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The Blunder Years


I was watching an interesting programme the other night about teenagers. What struck me was how insecure teenagers are, especially the ones who act as though they are extremely confident and “grown up”. It charted the mood swings, the tantrums, the rebelling against the parents, the peer group pressure, girls thinking they’re fat when they’re thin, the vanity, and all the other things that teenagers go through (emotional and physical hell really).

I remember being exactly the same. I’d spend hours in front of the mirror playing with my hair trying to make myself look cool. I’d try hair gel (for that wet look – why?), hair spray and lacquer. I’d fret and fuss about the terrible acne that I had, constantly trying different “cures” for the spots and greasy skin. I felt like a scrawny git (at least I got that right!) and felt unattractive to women (some things never change). I’d argue with my parents for “not understanding me” or trying to make me tidy my room, or do anything other than what I wanted to do at that precise moment.

There’s some great lines that strike a chord in a song by The Supernaturals that go something like this:

I used to be so hung up on myself.
At the time it was such a big thing.
But now it just seems like nothing.
I’ve got my failings just like everyone else.
But these days I’m philosophical.
I take a back seat and say oh well.

Firstly, go and buy their album A Tune A Day. Secondly, as a teenager I spent all my energy on things that don’t matter a damn to me now. I’m no longer interested in making my hair look good (unlike Tim from Big Brother who spent about 30 minutes trying to perfect his hairstyle the other day in front of the cameras – nauseating), which is why my hair is cut with a number 3 on top and 2 at the sides and back. I have no interest in trying to impress people to “be my friend” or “think I’m cool” – I am what I am and you can take it or leave it. I no longer look at myself in the mirror and want to be someone else, I’m happy just the way I am. I’m well disciplined, patient and don’t have tantrums any more! Great.

So why do people want to become teenagers again? They do. I’m always hearing people (especially as they get to their 30’s) wanting to go back to being 18 again. It’s amazing how many people go to Friends Reunited to try to pull their first love and rekindle some of their younger days (and incidentally, how do you take your name off that damn site?). Maybe it’s something to do with not being happy with their lives; in debt, under pressure at a job they hate, seeing their life slipping away in their hands, remembering (viewed through rose-tinted spectacles) how happy and carefree they were in their teenage years. And I can understand that.

But personally, if I was going to stop the clock, I’d stop it right now. I’m 27, no wife and kids, fitter than I’ve ever been, in excellent health (touch wood), disposable income, still doing fun, adrenaline-packed things and just plain happy. Okay, when I was 18 my emotions were raw, and that could seem like a fun way to be; falling in and out of love in the blink of an eye, being hormone driven and attracted to anything with a skirt (some things never change). But I reckon the disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages. Watching a programme about teenagers like I did, I was reminded of all the shit things about being that age.

Nope. My blunder years are behind me. They made me the guy I am today. I’ve learned the lessons I learned at the time, and there’s no way I want to learn them again. I suppose when I eventually have kids of my own and they become teenagers it’ll have come full circle and I’ll have to go through the pain and anguish all over again. Scary.

But if you still really want to be 18 again and you’re not happy in your life, do something about it! It takes courage to make a lifestyle change, and it’s far more likely to get you results than dreaming of your halcyon days. You’re not getting any younger and the more time you spend wishing your life was better, the more time you’re wasting by not actively trying to improve it. While you’ve got breath in your body you can make a difference. You may think it’s easy for me to say (and it is), but that’s because my motto is “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained”.

And because I’m writing this and I can say what I want. 😉

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. well said that man, missed the program, but I for one love being the age I am (28) I have more fun and if it wasn’t for crashing my motorbike (not my fault) I would be fitter than ever, however training around a buggered leg is hard… hbut as you say being a teenager is crap (and it certainly was crap) however being 28 now is great, you can do anything…. (oh and if you do work out how to get off the friendsreunited site can you let me know!) 😉


  2. That’s why I prefer mountain biking to motorbiking – if I were able to go faster than about 35mph on two wheels I’d be dead inside a week. I fall off enough as it is! Plus, I don’t trust other drivers (who can’t see me when I’m in my car with my lights on, never mind on a bike).


  3. they can’t see you on a bright yellow motorbike with the lights on either…. was fun while it was in one piece though.. just need the insurance money and then i can choose the next toy ! 😉


  4. With all due respect, surfing around your site hints that you are not totally over the narcisistic years yet. I am certain that you are both intelligent and talented but isn’t writing about it (stuff like “I may have an IQ high enough to get me into Mensa”) a more sophisticated way of “trying to be cool”?


  5. You could think of it that way. Or you might consider that in fact I think that sorta thing is irrelevant too (as far as I’m concerned IQ tests only demonstrate that you’re good at IQ tests, nothing more). I do agree that I sound like an arrogant tosser there though… And I couldn’t give a damn about being cool. Trying to be cool shows that you’re trying to impress people, and I for one don’t really care what people think about me. Why would I need the validation of a stranger to make me feel better? I stopped being vain many years ago. Plus, trying to be cool by having a website and being a software developer? No chance. Most people only see what they want to see and infer meaning based upon their own thinking when there may be no meaning intended. I do realise that my writing style does leave me wide open to this type of interpretation and it’s my own fault. My trouble is that I say something and someone thinks I’m alluding to something else, whereas I’m actually just saying that thing, nothing more. If I wanted to make some other point I’d make it. And I’ve never been narcissistic. I had a period of self-loathing, but now I just am what I am. Thanks for the comments though!


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