THROWBACK to 15 years ago. A 13 year old me was already going through a rather public battle with spots and my brows had undergone a self-conducted experiment with mum's tweezers. I struggle with the fact that 15 years have passed. And I can't help but wonder; would my teenage self be impressed with what I've become? Have I done her justice?
She's still in all of us. You know when she stirs - it ignites that little memory flame inside you. The kind that makes you feel funny whenever anyone mentions Hear'Say, clear mascara or you hear the Fresh Prince theme. Because even though you can't remember Pi beyond three decimal places you can rap with Will Smith like a 90s chart sensation. However, if someone had told me that in the not so distant future, I'd be immerging into adulthood where MSN is a ghost of digital's past and the new way of complaining about bad customer service would be via a Tweet; my first reaction would be #what?!
As Emma Gannon ever so kindly brought to our attention in her fantastic book Ctrl Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online, we're all part of a digi-generation. And we didn't have a choice in the matter. But that's cool. Because kids growing up now face the daily filter battle of Hudson vs. Valencia, rather than just picking a @Hotmail address. Can you imagine the pressure that comes with how many followers you have, cyber-bullying and #shaming? I for one am thrilled I'm not a teenager in this world of double-tapping and emojis.
Growing up, I wasn't the most confident at school. And my battle with Chronic Bitch Face did me no favours. However, I managed to convince people that I didn't hate them, nor was I a serial killer planning my next target.
I made friendships for life, alongside some questionable fashion choices and a valuable lesson in creating a homemade fringe. But from social decisions and style faux pas, to the career choices of now and my LinkedIn profile - would I knock the pancake tits off my teenage self?
Everyone measures success differently. I get that. But one thing we can't define ourselves with is age deadlines. The world is constantly evolving. And as humans, we're trained to ride with it. The thirteen year olds of today have apps to disguise their acne arguments. But when I was studying, there was no digital gadget to hide behind. I mean, a pager could only do so much.
Now when determining career paths, there are young creative types that want to pursue a career in Vlogging. I give it till next year before a degree in that, or Blogging, becomes an undergraduate favourite. I'm not mocking such turning points in education. I understand it's a hard profession that requires dedication, commitment and patience. I have favourite Vloggers that I follow and I look forward to their next videos. There's a real skill to it. Only the stars aren't much older than the version of me I'm throwing back to. Proving that age can no longer determine success milestones. I mean with 28 years of me gracing the world, I am yet to give life to a child. And that's totally fine. But by the time my mum was my age, she already had done. Twice.
I bet generations older than me reading this will probably argue that when they were a teen, they didn't have laptops. The World Wide Web was yet to be claimed and dating relied on trust, home phones or even putting a pen to paper. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT? I'm a feminist. I believe such changes in the power of 'her' have a lot to do with this. She defines her own priorities. She fights for equal pay. She does what is right for her and her family. She has a choice. She is woman.
But if your inner teen were to be aware of just how much of the world would change in such a short space of time, would she judge you for your social networking addiction, online shopping habits or digital skew in your job? Probably not. She adjusted to what was going on around her when she was younger. The skirt-trouser trend, Robbie leaving TakeThat and SM:TV going off air. She accepted it, adapted and continued with life. It's the unpredictable that makes the world interesting.
When I was little, I imagined that I'd grow up being a journalist. I guess ending up being a creative writer with a background in advertising isn't a far cry from what I used to tell my Barbie collection. Which makes me one of the lucky ones. But by 2020, a staggering 750,000 new digital roles will need to be filled in the UK. How bonkers is that? Technology has the ability to create new jobs, steal old ones, make existing professions better and throw digital spanners into the works that may see you go off on a tangent. But at the moment, it doesn't have the ability to control the future. And until it does, we have to adapt with it and try not to get left behind.
Because the sad realisation is, if someone knocked on my grandma's house saying they needed access to her front room as their communication device indicated a very rare Pokémon was lurking in a wardrobe - she'd invite them in and put the kettle on, whilst they raided her cupboards for old jewels.
Life might not be what it was when you were younger, but we owe it to the pubescent versions of ourselves not to get lost in technology's dark hole. Because let's face it. That's one thing she'd be grateful of.
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