A time before Uber came and went in London, and wearing a low cut top and short skirt was still socially acceptable (well it wasn’t, but my friends did it too, so that’s basically the same thing). Before I’d ever had a proper relationship, and I still drank vodka and redbull (vom). And although I wouldn’t go back, as I actually quite like being 24, there are a lot of things I took for granted when I was 18.
1 Not getting hangovers
They were the days. Downing a bottle of rosé as a pre-drink and the spending the night mixing every spirit possible yet still waking up feeling fresh as a daisy. Nowadays, if I have more than two glasses of wine, I spend the next 24 hours with a mouth drier than the Sahara and a headache from hell.
2 Facebook photo albums
Every house party/night out was accompanied by a digital camera. (iPhone cameras were not the fancy things they are now. Forget portrait mode blurring the background. The whole picture was a blur.) The next morning whoever took the photos was responsible for putting them in an album on Facebook. If it was you, you’d frantically text your friends asking for witty album title names. Usually a super cool song name.
3 Less pressure to have a career/get married/own a house
When you are 18, everyone always tells you how young you are and how much you need to experience life and not worry about the future. “Go travelling, go to uni, don’t settle down too soon”. Six years on and at social events the usual questions get thrown around (particularly by people older and settled) “do you think you’ll be getting married soon? Do you both want children? When do you think you’ll get a real job?” And you’re like, “Sandra, I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner”.
5 Not putting on weight
I defo didn’t appreciate having my teenage metabolism. Now I look at a chocolate bar and put on 5lbs.
4 Cloakrooms in nightclubs
I used to go out pretty much every week to a nightclub (nowadays I’m more of a pub/bar sorta gal) but I would never bring a coat. Clubs provide cloakrooms, so during the winter (or let’s be real, British summer) you can bring a coat so you don’t catch hyperthermia in a a piece of material which just about passes as a dress. I refused to do this and I’m a girl who feels the cold. What was wrong with me?
5 Student discount
The first year I had a student discount card I used it once and saved about two quid. So I lost money on it. What I would do to use that discount in Topshop right now…
6 People asking how college/uni is going (instead of your career)
Even if it wasn’t going well you could speak about the “life experience” you were having or the new friends you were making. For anyone else who is an actor you will understand. The general rule is if we don’t immediately tell you about our latest tv role/short film/give you a flyer for a play we are in, don’t ask. We are teaching and/or working in a call centre/a shop/waiting tables. We don’t want to talk about it.
7 Not yet watching Breaking Bad
I am actually envious of anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. That first time watching it was insane. Fav series EVER.
8 Getting ID’d for everything
I used to see this as an annoyance, but I didn’t appreciate how nice it felt to be told I looked young. Entry to clubs, wine in Tesco and superglue in WHSmith. You name it, baby-faced Marcella was ID’d for it. In the last year I’ve hardly been asked for ID. It’s challenge 25. DO I LOOK OVER 25 OR SOMETHING?
9 House parties
I thought as you get older and people move out of their parents homes, there would be loads more house parties. Yeah you get the odd one, but there was nothing quite like a college/uni party usually in a crappy house or flat and they were always BYOB. Now if I was to host a party I’d feel obliged to provide at least food and mixers and maybe some beers. Oh to be young and thoughtless…
I went to drama school. Criticism was a part of the learning process. And not just from my tutors; my peers were often the harshest critics. But I didn’t realise how important this was for helping me to develop a thick skin. It was hard to swallow sometimes, but I am super thankful for it right now.
11 Experiencing things for the first time
At 18 you become an adult. That means a lot of first times. And the first time you experience anything it can be the most scary, but also the most exciting. First girls holiday, first time in a nightclub, first day at college/uni/first big job, and the list goes on.
12 Being able to buy a lottery ticket
Most people do this the second they turn 18. I never did and I still haven’t. I could be a millionaire by now if only I bought a ticket…
I used to despise Sundays when I was 18. And it wasn’t because I didn’t want Monday to come as I loved drama school. Sunday was the one day of the week where I had a lot of down time. Monday-Friday I was training and on Saturdays I had 2 jobs at one point AND would usually go out on a Saturday night as well. I’m still someone who prefers to be busy, but there is nothing quite like letting yourself mentally and physically rest. Being in bed with a cuppa before 9pm is just a little piece of heaven.
14 Student nights
Tiger Tiger was mine and my friends student night of choice. We were able to get a double vodka and mixer for £2.50!!! If I wanted to get that now on a regular night out, I’d need to take out a small bank loan.
15 Being close to your school friends
Bar one of my best friends, the other five of us turned 18 within a two week period. We had our first night out together, our first girls holiday together, and then we went our separate ways into the big wide world. My closest friends I still see regularly, but now we only all manage to meet up a once or twice a year altogether at most. I didn’t realise how precious those sleepovers and house parties were.
16 Not being as obsessed with social media
18 was a time before I had Instagram or had even heard of Snapchat. Don’t get me wrong we all loved doing at least one Facebook status a day, but the need to document every second of our lives with shiny filters wasn’t such a big thing in 2011. The only evidence of a night out was the photos taken on your friend’s digital camera.
17 Being able to get away with mistakes
When you’re 18, you could always get away with making a mistake or a bad decision by following it up with “well I’ve learnt my lesson and won’t do it again”. What’s my excuse now…
18 Just being 18 years old
I was in SUCH a rush to turn 21. I didn’t like being a teenager still and I wanted to be respected as a “proper adult”. Time has most certainly flown by as I was 18 SIX YEARS AGO. But now I’m 6 months away from turning 25 and that sounds super grown up. I’m not so sure if I’m ready for that.