5 Things I Swore I Would Never Do

Much younger Sarah drinking a bright green cocktail

Last week, I wrote about the things I thought I had to have done before I turned thirty; this week I thought I'd go to the other extreme. So here they are: the things I swore I would never do, regardless of my grand old age:

Work a "Soul Sucking Corporate Job"

I was going to work in a video shop until I became a hugely successful novelist. Because working a pointedly-1p-per-hour-more-than-minimum-wage job for an international company was somehow more noble than working nine-to-five in the offices of a national one. Only, you know what's even more soul sucking than smart clothes and filing? Not being able to afford to spend your free time doing the things you enjoy. At some point, I took the money. And taking the money led to better, more fulfilling roles which challenge me more than alphabetising videos ever did.

Care What Anybody Else Thought of Me

I failed to see the irony of making this statement whilst simultaneously agonising about why my latest crush didn't seem to like me.

Settle in Aberdeen

When I first moved to Aberdeen in 1995, it was a bit of a cultural wasteland and my intention was to graduate and leave. Which I did. Only to realise what good friends I had up here and how much I missed them. I came back and I didn't - don't - regret it. As much as it's still not the done thing to say anything positive about Aberdeen ever, twenty years on it's not the bland city it used to be and I'm happy to call it home.

Wear Jeans

Everybody wears jeans. I wasn't like everybody. I was an individual. That meant not wearing anything as boring and unimaginative as a denim wardrobe staple. I was more creative than that. Then they started making jeans in flattering cuts and my stroppy resolve began to falter.

I had similar boycotts of the colour pink ("I'm a feminist"), the colour purple (I had read somewhere that liking purple meant you were repressed) and socks (I have no idea...).

Stop Caring About Edgy New Music

Also: what's coming up at the cinema. I used to read all the music and movie magazines. I had scathing opinions about "sell outs". I went to as many gigs as I could afford and chose my jobs for the free access to films. I defined myself as someone who knew all about indie labels and arty movies and I believed that was some sort of proof of my intelligence and individuality. It really wasn't. It was proof that I was young and pretentious and had been lucky enough never to need light hearted escapism. These days, my tastes encompass everything from the obscure to the blockbuster - and I discover them all by accident.

Is there anything your younger self would be surprised to see you doing?

17 comments

  1. I love this, I'm quite tempted to 'borrow' (aka nick) your idea if that's alright? I snort-laughed at the socks bit, it's a familiar kind of rebellion - cut my nose off to spite my face sort of thing - to my refusal to wear a coat one winter. In Yorkshire. In the snow.

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  2. The soul-sucking job - totally! I think it's interesting that people in our generation feel like we need to find all of our fulfillment at work. I'm fine doing a job that doesn't mean the world to me but that pays me enough to find fulfillment elsewhere.

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  3. Definitely number 2 and number 5. Also number 3 in that when I left to go to Uni I swore I'd never live in Thurso again (been back 14 years now...) I boycotted pink too, and I went through a phase of claiming I'd never wear dresses or skirts. I was of the opinion that being a feminist meant I had to reject anything stereotypically feminine, which seems such an odd definition when I look back on it.

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  4. I realised more recently that climbing the ladder was less important to me than finding balance. That I want to be busy and happy and not challenged all the damn time. That was a surprise. Life has been pretty full of them lately.

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  5. I was going to say something along these lines. Couldn't agree more! It's all well and good to follow your "passions" (whatever that means), but sometimes you just need a halfway decent paycheck.

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  6. Oh yes. All of these and I'm still hoping that in twenty years I won't have morphed into my mother!

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  7. I really love your blog and this post just proves it ! I'm new to it but am very pleased I discovered it.

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  8. Go for it - I want to see what your list would be!

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  9. Yep, we were so all or nothing - either you were an artist of some variety or you were a corporate sell out. There is a middle ground!

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  10. Yeah, my thinking was something similar - I didn't mind dresses and skirts if they were fairly shapeless but I embraced the whole Riot Grrrrl bad make up and unbrushed hair thing because I didn't want to look like I WANTED to be attractive.

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  11. Exactly this. I want to enjoy my job and forget about it when I go home. On time.

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  12. Ha - I've had the unsettling experience of realising that my mother wouldn't be a terrible person to morph into!

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  13. Haha I went through a 'no jeans' phase when I was 15/16 - I decided I wanted to dress smartly but really I just wore the same pair of blue trousers over and over! It did take me a lot longer to come to terms with the realisation that I'll never really be 'different' though. It was easy in high school because most people naturally conform but thanks to the age of internet and blogging, no one is really that edgy and individual any more :)

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  14. Yeah, it took me ages to accept that being "myself" didn't have to mean being "different".

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  15. Hahaha I can definitely relate to the last two. I refused to wear jeans when i was a teen and now wear them almost everyday ! My approach to fashion has changed radically. It's also great to get out of that "everything I listen to and watch is unknown and really cool and artsy" phase and to open up to new things of every style ! Really funny post !

    xo, Charlie
    http://charlieleschroniques.blogspot.fr/

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  16. Thanks Charlie! I did do a "no jeans" challenge a few years ago and am considering resurrecting that - I guess I'm not fully over my denim snobbery yet...

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