The beauty of hindsight

Five years ago, when I was 21, I thought I knew everything.

I'd done what most young people do when they leave school, I had moved away from home.

I was enjoying university life and the freedom that came with it. Although that freedom tasted much like a tequila sunrise from a seedy bar on Cuba St, as far as I was concerned I was wise beyond my years.

As I look back I almost chuckle at my inspired naivety. When taking my first steps into the grown-up world I was certain everything I believed was right. It was a wonderful feeling, that self-assured confidence.

And here I am, at the age of 26, realising there are three things I wish I knew five years ago.

1. Your first love won't be your last love.

The first love, what a beautiful experience - exciting, innocent and yet so heartbreaking.

The first time you fall in love is all-consuming. We love unreservedly, without the fear of one day losing your partner. When you love with such a full heart it's not surprising the end of the relationship feels like the end of the world.

When I experienced my first break-up I thought my life had ended and there was no one as amazing as my ex. I swore off love forever.

That decision caused me a few years of pain but those few years allowed me to understand that I was not destined to become a spinster with 47 cats; well not unless I wanted to be.

In the words of Marilyn Monroe, ''sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall

2. Normal is not the best thing to aim for.

I guess it comes from having a slightly weird and a very unstable childhood, but for as long as I can remember all I wanted to do was fit in with everyone else. Like most young people I had this strange desire to be accepted by the masses, to be included and to be considered normal.

And now, well now I can't think of anything worse. I have no desire to be become a part of the flock, or to blend in with the crowd. I am different and I am proud of that.

Once you reach your mid-twenties those awkward days of wanting to fit in drift out of your life.

Age doesn't only bring crows' feet and wrinkles; it also gives you the ability to accept who you are, weirdness and all.

3. In a year's time you will wish you had started that project today.

Procrastination, the thief of time, is a good friend of mine. It's not that I am lazy, it's just that I have lots to do and sometimes, OK a lot of the time, the things that are the most fun get the most attention.
I always kick myself the following week, or month or even the following year when I realise the very important thing I was meant to do is still sitting on my desk.

I am forever cursing my past self and urging my future self to stop procrastinating, and yet here I am, in the present, always deciding to stop procrastinating tomorrow.

Beating procrastination was something I wish I had mastered when I was 21. It's something I wish I had beaten at the age of 26 and I'm certain I'll hit 40 and wish I hadn't procrastinated giving up procrastinating.

Although I wish I had known those three things five years ago, I must say I enjoyed the journey of discovery.

That's what life is about really - learning. Learning about yourself, the world we live in, and even learning that yes, sometimes your parents were right.

They say to be old and wise you must first be young and stupid, and if that is true then I guess I am going to be a very wise old person.