Instantly I am propelled back to that time. Of waking up early and eager to get to the school office to get my results, anticipating that this little slip of paper could determine my future. If only I realised back then that the future would hold more worries than I would care to imagine than just this.
It also made me think. Who was I back then? Who have I become? Should I be proud? If only I could have a glimpse in the future.
So 17 years later, here is a letter from a woman, to a girl…
I write to you on the morning you are getting your GCSE results. I know you have worked hard, but I also know you could have worked harder. You know that.
The friends, who have led you astray these past few weeks I can tell you now, will not be part of your future. You have bound to be friends forever, and they will also hold a special place in your heart, and you WILL be in contact again. But for now leave them behind you. They each have different paths they wish to take. Give it a few years and you will understand this.
However you do have two friends in particular who will go on to be the best friends you could hope for in your adult life.
When you open your results this morning, please don’t be disappointed. You have done ok. Not brilliantly, but ok. And that will get you started. You will just have to work that little bit harder at college to prove to everyone that you are capable.
You are not a natural academic, you will come to realise this in time. But you do have a lot of confidence and that will count for a lot in your future. Just keep striding forwards with your head held high, and for goodness sake, wear a pair of heels. Those clumpy DM’s do not impress anyone!
I know you look in the mirror and see someone fat. You are not. The last few years you have been the slimmest you have been for a while. Just go easy on the chips and mayonnaise at college. And the beer! I know you won’t believe this now as you are not keen on exercise, but in the future you will adapt to a healthy lifestyle that makes you love exercise and the benefits it can bring.
Be kind to the boy that keeps asking to walk you home from school. I know you are seeing someone else at the moment. Someone much older. But this kind, local boy will one day make you the happiest woman alive, and will give you the greatest gift of two wonderful children. Yes! Children. I know you don’t wish to consider children in your future, but they will be there. And you will be overjoyed.
Stop smoking. Seriously. Stop. They may be cheap now, and it may be a little dark and dangerous habit to impress the peers. But when you are trying to give them up in the future when they have drained your health and your bank account you will wish you never started.
Dye your hair. Please. The bleached front and brushed out perm look really does nothing for you.
Work hard. Put in all the hours you can and save up as much money as you can. You have a wonderful life ahead of you and so many nice things to look forward to and pay for…..DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT apply for that credit card.
Be nice to Mum and Dad. You may not realise this but in the future when you have children of your own you will appreciate what they did for you and the sacrifices they made. Think twice before you slam that door.
Ring your Grandparents. You don’t have much more time left to talk to them as adults. They are good, kind, knowledgeable people. Pick up the phone, pay them a visit. They love you more than you will ever know.
Learn how to apply make up. Seriously, you still don’t have a clue in 17 years time and that “grunge” era did women our age no favours!"
So there you have it. My older “responsible” self advising the girl I used to be.
What would you say to your 16 year old self?