What do I wish someone had told me 5 years ago?
To answer that question I need to take a look at my circumstances, which have changed since then.
5 years ago I was still at my local school, which my brother had just outgrown and left for a bigger school. I had friends, I loved school, I can remember having some very kind teachers. Both my parents worked, as they do now, I think my mum picked me up from school most days as it wasn’t till I was 9 that I got a house key. My nickname was alien, I don’t know why.
What knowledge do I think would have been valuable, that I didn’t have then, but do I have now?
I wish I had known that it is perfectly alright to not be normal, to be a bit weird. I can remember putting a great deal of effort into ‘fitting in’ and being like everyone else. I would tell myself to not let the opinions of others hold me back, and not to limit myself to what they think of me, because you are the only one who has to live this life, and you should live it how it suits you. As long as your decisions have no negative impacts on anyone else then you should do it.
I know now that we are all different, and that it is more common than I thought back then to not feel accepted for who I was.
Although now I preach this, it would be far more difficult for the 8 year old me to practise it. The appeal I once saw for being ‘normal’ is far less relevant. I used to think being normal would make more people like me and stop the names. I thought being normal would give me a sense of belonging. Now I am nearer to be where I ‘belong’.
This is purely hypothetical though, and if I’m honest I don’t think I do wish that I had know that. Because if I had known that I would have missed part of the journey to get where I am now. I wouldn’t have learnt some of the lessons that I have, and ultimately I would be a different me.
What do I think I will wish I had known now, in 5 years time?
In 5 years time, again, lots will have changed.
I think I will wish I had stood back and appreciated the moment more. I spend a lot of my time currently longing to move out of my small town, to a more exciting city. But I should realise that I do live in a beautiful place, if I look at it with the right eyes. I also spend a lot of time wishing I had more rights and freedoms that I will gain with age. However with rights come responsibilities, and I should enjoy the relative calm I therefore have now. I will probably wish that I had spent more time with my family. My grandparents aren’t getting any younger, nor are my parents. My brother and the cousins who I have grown up with, will soon either starting work or go to university. Like me, they will go down their chosen paths. Life now can seem chaotic and busy with school, but you only have one family, and they won’t be here forever.
It is funny how our lives can sometimes seem so problematic. We can feel helpless and confused, not knowing what to do next. Sometimes a little reflection can do wonders, giving you security in reminiscing where we have been and where we will therefore possibly go.
What do you wish you had known five years ago? What do you think you will learn in the next 5?