Dear Diary 1984
“It’s hard being a teenager. Some people tell you to grow up and others tell you to stay a child for as long as you can. Your best friend isn’t always your best friend and people you thought you could trust, well you can’t. School is hard too. Everyone’s so bitchy. They’re all so bright, and you’re so thick. People grow up so quickly around you. One day they’re laughing and joking and the next they’re all serious and mature. The public all think ‘there’s a teenager!’ like it’s a dirty word. Other people are pretty, and bright and so popular they make you sick. Sometimes you wish a guy would turn up on the horizon, but how is that possible when guys don’t even like you? I wonder if there is a happy ever after. It’s so hard being you sometimes because all the things you want to be, get mixed up and you lose track of who you are…”
Remembering how you felt at sixteen is easy as I still have the brown beaten up vinyl covered diary you wrote in every day. You’ve always felt you haven’t really lived it unless you’ve written it down, so you didn’t stop writing. You have boxes of diaries that tell the stories of the past thirty years!
You have diary entries about bearing kids (you had three not the intended six. You deviated from the names you chose when you were fifteen. Kylie and Jason just weren’t popular names in 1996). Other entries detail love affairs, betrayal and loss. There’s also joy, love, passion and longing. All the major book themes are there.
Over the years you’ve brought life into the world, and witnessed it leave this world, you’ve feared for your life, despaired of your life and even wondered if it was worth living. You’ve saved a life, one time through the strategic application of marshmellows. Long story.
It’s been colourful. No beige walled life for you.
You might not believe this now, but you will get to see some more of the world. It won’t be on the back of a truck overland from Asia to Europe because of the wars in the Middle East but you will get there. You will finally land in London on your OE – after 16 years of marriage, mortgages, marketing and making vegemite sandwiches – aged 38!
You’ll fly on a helicopter through the Grand Canyon, you’ll see Jesus’ grotto in Jerusalem, you’ll admire gilded temples in Thailand, you’ll get wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef and you’ll ski at Sundance in Utah. You’ll see Edinburgh, and Oxford and James Herriot country. You’ll live down the road from the Calleva Roman town you’ve learnt about in fifth form Latin.
There’ll be a lot of disappointments too, but you’ll learn to bear it with quiet dignity. You’ll stop asking ‘why me?’ and you’ll start counting your blessings. For starters, your Mum and Dad won’t get back together again. In the shadow of that sadness you will try hard to have a forever marriage yourself, but you’ll learn too late that 23 is too young to get married and it just isn’t possible for one spouse to love enough for two.
The good news is that you’ll regroup and find true love in the garden of the Musée Rodin, in Paris. He’ll propose at the top of a mountain in the Lakes District and you’ll have a lovely wedding in a little old North Yorks church. The Father Ted vicar will smell of medicinal claret and will gruffly tell you to stop f-ing around, as you giggle over your vows.
Forget what Dad says about never making money from writing. Your whole career will hinge on writing and the skills you learnt hunched over the typewriter. Hey, and guess what! You’ll be on the radio, you’ll write a book, publish a magazine and you’ll work for this company called Microsoft. When you do, snap up the chance to get involved in the staff share scheme.
Believe me, it will be worth it!!!
In three short years from now you’ll have finished your degree (you finished before you turned 20!) and by the time you’re 22 you’ll be working in a big six accounting firm, doing a job (PR) that you haven’t even heard of at sixteen. On your first day of work you’ll need two urgent questions answered. 1) ‘How do I turn the laptop on?’, 2) ‘What’s a Press Release?’
Try not to worry about your weight, or your height. Real love will still wake you gently in the early morning to kiss your morning-breath mouth, irrespective of whether you ate that chocolate bar or whether you smeared it directly on your thighs. Try not to worry about money. In your life you’ll be rich and you’ll be poor. Rich is better, but not necessarily happier.
A couple of quick tips though;
• Geldolf will become Sir Bob
• Blue eye shadow is rarely flattering
• Your boobs weren’t meant to get sunburnt.
• He won’t call. They never do.
• Be kind to your girl friends, and your mum. You’ll always need them, though you may not always want to know what they think. (They’ll tell you anyway. Often!)
• You will survive the hangover, and you’ll do it again. And again.
• Not many people can pull off the pink leggings look without looking like a relative of Miss Piggy!
Try not to worry too much Vix, life will happen. It will be full, and funny and frequently chaotic, you’ll learn who you are and what you’re about and there will always be a happy ever after…
© Alexandr Tkachuk
This post was written as part of Sleep Is For the Weak’s writing workshop challenge.