When I was Seventeen

‘When I was seventeen’  sounds like a plaintive yet jolly Ed Sheeran song and maybe this is a bit like that.  Blasting about castles on hills ( Love that tune really. Watch the Tune if you fancy a soundtrack to this tale). Like Ed, I am feeling retrospective. Nostalgic? A tad. I turned 37 recently. 37 is not quite 40 so I am not quaking, yet it is sufficiently far enough away from 25 to make me older which is scary. The massive marker for me is the fact that 20 years ago I turned 17. 17 was a milestone for me in many ways and to think it was 20 years ago…wow.bitmoji-20170530012400

Aged 17, I was approaching my Leaving Certificate. I studied really hard until the final three weeks whereupon I was set upon by lethargy and despondency. I still did quite well. This means I started college at 17 and finished my degree by the time I was 20.dublin-2344423_640 Mentally and emotionally I was a toddler. It was like sending Rugrats’ Chuckie to college.0713f88cf0ad5a01a5d8533558467e94 I had the smarts, I loved books and reading but the real world was a major challenge. I spent most of my college daysbitmoji-20170530012707 furtively slinking about the concourse, searching for an elusive lecture hall, stomach growling in time to mixed tape tunes spitting out indie ballads on a fizzing Walkman.

Princess Di died when I was seventeen. princess-diana-180960_640.jpgI was so caught up in my delayed teenage angst bubble, having spent the summer working away from home in a live in hotel, that I hadn’t heard the news until my mother told me. It was a week later. I was so out of the real world that I hadn’t even realised! This is being seventeen. Being oblivious. Where were you when you found out Princess Diana died, they ask. Indulging in my introspective bubble, I say. Searching for myself! 

Me, me, me!

Music is pivotal for the seventeen year old. I had moved on from the younger days of Oasis, Blur, Pulp and was now fazing out to repeatedly rewound hearings of The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. I walked in stony faced, Richard Ashcroft style again and again, going God knows where. Wherever I went, it was directly. Like Ashcroft.  bbf857239398f0501183102c7dfbe12c

Natalie Imbruglia (Torn) and All Saints (The Beach) featured strongly. Seventeen meant I still loved my rock music of the early nineties but I was beginning to feel more. I wanted meaning. maxresdefaultMusic knew this. Music gave me lyrics full of yearning and chords that flipped at my heartstrings like a practised violinist. bitmoji-20170601115802No wonder I missed poor Diana’s death. I had my earphones on.

I never drank water in 1997. I swear. Bottled water was hysterical to me. Why pay for what was free?! Coke was my drink. Water was too watery was my childish reason to forego said fluid. 2300423681_412852c37cTherefore I was largely dehydrated most of my youth hence headspins and dizziness, fatigue and the shakes. I had no clue that this was due to a lack of water! That was seventeen for me. My teenage angst was fixable with H20.

Coffee tasted yuck to me. Now it is my life juice. coffee-1580595_640.jpgThe difference between 17 and 37. The difference being I am tired from responsibilities and not just growth spurts.

In 1997 I was size ten and thought I was huge. In 2017 I am several stone more than that and sometimes think I look OK. That is the difference in twenty years. You get used to yourself.

So, at 37 I am happier than I was at 17. I am content with life choices, more confident and relaxed with my self image. Like The Sunscreen Song warns us, I didn’t appreciate youth when I had it but I really don’t think I would do it differently. 17 was hard work.

I mean, I was really thirsty. bitmoji-20170601121923I got that sorted. Only took twenty years.

By the way, when I was 17, I wanted CDS (the latest thing) for my birthday and clothes. Levis. For my 30th I wanted sleep, time to read and a day at a spa. 17 year old me would laugh out loud upon hearing this and then recoil into a cynical, overthinking, daydreaming fantasy world.

Who says we don’t change?

This Mum's Life

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39 thoughts on “When I was Seventeen

  1. I was the same age leaving high school! I was helping my mom at an event site when I heard about princess Di and it was luck really because I was listening to the radio not tapes. I still have entire album in order in my head…

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  2. Music really does create a soundtrack to our lives doesn’t it?! Every now and then I will put some screeching rock music in my ears and instantly feel transported back to that grumpy 17-year-old… Not sure I’d want to actually go back there though! things are much better at (nearly) 29! #Blogstravaganza

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  3. Can’t believe it’s 20 years ago. I was working the day Diana died. It was such a weird day. Everything seemed to go slow. Everyone was in shocked! How could you not know!? Different times I suppose, no digital media when you can watch events unfold as they happen! Great post #Blogstravaganza

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    1. I really, really don’t know how I was so oblivious. I can only say that I was working in a hotel that was akin to a prison with warders. Absolutely NO media available to me. It is really a totally different era. Thank you for your kind words. #Blogstravaganza

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  4. Oh brilliant read!!! I was a total innocent at 17… it was at 18 that I really opened up…. but I’m totally different now!!!!! More confident, happy, not necessarily wiser though 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so funny how that works. When I had the opportunities, the figure, the health etc I had no confidence. Now I am brimming with it and have much less of those other advantages! ! Not sure if I am wiser either though😜

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  5. I have very similar memories to you here. We are similar ages. The music was great wasn’t it? Britpop and all that. Oh yes and Torn is still one of my fave songs. I think you would like a post I did on my music blog that features all the songs from 1997. Thanks for the nostalgia! Steve x

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  6. I remember thinking bottled water would never catch on!!! Like, who would buy free water??? And music was EVERYTHING!!! As long as I had a good song on the radio and my windows were down-I didn’t have a care in the world!!!


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  7. Music was a big part of my life at that age too – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jimmy Eat World, Travis, and a whole lot of indie! I also left school, left home, got a job and got pregnant…busy year! That was 2001, so my “where were you” moment was 9/11, which couldn’t be missed as it was the early years of rolling/online news.
    Love a good nostalgic post! #BigPinkLink

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  8. Love this! I always love looking back and thinking what i was like when i was a teenager. I sometimes struggle to even remember! I think feeling a bit more confident in myself has come over the years and just being happier in myself. Also ealsing who is important to me and not worrying about those who aren’t. Love the music references! The 90’s were the best 🙂 #bigpinklink

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  9. Aaah, what a lovely, nostalgic read! I love the way you write! The music you talked about-Natalie Imbruglia, All Saints-took me right back… I can also remember spending very angsty afternoons listening to Korn, Slipknot, and Marilyn Manson, with my angst ridden friends. We were in love with our new found freedom but terrified for our uncertain futures! I was on holiday in Looe, with my uncle and cousins, when princess Diana died-I remember it so clearly. 17 is such a great/terrifying/memorable age isn’t it? You’ve captured your beautifully!

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    1. Thank you for the nice words. I loved all the rock so much- still do! 17 was wonderful yet I am glad to not feel the fear of it anymore. Poor Princess Diana. That will always be 17 for me. I cannot believe it took me so long to find out. I was like a Martian. So out of every day life ! #bigpinklink

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  10. Ahh we are the same age! I remember Princess Diana dying, I was 17 and had spent the night at a boyfriends (my parents didn’t know!) and when my Dad picked me up from a friends house he told me the news as I got in the car. I was still half drunk and completely in shock, I wont ever forget that!

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  11. I loved my teenage years whilst I was in them. There are times when my eldest teen makes me wistful for those days again but they are increasingly few and far between. I turned 50 this year and there was a lot of nostalgia going on in my life that day. Birthdays do that to you don’t they? #coolmumclub

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