Today is the tenth birthday of someone rather special (Happy Birthday Lucy!) and it got me thinking. When I was ten, I was living a carefree existence in Hong Kong, blissfully unaware of the convent boarding school that awaited me in rainy, grey England. I was a tomboy, riding my bike fast down hills – riding Nepalese ex-polo ponies even faster. I loved school, acting and making up stuff. I had my nose permanently in a book. Very little has changed. And yet everything is different.
I thought about what was important to me back then and I applied the magic of hindsight. These are some of the things I wish I’d known when I was ten:
1. That double figures are great at first but then they go on…and on…and on…It’s a long way to the big triple. Might as well stop counting and enjoy the ride.
2. Big School is not a goal – it’s just another game along the way. Play it right and you will survive. No-one leaves unscarred but almost everyone gets through.
3. Scraped knees are fine as are all kinds of bruises and bumps. It’s the ones you can’t see that will hurt the most.
4. Ignore anyone and everyone who pours cold water on your ideas and dreams. They probably don’t have any of their own. And no access to a hot tap.
5. Being yourself is one of the hardest things to pull off. Do it with style.
6. Boys/girls (delete as necessary) are not the opposite sex. They are an alternative. An alien alternative.
7. Laugh a lot at yourself now. As you get older, your mistakes get more expensive. But you still need to laugh.
8. Everything is supposed to be good for you in moderation. Sometimes it’s so good you need to forget moderation and be excessive.
9. This Too Will Pass. Say it when you’re weeping. When the world is spinning the wrong way. Forget it when the sun shines once more – it will only spoil the moment.
10. Ignore other people’s lists. Write your own. Post it here if you like. Life is one long subjective exercise. Enjoy!