41 things you wish you’d known when you were 18

Ah, those heady days, responsible for no one but yourself, spending your mornings lying in bed until Supermarket Sweep was on and then rolling into the uni bar early evening for some much earned rest and relaxation. Oh to be 18 again!

Regular readers may be looking suspicious at this point.

“Hang on a minute,” I hear you muttering, cogs turning, “didn’t you have a baby when you were 17?”

Yes, I did. My 18 year old self did still watched Supermarket Sweep, but in the company of a small yet perfectly formed toddler. At 18 I would have been finishing off my A-levels and looking forward to a year off before university, during which time I would hang out with Bee, (the aforementioned toddler), work part-time looking after the two small, hyperactive children who lived in a pub down the road from me, and take GCSE drama, just for the giggles.

One of the things I would say to myself at 18 would be ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing going swimming on your own with a baby, a three year old and a seven year old with ADHD when you CAN’T EVEN SWIM? Are you mad?!?’ It’s sheer chance that no one drowned, but a good example I think of how at 18 we feel indestructible.

To me at 18 though it was simple, I had all of these children to look after and I didn’t want to spend all day hanging out in a flat above a pub – it never occurred to me not to take them all for a day out on my own to Wookey Hole caves. (Yes, the smallest two were terrified and I did have to carry them both.)

Other than wishing I’d got myself on the property ladder, I try not have regrets about my life. I certainly don’t regret having been a mummy already at 18, far from it, and I’m a firm believer in the idea that events in our past shape us into the people we are now. I’m pretty happy with things right now, so what’s to regret?

Of course it’s nice to imagine sometimes that we could have a second go at things, with the benefit of hindsight, so I asked the good people of Twitter what they wish they’d known when they were 18.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 18?




Collaborative post



  1. 3 April, 2015 / 10:43 am

    A great variety of responses there. I’d certainly tell myself that I wasn’t fat and to get help for my mental illness sooner

  2. 3 April, 2015 / 11:27 am

    Very educational post as I didn’t know that I have been in Wookey Hole caves.

    • Jo Middleton
      3 April, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      You have! You did NOT like it. I had to carry one of you on each hip which was not very convenient.

  3. 3 April, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    Not having money shouldnt stop you traveling. I so wanted to do work with tigers & big cats, never went for it as im not from a family who could afford things.. theres all manner of grants etc to help you. Money isnt a boundary in the same way it may have been years ago.

  4. 3 April, 2015 / 1:29 pm

    As someone who is currently 18, this post has been eye opening and has given me a new surge of motivation and optimism! Thank you for this post – it has certainly helped in more ways than one! Xx

  5. 3 April, 2015 / 3:14 pm

    Thanks for including my response. :) I’d snap someones arm off if they offered me the same opportunity today!
    Seems a few of us needed more confidence in who/what we wanted to be.

  6. 3 April, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    BRILL post! There are SO SO mnay thing sI would tell my 18 year old self, dont worry too much about boys, have a bit more confidence in yourself, try and pay a tiny bit of attention at school, travel LOADS, if you and a boyfriend keep breaking up and making up then just break up don’t waste five years on a rollercoaster relationship, move to london sooner…. ah the joys of hindsight! These tweets definitely made me chuckle! Especially Vicky’s x

  7. 4 April, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    you did so fantastically Jo and I agree I think there is something about being that age that makes you feel indestructible! These tweets made me proper LOL especially Vicky’s!! x

  8. 4 April, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Great post!!! Wish I could go back and tell 18 year old me to leave the a-hole I was with!!

  9. 7 April, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Such brilliant list…it’s amazing how much we all worried about life at such a young age. I’d defo add ‘save, save, save money!’ to the list now too! x

  10. 7 April, 2015 / 6:56 pm

    Wished I could have stood still and worked out what a really wanted…. yes what “what I really, really want”!

  11. 8 April, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    BRILLIANT post – some great bits of advice here and Vicky’s is definitely my fave ;) I’d probably tell my 18-year-old self: work harder at uni. Yes, you know you won’t ever be asked what level of degree you got, but there’s something to be said for working hard and being proud of your achievements.

  12. 11 April, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    Great comments from the twittersphere – I wish I knew that a credit card wasn’t free money and that one day, it’ll come back to bite you on the arse!

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