Ten things I wish I’d known at 16.

Note: Some of these things you will still need to hear at every age.

1. Things will get dark sometimes. However much you believe they won’t, they will someday. I wish this was the point I offered advice on how to get through it but the truth is, there often is none. Just know you will.

2. Life will find ways of showing you who your friends are. And when it does, take action. There’s nothing wrong with completely cutting someone off and leaving them in your past if it’s the right thing to do.

3. Work will always be just work. Don’t think your only use in life is your career aspirations. The world needs so much more than ladder climbers and money makers.

4. Be gentle. You’ll learn that people are going through more than they let on. Look for the clues, often hidden, and try to understand. And if you can’t understand, just be there. There’s too many harsh people in the world thinking about Number 1. You don’t need to be another.

5. Leave love until last. It’ll hurt because you’re a hopeless romantic and everyone will seem to get their happy endings before you. You’ll probably have many crushes. The trick is to sort the crushes from the potentials.

5.1. You’ll meet a few potentials in your life. But resist the temptation to run away with the first one who calls you pretty, or beautiful, because it’s the first time you’ve heard it. He’ll soon be saying it to her instead.

5.2. Sometimes you’ll think you’ve found ‘the one’. Even first glances can make you feel that way. Again… Don’t get tempted by a nice face and daydreams. This is when the waiting game ensues and time will tell you a lot.

5.3. Love isn’t overrated and deep down you know that. So wait for the real deal. Wait until it hurts to sleep alone for the 4456838th time. It’ll be worth it when you know you’ve got it right.

6. Leave cynicism for the news channels. You can know your way around the world and its problems without becoming one of them. Love will always be stronger than hate, even if it doesn’t shout quite as loud about it.

7. Find your peace and find it as often as you can. The ocean. The way the leaves fall in Autumn. Winter jumpers. Cups of tea. Films that make you cry. Comedy that makes you laugh. Roadtrips you planned, and didn’t plan.

8. New Years Day will be full of people making your resolutions seems cliche and small. But a fresh start is exactly that, whenever you decide to do it. And new year’s is as good a time as any.

9. Read books. They’re the only thing that’ll take you some place else when you need to escape the very room you’re stuck in.

9.1. Music will do this too. Find songs that say what you can’t. Share them, play them loud and be front row at the concert. But keep some for yourself too. For 1am in your bedroom, or for your first dance someday.

10. Don’t make plans. Plans have expiry dates and so do you.

Love, Suzy.

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