SPONSORED FEATURE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH VAGISILOh Hayley, how have these years passed so quickly? It seems like only yesterday that you were filling in your UCAS form and plotting out the next ten years of your life, only for it to speed by in the blink of an eye. The last decade or two have taught you a lot and you've grown a lot as a person, but the foundations were always there - even as a child you knew your own mind, strove for independence and never let anything get in your way. You've lived an amazing existence thus far, but it's only going to get simultaneously harder and better. Take it from someone who's been there and done that, there are ten little bits of advice I think you'll benefit from (both in the immediate and long term) so make sure you're sitting comfortably, because I've got some words of wisdom to share.
1. Worry less about who likes you and being the life of the party, and more about forging long-term friendships that will last the test of time. It's great to have all those amazing photos of you having a fabulous time, but if you can barely remember their names in a few years then what's the point? Try to focus on a handful of amazing people rather than knowing every single person as you walk into the club.
2. You'll get your heart broken, but it will only make you stronger. It might feel like someone has physically ripped out part of your insides at the time, but the ache will heal with time and you'll realise what it's like to love and lose. You've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince, but there is light at the end of the tunnel - and a ring awaiting your finger.
3. Don't be embarrassed about your lady bits; you need to look after them so don't be afraid of going to see the nurse for your smear test or asking questions. It's also perfectly normal to have an itch or feel discomfort, but don't leave it to get so bad you have to rather embarrassingly ask the chemist for help. Just get yourself a pack of Itch Relief Intimate Wipes and stop wiggling in the middle of the street, looking like a plonker.
4. Try not to get so inebriated just because Vodka shots are 50p a go on a Monday. Learn to pace yourself, because it's not more fun if you can't really remember it. (On a side not, stop going out on a school night because it's really not acceptable to turn up to work smelling of last night's WKDs.)
5. Just because you have money, it doesn't mean you have to spend it. Teach yourself how to budget and chop up those store cards, because otherwise you'll be paying them off for years to come. It's so much more satisfying to buy something you'd saved for than scrimping out the last bits of your overdraft just so you can have a new top for Saturday night.
6. Don't worry about being the geeky one in class, because that will pay off in the long term. You'll be the one to come out with glowing tutor references and more opportunities that you know what to do with, while those kids that thought it was cool to bum about will be coming to you for tutoring advice.
7. Learn to not burn the candle at both ends (and in the middle) while you can. Yes, I know you've always had two jobs and extra activities on the sides, but it will set you up to be the kind of person that doesn't know how to take a day off. That's a skill you wish you had in ten years time. (And also, google the following things: yoga, meditation, self care.)
8. Guys that criticise and put you down are not worth it; don't let them tell you you're not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough or rich enough to be worthy of their love and affection. You don't need anyone in your life that can't see you for the wonderful person you are, so don't make sacrifices for those that don't deserve it. Hold out for that one special person that will change and enrich your life like you could never have imagined.
9. Periods are nothing to be ashamed about, so don't worry about trying to hide that tampon up your sleeve every time you need to pee. Every woman has them, so speak openly with your friends and learn to understand your body; believe it or not, you'll be discussing the most intimate parts of yourself on the internet for thousands of women across the world to see - and it'll be amazing.
10. Try to not get so emotionally involved with everything; some friendships, experiences, jobs and relationships are simply a stopgap, so there's no need to take everything so much to heart. Every experience life throws at you teaches you something new, so embrace every situation as an opportunity to learn and better yourself - rather than thinking it's the end of the world if it doesn't all go to plan. Going rogue will be the making of you, I guarantee it.
On a side note, Vagisil recently commissioned a piece of research which found 58% of women have experienced vaginal changes but over 78% felt unprepared for them; almost a quarter also felt that had no one to talk to. Looking after your bits and pieces is more important than you’ll have ever imagined, so start young and avoid many uncomfortable situations in the years to come. Encourage your friends to do the same through open conversations, don’t be embarrassed about picking up some intimate washes or wipes and stay informed. Knowledge is power, in every sense of the word.
Lots of love, Hayley (soon to be Hall. Spoiler alert.)
What do you wish you could tell your younger self about love, life and lady bits?
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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Vagisil; all opinions are my own.
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