"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

amy is 16 today...

Turning 16 is a special birthday - an age where you are on the cusp of adulthood, you are surrounded by friends and social activities and you are nearly a grown up.  I was thinking about what to write in her card last night and instead I thought I would do it as a blog post.  She loves it when I write about our family.  So today Amy this is just for you.  I have tried thinking back to when I was 16 and what advice I would have liked my aunt to give to me.  It may not mean much now but perhaps you will keep these thoughts in the back of your mind and one day when you are older you will say to yourself "Cray Cray Aunt Jen wasn't far off".

So here are some points (in no particular order), that came into my mind (which may or may not be helpful) for you on your 16th birthday today.

1.  Be kind to your little sister.  

At the moment she may sometimes be a pest and a nuisance and only sometimes your best friend but at aged 16 you may not realise that she will be your closest friend and confidant in your life and as you grow older.  She alone will understand what makes you who you are and she will always be on your side.  You will trust her completely to look after your children one day so why can't she be trusted with your laptop?  When she starts at Rustenburg next year, be kind.  Don't leave her in the foyer while you run off to join your friends, pretending you don't have an "uncool little sister with braces on her teeth".  She will remind you of your nastiness for the rest of your life.  Believe me on this one!!

2.   You are not a geek if you get good marks

Work hard and do your best at school.  It is all over so quickly and to be able to say in 20 years time that you worked hard and did your best will give you much pleasure.  In my heart I still think I could have got better marks than Jennifer Fenton, but I did not.  She worked hard and I didn't and because I did not test myself properly it is now something that I will never know.

3.   Don't keep things bottled up

Speak up - there is always someone to share a problem with or to ask for advice.  Things you think are problems today will seem very insignificant in a few months time.

4.  Saying "No" is empowering

(Don't worry not going there).  This is in all spheres of life.  If you don't want to do something, don't.  If you don't want to spend an afternoon at Cavendish with a friend, say so.  Don't say "Yes" to keep people happy at your own expense.  This is a lesson that took me a long time to learn (and I am still learning), so early training can only benefit you.

5.  Learn to be your own best friend

This I have put before number 6 because to love yourself and treat yourself well is so important.  Enjoying your own company is also something to embrace because you are going to be alone at times and it is good to be able to enjoy that time.  You don't have to be surrounded by friends and family all the time.

6.  Be thankful for and appreciate your friends

Some will stay with you forever and others will move away.  Sometimes the girl you were in the same class with right through high school only becomes your best friend when you reconnect in your mid 20's.  Keep bringing new people into your life and keep making new friends along the way.

7.   Boys

There are good boys and bad boys, jocks and nerds.  Give them all a chance but don't waste 18 months of your youth on a guy who spoils you with cards, love letters and gifts but at 17 years old, is already telling you what to do and what to wear.  So don't confuse attention for love.  They are not the same. Kiss a lot but laugh more.  Look after your heart and be gentle with other people's emotions (and hearts).

8.  Don't wish your life away

Enjoy every moment of this time in your life.  Your Dad and Mom are paying the accounts and buying your food and clothes.  You can do and be anything. It is all up to you.  You don't really want to be 18 yet - 16 is so much better.

9.   Have dreams

Big or small it does not matter.  Just have them. Make a list of 5 things you love to do and 5 things you are good at - someday they may match and there is your path and your passion.  Many of us never match or find that path - but that is also OK.

10.  Never be without books and music

Make reading a habit.  At times you will read more than at others but always have a book next to your bed.  Read your English set work books (not only the Study Guide or just watch the movie) - You will be surprised at how good they really are. Enjoy music, believe the songs you listen to, learn the words, when you feel sad listen to sad songs and cry in the dark.  Years later songs will take you right back to where you were when you were young.

11.  Never shave your eyebrows

It may be quick but it does not work.  It is worth the money to pay someone to wax them for you.

So this is basically some general advice. If I turned the tables and asked myself to write some advice to my own 16 year old self, I probably would choose to be silent.  Life is really about finding out things for yourself.  There are things that I could have done differently but any changes along the way could have taken me on a different path.  The path I have taken has not always been easy but it is "my path" and it has given me so much. I am happy and grateful for all I have.

So keep doing what you are doing Amy.  You certainly are on the right path.

Happy Birthday
I love you lots
Cray-Cray Jen

PS.  Cray Cray - Amy's favourite new word

From the Urban Dictionary:-
Cray Cray

A term used to desribe one as "crazy" Often used in a positive manner.
"Giiiirl YOU cray cray..."

PS PS.  Your present requires an afternoon together, sometime soon.


  1. Let's go there. Say NO every time until you're 30. That's sure what I would have wanted to hear. The slut that I am.*cries*

  2. Happy Birthday Amy,
    Wise words from a wonderful Aunt, who through her blog has helped to keep us connected all over the world. I know you better through her blog than through spending time with you.
    Let me add a few ideas if I may:
    1) " The Sh*t you accept is the sh*t you get" (Be discerning and demanding !) This is true in all walks of life. People soon get the message and stop trying silly things.
    2)"If you don't know where you are going, any road you take will get you there" Sure, have great dreams, but be sure to make plans to reach these dreams, and measure your progress.
    Best wishes from America ! Colin and Jenny Rosslee