I was thinking this morning about being a teenager and a young adult and all the 'life experiences' I had through this time....possibly brought on by Mrs Woog's posts and blog about alcoholic beverages of choice in your teens.....sub zeros, Bombora and Wipeout all got a mention and got me all nostalgic for my 'escapades' as a 15-18 year old.
But it also got me thinking about all the other things I did when I was a little bit younger: things I was glad I had done, things that may not have been fun at the time but taught me something, gave me some understanding for a different life or a different world, or just plain taught me the things I should avoid at all costs in the future.
And THAT got me thinking about the type of advice I might give my own kids one day.....in particular, one little boy who is currently rolling around in my tummy weighing about 600grams....
So, in no particular order, these are a few things I would suggest/encourage the 'Monkey Monkey' (as he is affectionately known) to do at some point....well, maybe some of them I might not suggest or encourage but just hope he gets the experience without me having to know about it.....
* Live in a Share House. There are so many good things about this and a few bad things but you learn a lot about yourself and about living with others that you dont nessecarily learn when you live at home. And you can make some amazing friends if you choose to live with people you havent met before.
* Work in Customer Service. Retail, Hospitality, Call Centres, these can be Hell to work in, but working in them can give you an appreciation of why store clerks are so moody sometimes, and also of when you know someone is doing everything they can to help you but just.cant. AND you can then rule it out as a career choice (if of course, you want to rule it out!)
* Experience a Relationship Breakup. Relationship breakups are hell and they suck and can be really horrible, but again you learn a lot about yourself and often about the person you are breaking up with. That might mean you realise you are meant to be together, or maybe not. Usually not. And you can learn how strong you really are and also how many people care about you and are there when you can't get yourself up on your own.
* Get so drunk that you never, EVER want to drink again. For some people that might mean having 4 West Coast Coolers, dancing on a table and showing your knickers to strangers, for others that might mean drinking so much you end up in hospital with liver damage. Hopefully it doesnt come to that. Either way, its about learning your limits.
* Go on an overseas holiday WITHOUT your family. Our little monkey will have ample chance to travel overseas with us, since half his family live in the UK! But travelling with friends or a partner is a totally different experience. And travelling in general is definitely going to be encouraged in our house!
When I posed this question on facebook, travel came up a few times (including via student exchange, something I wish I had done myself!) but a few more general comments came up as well.
My gorgeous friend Candice at Measuring Out My Life With Coffee Spoons made the comment:
"I always come back to advice about making decisions that are right for you rather than what other people says is right for you. And about making your own mistakes."
I think this sums up a huge part of what I want for my little monkey. To make his own mistakes and not to regret them, to learn from them and move on. And for him to take any opportunities that he wants to take and to do so with gusto.
What experiences would you want your kids to go through, to shape the people they become? What experiences that you had as a teen and young adult do you think shaped you as a person? And is there anything you wish you'd done that you chose not to or never got the chance to do?
(Mine is going to Japan to teach English - I had the opportunity but my boyfriend at the time didn't get accepted so I didnt go without him. But even with that I can't regret it as I may not have moved to Sydney and met the Englishman later on.......)