Growing your hair’s quite hard and wine never starts to taste nice…
So on the very verge of 5 years ago, back in 2014 when I was just a 17 year old baby, still young, naive total lacking in any sort of life experience, I went to see one of my all time favourite bands in concert for the first time. The 1975 performed in the Ulster Hall on the 17th of February 2014, and I was there and bought the t-shirt (literally).
I couldn’t even begin to count the number of excruciating study hall classes their first self entitled album got me through. I had downloaded it excitedly from iTunes the moment it was released, and listened to it on my little blue brick-like iPod Nano (I feel extremely old just typing this). I hadn’t even sat my A Levels yet, which seems so beyond incomprehensible at this stage in my life, having completed not only those but also an entire four year long undergraduate degree.
I equally wouldn’t even know where to start tallying up the number of student nights in my halls bedroom their second album helped me to navigate and process. There are a more than a few songs on ‘I like it when you sleep’ that will always remind me of my second year, and that I sometimes feel like maybe Matty Healy went inside my head when he was writing some of those tracks.
So it was a little emotional when, after nearly an entire half a decade, I saw my favourite band once again this week in the SSE. It was honestly one of the best shows I’ve seen in forever, they were absolutely magical and mindblowing, and Matty was wonderful.
It was a real moment of reflection and reminiscing for me as I screamed my lungs out to all my old favourites like Robbers, and all my new favourites, like Give Yourself A Try. And all in all, all that reminiscing on the half a decade since I first discovered them made me feel like, even though I’m a few years younger than Matty, you definitely do learn a couple of things when you get to my age. Which inspired me to ask myself, what would I say to my younger self?
1. Growing your hair is quite hard
Please don’t ever cut it short, young me! …Oh wait, yeah. Too late. FFS.
2. Wine never starts to taste nice
Most people don’t drink it for the taste, they drink it to get drunk. You’ll drink it sometimes to look grown up and sophisticated, but you’ll rarely, if ever, actually enjoy it. Pass the vodka lemonade pls.
3. Literally everyone is winging it
Your parents, your teachers, your bosses, your besties, even the popular pretty people who seem like they have all their shit together. Nobody does really; we’re literally all just bumbling along doing our best to pretend like we have a clue. Fake it till you make it!
4. You are way too hard on yourself
Like WAY too hard. You’re currently convinced you’re going to fail all your A Levels, at which point the Black Hole of Shame will open up and suck you in, after everyone in your life has disowned you. You’re worrying for nothing, because you will smash them.
5. You will never learn how to NOT be hard on yourself
“I’M GOING TO FAIL MY DEGREE” you’ll panic. Once again, you’ll beyond smash it. But not before you put yourself through mental hell for about 6 months. CONGRATS, wow, well done you!
6. Life is much bigger than your hometown
Like, so much bigger. Fermanagh is merely a tiny grain of rice in the huge Chinese food order that is life.
7. People will come and go
You’ll make friends, grow away from friends, and simply never see some people again when you step out of those school doors. You’ll only see some of your best friends who you’ve known forever about once a year, if you’re lucky. And you’ll meet new friends who it feels like you’ve known forever, who are scarily similar to you. You’ll meet people who are good for you…and people are bad for you.
8. Drop the people who are bad for you
In the words of Shia, Just Do It.
9. Nothing that matters now will matter in 5 years
Not work problems, not friend drama and most definitely not boy drama. Not even really your A Level results. You definitely could have gotten onto your course with slightly lower grades. So don’t stress it, because today’s drama will literally not cost you a thought any more than a few weeks from now.
10. Your favourite things will change
The 1975 will still be your favourite, though. And you’ll still have a soft spot for every single member of One Direction. Yes, even that traitor Zayn.
11. Being different isn’t a bad thing
It’s just you. Not trying to be cool or alternative here, I’m admittedly super basic. But having little quirks doesn’t make you weird; feeling like you don’t always fit in doesn’t mean you don’t. You’re literally fine the way you are, I promise.
12. Most people aren’t finding it easy
The super popular pretty people who seem to have all their shit together? Yes, even them. Finding life tough at times isn’t special, it’s literally just human.
13. You won’t look like this forever
And you’ll learn to do your makeup much better, and SHOCKER, to actually do eyeliner properly. Thank the Lord!
14. You have very few responsibilities right now
Enjoy it. Revel in it. You have literally nothing you have to do apart from show up for a five hour shift once a week, and do your homework. Bills? Rent? Feeding yourself? Working for a living? Foreign concepts to you. Make the most of that.
15. Enjoy being able to eat whatever you like
When people tell you your metabolism will slow down, you think they mean when you’re like 45. Hello there, middle tyre at 22!
16. School is, in some ways, some of the best days of your life
Giggling till you can’t breathe with your pals day in, day out and living for the common room vending machine. It’s definitely not as bad as you think it is.
17. Be yourself
Super cliché, but you have to live for yourself. You can be a people pleaser all you want, but the reality is, the only person you can ever truly please, make happy, or that you will ever be responsible for making happy, is you.
18. Literally everything will change.
And then everything will change again. All the time, for the rest of your life. This is both a good and a bad thing. Stop fearing change so much, because ironically, this is the only thing that you can never change. And genuinely, 9 times out of 10, everything will work out totally fine.
19. The 1975 will never play Antichrist live
Give up hope now please.