26 years ago!
TWENTY SIX YEARS AGO!
I can’t quite believe this is how long it was since I opened my A level results.
A friend and I collected them from school and took them to a derelict house and opened them there – no idea why we did that but hey, we did.
Doc Martens, a paisley shirt and skinny jeans were the uniform of the day and nerves were totally rife.
I had a relatively easy offer from Leeds Met (was the poly) to read History of Art and as I read the results and I realised I got those grades the nerves went and feelings of pride and jubilation were felt.
It was a good day.
What was most astonishing was not that I got the grades overall but that I got a C for economics, something I had totally failed in the mocks, never really understood in the lessons and still to this day wonder why I took it in the first place.
I didn’t enjoy it.
There was too much maths.
The graphs bored me.
Everyone else seemed to get it.
The constant low marks made me feel shit.
But I didn’t want to fail.
I didn’t want to have to repeat lower sixth or retake when my friends were heading off for a new adventure and getting the independence we all so desperately craved.
My economics teacher was as surprised as me, I think there was even mention of checking with the board that they hadn’t made a mistake such was the staggering difference from the U I had scored just six months before.
I think what they didn’t realise was how much I wanted to succeed.
How I wanted to prove them all wrong and prove myself right.
Just how much the girl who had come to their grammar school from the secondary modern wanted to prove she was good enough.
That she was clever enough.
She did deserve a place in their elite establishment where everyone was told they were the best of the best (how out of date was that even in 1992).
That she wasn’t going to repeat the fail at 11 again at 18.
That she was going to sit and write and write and write those supply and demand essays until I knew, at least for the exam, what I was doing.
And then I passed.
My friend and I went to the pub with the rest of our friends.
We drank Southern Comfort, planned what was coming and next and at dawn at a party I tried my first cigarette in a friend’s garden and the postman caught us – funny the things we remember and how early the post used to be delivered.
Fast forward to today, and I face another challenge next week with my son and am on the first edits of my next book.
Are either of these easy?
Are they worth it?
Can I do it?
The thing is, and this isn’t rocket science, if you want anything in this life, you have to go out and get it.
You have to work really bloody hard.
Miss out on the fun things in life from time to time.
Look at the bigger picture.
Imagine what success looks like.
How it feels.
And decide just how much you want it.
Whether it is exam results, reconnecting with an old friend, dealing with illness, making your business work, going to a meeting you are dreading or saying no, these things might all be hard, but in the long run the will be the making of you and you are more likely to regret not doing them, than giving it your all and winning because you did.