When I was 17, my mum told me to appreciate my final year at school. She said, with the certainty that comes from being a parent and pretending to know everything, that it would be one of "the best years" of my life. How depressing, I thought at the time. I was feeling faintly suicidal when she said it, due to the fact that Neil didn't want to go with me, because I had a whole essay to write that day, and I was concerned that a small spot on my chin would develop into acne.
But now I look back and I marvel at the fact I didn't realise how amazing my life was at the time. I used to have whole weekends with nothing to do but plan my next night out with my friends. I used to spend all my money on clothes. I used to eat McDonalds at 2am and not put on weight. And I never, EVER got a hangover.
But for some reason, I used to dream of getting a job. Settling down. I was never really into the kids idea back then but I certainly wanted marriage and a home of my own.
And now I have all those things. Exactly the things I craved. And whilst I am happy, I am burdened. I have responsibilities. People who DEPEND on me. And occasionally, I look back on my school days and feel sad that I didn't appreciate them more.
So, rather than hark back to a past I can never get back, I made the decision to simply be more appreciative of what I have now. Because in ten years time I will probably look back at the life I am living right now and wish it back. And then I'll feel sad all over again.
So to everyone reading this. Take a time out to enjoy the moment. Look back at the past fondly but not with a desperation to get in a time machine. Because life is there to be lived and enjoyed. If you don't do that, it will simply pass you by.