I saw a picture of my sixteen-year-old self last week that I’d never seen before. I was quite taken aback; I hardly recognised myself half a lifetime ago. It seems so recent, yet so much has happened since then.
Hearing songs on the radio now that are considered ‘oldies’ is a scary thought. Brit Pop was alive and well back then, and that’s the closest I’ve ever been to trendy. My nieces and nephews would not even be able to imagine sitting beside a radio on a Sunday afternoon listening to the Top 40 and pressing ‘record’ to capture Blur and Oasis on tape. I don’t know if they’ve ever seen a tape! I loved Take That, even then, so it doesn’t seem that long ago. Point out that this was some years before the Spice Girls released Wannabe, and now I feel really old!
I looked at the photograph and spent the evening moping, hankering after the flat stomach and the pre-baby breasts, the sun-kissed shoulders and the smirk on my face that hinted at the confidence I had and the lack of a care in the world. Oh, to be back there! I didn’t have a driving licence back then – that took rather longer than expected – but I felt free.
My daughter cried out from her cot and brought me back to 2011. I did the dummy-run and looking at her little face tucked up in bed and realised I’ve never had it so good.
So, I have more laughter lines than jokes I can recall, and my baby-belly makes a world-class muffin-top, but I have life-experience and a great family and friends, and for that I am truly grateful. I am about to embark on a career change, and that is shaping up to be a very liberating experience; take away the financial commitments the responsibilities of motherhood, and I feel as free as I ever did at sixteen.