I turned 20 in December 1986. So when I looked for photos I looked from about 1985 and into 1987. In that time, I got engaged .... (and got married in May 1988, then separated in August 1989, yep just a little shocker there I don't usually talk about). But for me being 20 was all about planning a wedding. I started with short hair, grew my hair for the wedding, then cut it all off again after the divorce. I was also pretty surprised at the dreadful quality of the photos back then! Or how awful I looked! And there weren't that many of me so I guess I was often behind the camera.
Obviously my photos on this post are photos of photos, so even worse quality!
Starting with my hair! Well clearly there were no GHD's in those days. I think I was hoping that as it grew it would get straighter but it never did. Which meant it spent a lot of time tied back, do you remember those big bow clips we used to wear? I also dabbled with a perm or two, thinking I suppose, rather than having wavy, not quite curls, I could embrace actual curls. No that didn't work either. It did look good for my wedding day though. But then when I look at my honeymoon photos, it was back to lots of frizz. So for many years it was just easier to keep it short!
I was with my ex-boyfriend/ex-fiance/ex-husband for five years and we did have a lot of fun in that time. He was my first serious boyfriend and it shouldn't ever really have got to a wedding, but I got carried away with buying the house, the washing machine and the white dress. I had my wedding photos out again a few months ago, it isn't a secret and my children know all about it. Looking back I loved seeing all the long lost faces in the family group - Big Nanny and Big Grandad, Babe and Uncle Sid, Uncle Dicky and Auntie Vi, my Uncle Paul, Yes I had a Little Nanny and Grandad too but sadly they had already passed away. And no Big Nanny and Grandad weren't really big, they were just bigger than Little Nanny and Grandad.
Anyway, back to growing up. There were our friends Penny and Barry, and another couple, Mike and Tanya I think from the pub we hung out at and where my ex-boyfriend worked. And we spent a lot of time in Brighton Marina on his family motor cruiser. And we were allowed to take it out! Yes a group of 19 to 24 ish year olds! I remember one weekend meeting Richard Branson and getting a tour of the Virgin Atlantic Challenger. Another time we spent the weekend on the boat, drove home on Sunday evening, only to realise we had forgotten our house/car keys and we had to turn around and go back to Brighton. Fun times though. I also did a lot of horse riding and had a pony on loan for a few years, a 12.3 bay mare called Emma.
I wasn't a drinker or a party girl. I used to pretend to enjoy a bacardi and coke but it wasn't really my thing. We did used to go nightclubbing though and it was always a challenge to get me in as I looked very young and I was tiny. But mostly we'd hang out in the local pubs, drive around in our Ford Fiesta, or watch videos we hired from the rental shop.
My sister left home at 18, just after my wedding, to live and work in America, with Au Pair in America - I remember worrying so much about her and she was really homesick to begin with. When she got home just over a year later, I had to own up that my marriage hadn't worked out. It was the start of so many travel adventures for her and she still hasn't lost the travel bug. She went on to live and work in Amsterdam, Holland and Turkey and travel around Europe and South East Asia. I stayed home and wrote to her! Very soon after my separation I met my now husband and we have been together 30 years.
I often wonder what people who knew me then would think of me now? I remember being determined that I would have a career, that I wasn't that bothered about having children and if I did I would still work. I did have children and I gave up work to bring them up and have stayed at home for 22 years! I was very anxious about life and because my phobia was such a big issue then I didn't really like travelling or even going to London. All that came much later with the confidence of maturity and help through counselling.
I lost touch with a lot of friends for quite a few years but I am so glad they are a permanent feature in my life now. Facebook may have its downsides but it has certainly meant keeping in touch is so much easier.
At 18 I was working full time in Dorothy Perkins!!! My poor dad was so worried but calmly went along with it. He knew if he objected I would be more determined. But clearly I was interested in fashion even then. I managed about a year then I left and went back to college at 19 to complete a Private Secretary Certificate with shorthand (teeline) and typing and business studies. My first 'proper' job when I was 20 was at Black & Decker at their head office in Slough. I worked for Tax & Treasury and was earning a pretty good salary and that was when I bought my first little house. No degree for me but I did work my way up and was a PA at senior level for some big multi-nationals.
I remember I was working at Dorothy Perkins in July 1985 when it was Live Aid and my ex-boyfriend met me for lunch and we sat in his car with one of the very first portable TV's you could plug into the car?! Have I remembered that correctly?! I saw about an hour of Live Aid I guess, if the TV even worked, we sat on the roof of the multi-storey car park.
I don't really do regrets although I suppose I'd have done things slightly differently knowing what I know now. Hair styles for starters! But then I think my life as it was led me to where I am now and my two amazing children so maybe not.
I am so much more confident now, I am not sure if I would want to be 20 again, with all the uncertainty and lack of belief in myself. And I certainly don't want my style back from those days - why did we dress like we were 50!? I dress and look younger now than I did then.
What were you doing at 20?
Me with my pony Emma, my engagement party, and a little early posing, loved that jumper and the cream boots!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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