When I was 10 I used to say to my Grandparents “I can’t wait to be 13.” When I was 13 it was “I can’t wait to be 16.” When I was 16 it was 18 and by the time I got to 18, I was at university and starting to realise that I had let my teenage years fly by.
It’s one of those things in life where our youth just vanishes before our eyes, and the next thing we know we are 30 living in a flat with 3 cats.
Luckily I’m still 21 and have a good amount of my youth left, but there are so many things that I didn’t take advantage of in my teens that I wish I had.
SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS
Now I live in Manchester away from my friends at home and university I’m really starting to realise the importance of friendship.
I was always that person at school who would go straight home rather than hang around in town, or go to a party.
I was a very awkward child and although I loved my friends, spending time with them wasn’t something I was good at.
With my best friend living a good hour away and other’s even further, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to meet up with them. Even if it costs me an arm and a leg on the train, or I have to book the day off work.
I’ve started to realise just how important these people are to me and I don’t want to lose touch with any of them.
As you can imagine from my awkward childhood, I also wasn’t the type to be adventurous.
I was a bit of a goody-two-shoes, rarely went to parties, didn’t bother with alcohol, cigarettes or drugs and I was fine with that.
But this also led to me saying no to other things like a BBQ on the beach or a night out.
I was so used to not going out that the idea of it kinda freaked me out a bit. I was much happier staying at home.
This made me miss out on memories and adventures that my friends had and I didn’t.
GET INVOLVED WITH A SPORT
Give me a game on holiday and I will try my best hand at it. But I am far from the sporty type.
Unless it’s dancing, I have two left feet when playing with a ball. My hand, eye coordination is all over the place and I can even run up a flight of stairs, let alone a mile.
I always thought that if I had joined a sports club or team then I might be a bit slimmer, a bit fitter and a lot better at these type of games.
Despite going to a grammar school, going to college and successfully getting into university only to graduate with a first class degree – I didn’t actually study that much.
In fact I’m really surprised that I even got into university as my A Level grades didn’t match the ones I was required to get in order to be accepted.
I was always one of those people who loved school but hated studying. I could never find the right way to revise and most of the time had to wing it – I can hear my parents having a heart attack as I write this.
I tried to make time to study and revise but it wasn’t seen as the “cool” thing to do so I’d sack it off to talk to my friends.
My only piece of advice for anyone still in education is to remember why you are there. It’s not all about going out with your mates and having fun, the work counts as well.
I took this advice on at university and it worked out pretty well. I just wish I had done it whilst at school.
SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY
I’ve spoken a lot about family on here in the past, but it might come as a surprise that I didn’t really spend much time with them.
Well obviously we lived together, but I was one of those teenagers who would stay in their room until dinner, maybe watch Eastenders and then head back upstairs until the following day.
I used to spend a lot of time with my family, especially my grandparents and aunt. But once my teenage years set in it was like hanging out with old people cramped my style – not that I had any.
Now being 300 miles away from the majority of them, I miss it. Even just sitting on the sofa watching TV with them.
It has made me realise that the time we have with our loved ones – even if they annoy us – is precious.
I swear every girl in my college had been on a girl’s holiday of some sort. Yet here I am only even going on family holidays until I got to university. Even then I didn’t venture very far – Madrid for a university trip and Ibiza with Paul – the same place we’ve always been.
Now I’ve got rent to pay and bills to think about before I can even contemplate the idea of putting a deposit down on a holiday.
Your teenage years are the perfect time to travel (16+ I might add) because you don’t really have anything to pay out for, and if you’ve got a part-time job this can easily give you the spending money you need for 2 weeks somewhere or a couple long weekend adventures.
LOOKING AFTER MY HEALTH
If you didn’t have someone selling sweets out of their locker did you even go to high school?
Our locker shop owner just so happened to be in our friendship group – so you can imagine the amount of fizzy drinks and chocolate I got most days instead of buying lunch.
And as you can imagine, despite P.E lessons, this led to me putting on some weight and overall damaging my health.
I know you learn about the biology at school but someone should really educate teenagers on how important those few years are in shaping your body.
It’s this time when your hormones, mixed with junk food can make you pile on that weight and could lead to some serious implications – which aren’t always easy to change.
I know a lot better now but my sweet tooth has been activated so it makes it a lot harder.
Our teenage years are meant to be full of memories and adventure, so if you’re not 20 yet make sure that you’re taking advantage of your teens!
© Emmi Bowles