Recently, whilst searching for my favourite purple wig, I stumbled upon an archive that I hadn’t seen for a few years – my year 11 school diary. This artefact spans a year in my life for which I was sixteen years old for the first half and seventeen for the second – turbulent years for most, myself included but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t filled with wisdom – the kind of which can really only be recognised with a hell of a lot of hindsight. Thumbing through the pages of my regulation school diary – which I, against the official rules, decorated to within an inch of its life, I began to realise that the younger version of myself actually had a lot of smart stuff goin on that twenty five year old Alicia and likely many other so called adults could probably learn from…
- She readily and happily took the piss out of herself
See page one – the introduction for anyone who dared open my school diary; not only do I describe myself as ‘awesome’ and ‘hot’ (two things I don’t actually remember myself believing at the time), I also include a photo of myself stuck in a toy display at Ikea. Now I’ve never had any trouble ‘taking the piss’ out of myself – in fact it’s clearly one of my favourite past times. Let me repeat: I have no shame. This isn’t a common trait in a lot of adults though – and I’m so sick of meeting people who take themselves too seriously. Life was meant to be fun – if you’re not having fun, you’re wasting your time.
- An unwavering love for only one man
On page two you’ll find a countless of pictures of one man (oh and his band mates) covered in silver hearts and lipstick marks. Younger me had it bad for Alex Turner from The Arctic Monkeys and let’s be honest, 25 year old Alicia wouldn’t turn him down. Seeing this reminds me of how my heart ached with love (or lust?) for him, hearing his (admittedly heinous) accent through the speakers in my bedroom stereo. The lesson here? Never settle for a love that is any less than the rock star crush that your teenage self had.
- Friends were everything
As our lives get busier and supposed priorities – like careers and new love interests get in the way, sometimes we can find ourselves neglecting friendships. My teenage self would have never done this and while sometimes her time would have been better spent studying or figuring out some realistic life goals, she always had her friends to lean on. As adults, sometimes our real friendships slip away. Please make sure that there is still time for real friends – the kind that will let you cry on their shoulder and snot in their hair (if you really must).
- Fat thighs were a secondary consideration
As a teenager I was lucky to have a really good and positive body image. I know that this certainly wasn’t the case for most of my peers and as I’ve gotten older I’ve began to relate to what they were going through. While it’s not always at the forefront of my mind, I must admit that I do spend probably too much time thinking about how I look. I love a good hamburger but the thought of the fat cells on my ass is never far from my mind – sad but true. Sixteen year old me would not stand for that shit – she was pro food and while she had a terrible attitude to exercise (which I have now rectified), it wouldn’t hurt to invite her and her attitudes to dinner a little more regularly.
- She had a hell of a lot of ambitions
There were lots of things that I wanted to do in life and all of a sudden being an adult got in the way. My goals have changed as I’ve aged, I think they’ve certainly gotten a hell of a lot less ambitious, also there are less of them and actually that’s kinda sad. Young Alicia surely lacked direction and had a wild and ridiculous imagination – but what’s wrong with that? Who was gonna tell me that I couldn’t direct an Academy Award winning movie (number 6) or write a children’s book with underlying drug references (number 42) or even make my parents proud (legitimately number 39 on the list)? Looking over the list, I’ve actually achieved some of the stuff that my young self thought would be really cool – joined dance classes, attended protests, performed stand-up comedy, travelled and made vodka jelly (some dreams weren’t as big as others) – so who’s to say that I can’t make more of my dreams come true, if I can actually dream them?
- …and her dreams weren’t always smart or noble…and that was okay
And some of the stuff on my list was ridiculous – but what’s wrong with that? In a world where we’re always indulging in self-promotion, trying to make ourselves seem like ‘the best version of a human that we can be’ or some crap like that, I think we can become far too self-indulged. We’re too busy trying to make it seem like we’re making the world a better place and get so wrapped up in our own image that we actually become the kinda douche bags that make the world painful. Maybe if we could all indulge the idea that we don’t always have to be the gift that the world needs, the world might actually benefit – somehow? At least the douche bag factor would decrease.
- She made time for herself
Taking a day off school to go to a music festival was more than acceptable but many of us struggle to allow ourselves time off from our busy (paid) jobs to do things that we love. Sometimes you just need to take it off and enjoy something. Hopefully you work in an understanding environment and if you don’t then maybe you need to consider changing things up because you don’t want to be like those unfortunate girls who missed seeing My Chemical Romance at the 2007 Big Day Out… which wasn’t me because I took the day off school. Yeah.
- Her priorities were mostly right
A printed version of a MySpace quiz that I did at the time shows that it’s important to be annoyed by important things. While every other item on my list, other than my first is kinda selfish, the first item ‘ignorance’ is kinda vital. These days if someone asked what annoyed me, I’d probably say something pathetic like ‘bills’ ‘traffic’ or ‘people who don’t clean up their sweat at the gym’ – but younger Alicia’s concern with ignorance was kinda important. With mass communication at our finger tips, we all seem to spend a lot of time whinging these days, maybe we should whinge about more important issues than bad coffee though.
- She spent her money on better things than alcohol
I bloody well loved tea – and I still do. Imagine how much better my world would be if I never had the idea to mix booze into my tea (by which I mean delicious summer tea cocktails, not spiked English Breakfast during my morning break). I’d probably have more money in my bank account but that being said, I certainly wouldn’t have a lot of the ridiculous experiences that have made me who I am today!
- She didn’t overload herself
While this may not have been an accurate reflection of what I did do on that particular week, this page struck me. I know I had a lot more free time as a kid – that’s what being a kid is about but I think as adults we should probably find a bit more free time for ourselves. I have a lot of hobbies, passions and pre-occupations and while these are the things that make me who I am – they are what makes me happy and keeps me going, bloody hell I do a lot. Sometimes I probably need to be more like my lazy ass teenage self and indulge in watching every John Hughes movie ever in one sitting, just because I owe it to myself.
BONUS IMAGE – I found this piece of art in there (along with many others, if you want to see the other stuff, invite yourself over for dinner.) Just thought y’all might appreciate it…?
2 thoughts on “Why I was basically a better human when I was sixteen…”
I love this! I have opened my diary from a similar age, but I’m far too ashamed to blog about it! I love your ambitions. Your number 39 was on my list too. Love number 6 too. Basically, I love this whole post! 🙂
Thanks!!! Surely your younger self taught you never to be ashamed?! haha but yes, there are definitely some memories that are best left in the past! My year 10 diary is evidence of that!