When I was a teenager, which of course covers the years when we are fully cocooned in school, to the years when we are released to the ‘freedoms’ of getting a job and actually earning money, we make many wrong choices and waver between undeserved confidence to unnecessary insecurity.

I was more the latter, in truth. The undeserved confidence was reserved for my unquenchable imagination were I was the superhero of endless scenarios that had grown-ups and females my own age enthralled by my feats of daring-do. In reality it was more staying in my room and daring-don’t.

Image via Pixabay

It’s easy to look back and think of what changes I would have made and to what advice I would give my teenage self. However, prompted by a suggestion to do so by my blogging site WordPress for Bloganuary, here are nine things I would have said to my sensitive, insecure, self-absorbed but caring teenage self that may have helped a little…

1 -To go for what I want and not for what people tell me to do, but to realise it takes hard work and dedication; that way people can see that you are serious.

2 -To try that little bit harder in school. To tell my English teacher that I love English more than anything else and ask their advice about what I should do about that.

3 -To talk to my mother, a former proofreader and avid reader in general about what I want to do, and ask for her input and support.

4 – Football is great, but not make it the main thing in your life, it will always be there. When I got offered a photography apprenticeship at 16 I turned it down simply because it would require me to attend weddings on a Saturday and thus prevent me from watching football, a decision I have regretted to this day, despite all the great football memories.

5 -To stop unfavourably comparing myself to others.

6 – Stop worrying about being thin.

7 -If I’m interested in making music, I have to learn to play the guitar or piano, and not give up so easily.

8 – To handle my finances much, much better

9 – Don’t be afraid of living

That last one is hard because at 17 I lost my mother quite suddenly to cancer. This impacts on all of your life and can make you fearful at a young age of what may be around the corner.

But it shouldn’t make you tentative about making everyday decisions to the point of crippling indecision, something that haunted me for years.

However, how many of us as teenagers would take advice anyway? Especially when it’s from someone pertaining to be our older selves sent to give us advice? And aren’t we told not to talk to strangers?

Maybe a question may be what advice will be giving ourselves in ten or twenty years time, and how will the experience of mistakes we have made in the past impact on the choices we make during that time?


    1. I still do it now Darlene, but then I imagine most people do in one way or another. I think now however I am able to push it away more quickly and more effectively.




    1. Many thanks Melisa. Number 8 held me back from what I wanted to do for many years and almost got me into deep trouble. For me that is possibly the one piece of advice I would say I needed to take most heed of.

      I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Number 1 on your list is the one that resonates with me the most, Paul. And, unbelievably, it was only a few years ago I realised that it was still happening.

    I often think that things happen to us for a good reason. You may regret having turned down that photography job, but it may have been for a reason other than not being able to watch football. Sometimes, life gives us things and takes things away for good reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hugh. I think sometimes, and I know this was true in my case, when I first set off I used to have my head in the clouds thinking of the glorious end goal without realising what it takes to get there. Eventually I did and though I’m proud at how I have kept on pushing and kept on trying, I still have to remind myself constantly I need to keep it up. And really, that’s not a bad thing at all.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve accepted all the downsides of getting older, but one of the positives is that we hopefully get a little wiser with age. If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to go after what you want in life with fearlessness. It took me too many years to figure out when I should have faced new challenges as a means of growth rather than fear. We should embrace that aspect of life, and so what if we occasionally fall on our face. It makes us stronger in the long run, and we feel better about ourselves.

    Thanks for a candid and thoughtful post, Paul. I hope 2022 is an excellent year for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pete. Since writing the blog I’ve actually looked back a little more kindly on the past, particularly on the decade after my teens when I chased a dream of being a songwriter by many trips to London publishers and working with bands and achieving my dream of travelling across the US to the Grand Canyon. This at a time when my friends were doing the usual thing of getting drunk, getting married and having kids. So maybe my teen self wasn’t so bad after all. It’s all part of becoming who we are.

      Thanks for your good wishes for 2022, and I hope the same for you too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Carol. You’re right, I’ve realised this since doing the post and how much I have, and are still, following my passions from those early years, so something must have been right! That’s probably true for a lot of us.


  3. “If I’m interested in making music, I have to learn to play the guitar or piano, and not give up so easily.” This.

    Your advice/question at the very end is a very wise one. I will have to think about how I want my life to proceed (not that it will necessarily go that way) and commit to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for reading and glad it motivated you a little.

      I think you’re right when you use the word commit. Motivation came come and go, but once we make a commitment to ourselves, it’s easier to push on when we maybe don’t feel like it.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing your mother at such a young age definitely takes a toll and makes you live cautiously. But you have learned and shared to not be afraid to live. Lots to learn from here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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