Sixteen years old, pressing snooze for the thousandth time and blocking out the hammering on my door, I dreaded the day ahead.
A day of unrelenting anguish, explaining why I hadn't done my homework, embarrassing music lessons, Organic Chemistry and fitness training. A day of avoiding my girlfriend (I'd upset her, again), wishing I hadn't let my father force me to buy those hideous school shoes and pretending I owned more than one Jack Wills t-shirt.
Life simply couldn't get any worse.
I longed for university. The two-pint limit in the School Bar would be a distant memory. Girls would fall at my feet as I breezed through in a haze of drunken promiscuity. And then the money would simply roll in. I would have a whole wardrobe full of Jack Wills. Cars, holidays, maybe even a flat in central London. Or Milan? It would all be so easy.
But don't believe that for a second, boys and girls. Learning your AS Level Organic Chemistry is tough, I admit, and yes, those shoes are pretty hideous, but that's nothing compared to what's waiting for you.
Bills, student debt, crippling rent and shaving every morning are just some of the things you will find significantly more challenging than telling Mr Hughes that you are fundamentally against the ethics of having your shirt tucked in.
You will move to London and spend half of your wages on rent, and most of the other half on getting to and from work. You will stalk the aisles of Tesco in the dead of night, knowing you should be finishing your dissertation, but desperate to buy something tasty with the last dregs of your student overdraft. You will long for the two-pint limit because, at £5 a pop, that's all you can afford.
But above all, you will long to be sixteen again.
You'll long for a lazy breakfast with your best friends, laughing at Pete as he frantically tries to finish his Spanish homework despite being pelted with baked beans. You will cherish the memory of stealing a glance at Sarah as she reads her poem, and wonder at how you managed to play football 6 days a week, and hockey on Sundays.
About how you ate whole packets of Jaffa Cakes without getting fat. How you shaved once a week, because it looked cool. How you played Football Manager for hours, yet only once did you get told off. You sang on stage, long before X Factor. You spent sunny days having water fights and canoodling with girls. You spent snowy days having snowball fights and canoodling with girls. You won adoration purely because you were 'older'.
Every single day you learnt something worthwhile. Oh how you will long for that.
So honestly, please make the most of it. Try anything. Try everything. Try something. It might just become your passion, and then maybe you'll find those other bits, University and work, feel a bit more like fun, too.
Read Pride and Prejudice - don't just watch the film. Audition for the School Play. Kiss girls, but don't be mean to them. Play football, even if it's only for the 4th XI. Play a sport you haven't played before. Try to learn an instrument, even if you're obviously rubbish at it. Do your DofE whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring. You'll probably enjoy it more in the rain.
If only I was sixteen again.
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