Fiche bliain ag fás… halfway to forty…there’s endless ways to phrase it. But essentially, I am twenty now. My teenage years are behind me and I now face the rest of my days as…dare I say it…an adult.
Which, needless to say, is pretty terrifying, but teenage pregnancy is out of the question at least, so it’s not all bad really.
Turning twenty being the landmark event that it is, I made a point of doing a bit of a smaoineamh siar to see if any God-given miracle had occurred along the way which might have left me with a bit of wisdom – and surprisingly enough, I did manage to scrape together just a few.
So seo chugaibh, a few life lessons, haphazardly plucked from my déagóir days.
Some things are better left unsaid.
This one, like most on the list, came from a long-lived habit of learning from my mistakes and from an unfortunate tendency not to think before speaking. Words once said can’t be taken back, and it can often take longer than expected to dig your way out of a hole that you’ve talked yourself into. So alas, ár máithreacha and múinteoirí had it right all along; If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
Don’t be afraid of the “L” word.
Tóg go bog é now a chairde. To clarify, no – I do not mean to every Tom, Dick or Harry who might cross your path of a night out on the town (or if we go way far back, at the youth club disco). I mean to the people who actually matter, like your mother, your father, your siblings, your grandparents. Because you never know what life might have around the corner and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather a few minutes of supreme awkwardness in the wake of emotion (as we Irish do so well) to waking up some day and realising that I mightn’t get the chance again. In the battle between holding on to pride and showing someone important that you care, there should be no question.
But by all means, feel free to cringe if you so wish.
Boys are stupid, but girls are psychos.
I make a bold statement here, but alas, I only speak from my own experience. Boys can be smelly, stupid and sometimes even a little bit mean at times, but we mná are a whole other kettle of fish. No matter how hard we try or how much we yearn to be cool, calm and collected – it’s just not in our DNA. Our inner psycho is always waiting for her moment to pounce.
Sin ráite however…no person or group can be painted with the same brush. People change and have many different sides and always deserve a chance.
(And sometimes even a second one.)
The most important lessons come from the toughest challenges.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a nice one to hold on to when things get little bit tricky in life. Be it pushing yourself to almost-breaking point to learn the importance of taking a rest, applying yourself to discover that when you give something your all you can do wonderful things or even making a holy-go and show of yourself, just to learn that sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Every challenge has a silver lining, even if you have to squint to see it.
And of course,
“Ní thagann ciall roimh aois”
Because at the end of the day, I’m still young and I’ll have to make many more mistakes to learn from before I could ever dream of really calling myself an adult, so I may as well make the most of it.