Your teenage years are for going wild. Drinking, partying staying out too late, getting home when the sun comes up, living for the weekend and the nights you will never remember with the people you will never forget.
The most influential years of 13-19 are about self discovery and events that will change your life. Finishing school, learning to drive, your first relationship, your first alcoholic drink and going to university are a small example of some of the stages that you go through in these years.
Now don’t get me wrong, i most definitely had my fair share of wild nights partying and getting up to mischief, but during this time i was also dealing with something much more mature than my years- a serious long term intimate relationship. Now most of you will think- so what, a relationship isn’t a big deal? But it’s only now that i am older and can reflect on the past 4 years that i have seen what i missed out on during this vital period.
During those 4 years i did have some amazing experiences that i will always treasure, such as holidays, days out etc... But i also gave up a lot of personal dreams along the way to suit my partner. When the time came for us to go our separate ways, i gradually started to get my life back on track. This was when the plan was created.
The plan helped me to deal with what i had been going through, and also to help me make the most out of life. There were 3 main parts to the plan.
1) Being on my own.
3) No serious relationships.
The first part was to learn to be on my own. As deep as this sounds i needed time to learn not to be so dependent on other people and enjoy my own company. This was not as hard as i thought it was going to be and the independence improved my confidence in talking and meeting new people. This first part of “the plan” was the most significant because i knew in myself, if I couldn’t be happy on my own- how could I expect anyone else to be happy with me.
The next stage was to gain back all the friends i felt i had lost or neglected whilst being wrapped up in the bubble of a relationship. This was the major piece of my life that i wanted to fix- and without doing so i would never have coped as well as i have done. Friends are the cornerstone of my life. When the rest of the world walked out, they walked in. During this period of time i learnt who my true friends were and who i could rely on. Without my friends, i can safely say i would have been a train wreck.
From then on my plan was to casually date- but nothing serious. After such a long term arrangement the last thing on my mind was rushing back into a full relationship. I wanted the experiences my friends had talked about whilst i was having early nights in front of the television. Dating new people helped me to change my too familiar life; i wanted excitement and spontaneity- without the long term commitment.
The plan was proving to be a success. I was enjoying life and generally feeling free and happy. But then i found the plan was not completely foolproof like i initially thought...
Remember the glass is always half full...