes fashionable to be ‘pale and interesting’. Decent fake tan and a cure for skin cancer haven’t been discovered yet and you will regret smearing your shoulders in baby oil to sit out in the sun for the rest of your life. And every time you see a strappy top/dress.

It doesn’t matter how cool it looks, head banging will definitely hurt in the morning.

Hang on with grim determination to the only two things in life that truly matters. Your family and your friends.

So then I asked my friends on Twitter, just out of interest: what would you tell your 18 year old self? The advice came in thick and fast:

@Helencakefiend: #dear18yearoldme you CAN wear a bikini, and you are not fat!
@babaduck71: Dear 18 year old me, perms are not your friend & you really should get your eyebrows tamed
@Girlyougotstyle: #dear18yearoldme Yes you may be academic, but you love fashion and Visual Merchandising will be huge. Ignore the teachers!
@thepurplediva: ALWAYS go for the 5inch FM shoes….your feet will suffer anyway…
@ElsieAnderton: 1) nobody looks good with a perm & a straight fringe 2) don’t drop out of law 3) your skirt is too short 4) that boy’s a dick
@sarahthesheepu: #dear18yearoldme stand up for yourself, believe in yourself, make decisions taht make u happy not other people
@ItsCherrySue: #dear18yearoldme Candi Station speaks the truth! #younghearts
@1978rebecca: Stop wishing your life away, your boyfriend will propose (eventually) you’ll get married and have kids, there’s no rush!
@mummylimited: @EnglishMum stop worrying about boys & learn French #dear18yearoldself
@guineapig66: @EnglishMum you’re stronger than you know, and you will survive this and help others by doing so #dear18yearoldme
@SlatedIreland: #dear18yearoldme your bum looks tiny in everything @EnglishMum
@ImaginationTree: stop worrying what other people think about you and do a few more daring things!” #dear18yearoldme
@DomesticJules: Remember those people who gave you grief in school? You’ll get the last laugh. #dear18yearoldme
@peekaywrites: #dear18yearoldme it doesn’t matter that you don’t know what you want. What you want will find you
@Kristinson: learning another language would actually not be a complete waste of time #dear18yearoldme

So what about you? What would you tell your 18 year old self?

35 replies
  1. The Jelly Monster
    The Jelly Monster says:

    oh and Dear 18 in year old me…in about two years time you’ll get everything you’ve ever wanted oh and a few years after that you’ll meet English Mum and she’ll give you carrots and scallions!

  2. The Jelly Monster
    The Jelly Monster says:

    I love this post! But jeepers where to begin

    Dear 18 Year Old Jelly

    – Don’t attempt to dye your best friends hair blue.
    – he’s bad news and will hurt you
    – she’s not worth your tears, and those birthday cards you wait for will never come
    – ten shots of flaming Sambuca in a row is NOT a good idea

    I could go on but I’ll be here all night lol oh and based on all the other comments I’m so glad I never got a perm!

  3. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    This post is just fab. I could add to it all day. Love all the ideas. Don’t think 18 year olds would listen though – especially not to a 33 year old mum of 3!

  4. Emma
    Emma says:

    So many fabulous ideas there! I think mine would be 1) Don’t care so much about what other people think 2) work harder at college, the pub and your friends will always be there 3) your family are so important you will realise that soon. 4) purple hair isn’t such a good idea in a job interview…. God I could go on forever. I actually need to write another one for Dear 35 year old me and start taking notice of it!! Emma :) PS. Just noticed your lovely lovely websites to visit, thank you so much for including me! xx

  5. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    #dear18yearoldself Listen to the advice about 3-inch heels improving your pelvic floor muscles – one day on a trampoline two kids later, you will be glad you did. Also, should you arrive at work to your first job a few months shy of your 19th birthday, remove your mac and realise you have no skirt on, do not turn around and go home as I did – simply pull your sweater down to cover your arse and carry on as if you meant to dress that way. Derek, your sweaty boss, will probably promote you alongside pretty Karen from Recoveries, as opposed to telling you time and time again that you’re reliable, sensible and make nice tea!! The 3-inch heels could probably help here too. Not politically correct, but who gives a fig 25 years on?

  6. tess
    tess says:

    dear 18yr old me, stand up for yourself. don’t let yourself be bullied into an apology. you will meet a boy and HE’S your best friend.

  7. Elana
    Elana says:

    Dear 18 year old me:

    He might be a bit goofy, and very very into computers, but screw all the other crap and get with him now, instead of waiting til you’re 24. You have a limited time together, enjoy every single minute of it.

    Make sure he tells you where the wills are hidden, and that he buys you a 40th birthday present 6 months early. And tell him every day how much you love him, multiple times.

    And don’t let him sell your Apple stock when it drops to $11 in 1998.

      • Elana
        Elana says:

        I know, right? It was only 10 shares, but I was saying “Oh, come on, let’s hold onto them for a while” and he and our financial guy said “It’ll never be this high again”. Just checked Yahoo Finance: $376. /headdesk

        It’s okay, I never let him forget it :D If I could just find the wills now….

        Oh, one more thing I would tell myself: HOLY HELL are you skinny! Wear less clothes, your body is GORGEOUS.

  8. Ali
    Ali says:

    #dear18yearoldme study art or sculpture or something creative, do not study business studies just because you think it’s the sensible option, it’s not!
    Great post x

  9. April
    April says:

    Switch degree courses,
    Learn to drive
    The lad who tells you he’s gay isn’t but will break your heart
    Don’t let the doctor fob you off or it will take another 15 yrs to get a diagnosis of PCOS
    You will be a Mum
    You are good enough
    Believe in yourself
    Trust your instincts.

  10. mummysknee
    mummysknee says:

    love this post – I had real fun with this last night. Thank you. It made me really think…… dear18yearoldme, Men don’t listen, when you move in together, don’t get sucked into doing all of the housework, tell them what they need to do – They will not do it off own back! One way to get round it is give them a choice, would you rather do x or y – they’ll chose one and feel great about doing that. You also get out of doing things you don’t like ;-) (I still use this one today and my mummy friends all do this and think it’s fab!)

    Oh and do read men are from mars, women are from venus, it’s a great learning curve, but it works!

  11. jennymulhall
    jennymulhall says:

    @ElsieAnderton: 1) nobody looks good with a perm & a straight fringe 2) don’t drop out of law 3) your skirt is too short 4) that boy’s a dick

    ROFL!!! All true!!! :D

  12. jennymulhall
    jennymulhall says:

    Aw, the last one is still The Gospel, Missus – most especially when those friends move away. Text a gal, will ya? Mwah! X

  13. julie
    julie says:

    #dear18yearoldself deafness won’t make you any less of a person, don’t forget you’re wonderful still @EnglishMum


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