10. 7 things I learned from being a kid.
- It is remarkably easy to manipulate someone if they look up to you. My sister fell for any trick in the book if it meant I would allow her to remain in my presence. One game we played was called Please. It involved holding out my hand, and saying “Please” to which she would have to immediately offer up anything she was eating or playing with. Another game was called Maids. No explanation necessary. Lesson learned: Status comes with both power and responsibility.
- If someone is mean to others, they’ll probably get around to being mean to you eventually. Be careful of nasty gossips.
- Sometimes life isn’t fair. The mess might not be yours, but you’ll still have to clean it up. Your mum/boss/partner/friend may believe something about you that’s not true – and you might not be able to convince them otherwise. Sometimes, you’re just going to have to deal.
- Good things will happen to some people more than they will happen to you. Bad things happen to all of us. There were a few girls in school who seemed to have pretty great lives from where I was standing. The latest My Little Ponies, that Barbie with the arms that moved when you pressed the button sticking out of her spine.. the full set of Pound Puppies. Trips overseas. A mum and a dad living in the same house. That kind of stuff. One of my friends was on easy street until her dad was diagnosed with cancer when she was in her teens. No one is immune to bad things happening. Also, there is no point in being jealous (see point 3).
- Wear sunscreen for heaven’s sake! SPF factor 6 was considered lame in the 80s because you wouldn’t tan. I used to peel every summer as a sadistic kind of right of passage – hurrah! Summer is here! Let’s hurry up and give ourselves burns! That kind of carry on catches up with you right around 35.
- You may not remember all the holidays you went on, or what birthday parties you had, but you will always remember every pet you owned. Pets and kids can be a pain in the ass (we are in the midst of negotiations about getting blue tongue lizards..) but they’re always worth it. Love, life, responsibility, death – these are all lessons pets can teach us.
- It’s okay to be quiet. I’m thinking back to a garden where there’s a little girl with short hair and red gumboots. She’s by herself, making daisy chains and dreaming up adventures. She’s a little worried that she looks weird playing all on her own like she does. But she also loves the quiet and the space. Don’t worry, kid, I see you. You’re going to turn out just fine.