what I wish I'd known at 17


This year I turned 27, which for some reason felt like a huge milestone – bigger than 25 did, the year I got married. I haven’t been able to pinpoint the exact reason for the fear I felt turning 27, but in the end I reasoned it must be because I was officially late twenties, an age I’d often imagined myself at in my teens. Media told me that my teens were going to be hard, and that was okay. My twenties would be about finding myself, and my late twenties I would have “made it”. I’d know who I was, where I was going, and I’d be comfortable enough in my skin to make it happen.

Well, I think you can guess, dear reader, that it didn’t turn out quite like that. Instead, at 27, I still feel utterly lost. Not to say that I don’t enjoy my life, or feel fulfilled in many ways. But I don’t know who I am, what I’m doing, or where I’m going. On a daily basis, or as a whole.

But I do know some things that I didn’t know at 17. And I do know what I wish I’d known, and what I’m still learning now. So that’s something, right?

So here it is – what I wish I’d known at 17.

  • You will never look like “those girls”. You look like you. You will save a lot of pain if you accept that.

  • You will read so many books that will change you and help you grow. Pick them up and devour them whole.

  • Love will come in its own time. You won’t be alone forever. Enjoy being single, and wait for her to find her way to you.

  • People will leave, and it will hurt. You’re better off for it. Your true friends are the ones who become part of you and they are the ones worth caring about.

  • You need to learn to make mistakes, and to own them. The sooner you start, the better.

  • Save your money. For the love of god, save your money.

  • Study what you want to study, not what you think you should. Explore your passions while you’re young, it only gets harder as you get older.

  • You’re going to be okay.

My Year 12 formal, 2008, aged 17 (I’m third from the right).

My Year 12 formal, 2008, aged 17 (I’m third from the right).