5 Things I Swore I Would Never Do

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?


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