10 Things I Wish I Knew at 16

With another birthday approaching, I’d like to reflect on how I was as a 16 years old. In fact, I was quite different. My makeup consisted of a bit of Bourjois Kohl & Contour Black Liner in my waterline, a bit of Natural Collection Pressed Powder in my T-zone, and a Natural Collection or Collection stick concealer if I needed it (then called Collection 2000) – hey, I was doing better than my green shimmer Collection 2000 eyeshadow that I wore everyday when I was 13. I wore DKNY Delicious Night perfume, and I had no clue about most things. Okay, so not a lot has changed. However, there are a few bits that I’ve learnt since progressing past my 16th year that I wish I’d have known back then.

1. Money doesn’t grow on trees Please, Sophie, stop spending money on useless junk. As a 16 year old, I loved glee. I bought every single piece of glee merchandise I could find, and I worked out a while ago that over a three or four year period, I spent around £500 on glee. At least once a week, I think about what I could’ve spent that £500 on if it was still in my bank account. This is actually something I still need to drill into my head now but I’m getting better with age (although I blame most of my slip ups on internet shopping).

2. Friendship is a two way street You may try your hardest to stay in touch with someone, but if they aren’t trying too, you won’t be able to stay friends. This is something I’ve learnt the hard way from a number of failed friendships.

3. You can’t keep all your promises Simple promises to yourself such as ‘I’ll buy a lottery ticket now that I can legally do so’ will not come true. I’ve bought no more than one per year since I’ve been 16. But there are big promises that you can’t keep as well, because you’re only one person. Just live your life the best you can, and it is okay that you can’t keep the little promises, as long as you’re not letting anybody down.

4. Stop trying to fit in I have spent my whole life trying to fit in, but people should just love you for who you are. And they do. I’ve got a wonderful group of friends who love me for who I am, and I would’ve want it any other way. You’re your own worst enemy, and by being yourself, you’ll find your real friends.

5. Revision is important Sophie, you need to learn to revise. Leaving it until your second year of university to work out how to do it is much too late. I know that I could’ve got into a better university if I had revised properly, or even knew how to revise at all. As much as I love where I am, I know that my life could’ve been so much different with a little bit of revision. I guess learning how to work is better late than never.

6. Driving isn’t scary I hated driving until I passed my test, but I think it stemmed from me thinking about driving and how horrible it seems. I just didn’t even seem old enough to be controlling a vehicle when I hit 17. But it’s all fine, Soph, because you’ll be fine behind the wheel. You can be the ‘cool’ one being able to drive your friends about when they’re still getting ferried by their parents.

7. Get regular haircuts It may be a rare thing for a girl to hate having their hair touched and played with, but I’m one of a the few who cannot stand it. Although however much I hate it, I have learnt that it needs doing otherwise I look a mess. Those split ends just look horrible, and you need to look somewhat presentable if you want to make a good impression.

8. Accept your mother’s friendship Sure, you’ll think that she’s just invading your privacy and getting way too involved in your life, but really she’s the best friend you’ll ever have. Living away from my mum is one of the hardest things about me moving to university, because she really is my best friend. I don’t know what I would do without her now.

9. You need to take your makeup off I was so lazy as a 16 year old, but as I was approaching 17 I did manage to put together a Clarins-based morning skincare routine (thank you for treating me, mum). However, I never took off my makeup in the evenings. I did remember to take off my eye makeup on rare occasions, but I never cleansed or toned my face to take off my face makeup. I don’t know how I wasn’t more spotty but I’m counting my lucky stars for that.

10. It gets better I don’t want to delve to deep into it (because it is deep, and I’ll save it for another day), but I have not been stable with my mental health for a long time. It all started just before I turned 16, and it does get better. My life is back on track, and I haven’t been this happy in a really long time.

Do you have anything you wish you could tell your younger self? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about what you wish you’d have known.

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