I’m glad I was a teenager before days of Facebook

Verity (far right) at the boot camp
Verity (far right) at the boot camp
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Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, but I wonder how many adults actually celebrate it?

My husband and I buy each other a card but nothing else – it’s always seemed more of an event for teenagers.

That excitement of whether the post-person will break their back delivering a truckload of anonymous cards versus the sheer teenage hell of a Valentine’s void.

I suspect things are different these days and, most likely, less innocent, thanks in the main to social media. And texting. And, in particular, picture messages.

Thank God my own teenage years were lived out before the days of Facebook, back in the years when making an utter twit of yourself was slightly trickier due to the necessity to actually think before saying anything – and the necessity to actually ‘say’ rather than simply ‘type’.

After all, it’s far harder to voice anything out loud than it is to just type it, cringe and press ‘send’. Cue much bitter regret and embarrassment, depending upon who sees your post, text, or tweet.

Up until 1913, Valentine’s Day was considerably less commercial. But in the early stages of the last century, Hallmark got their hands on it. Along came their first Valentine’s card and the pounds started rolling in.

Social media has its good and bad points as regards celebrations – an actual card is more personal, be it for birthday, Father’s Day, or Christmas.

But an e-card or a Twitter greeting is considerably more eco-friendly and less cynically commercial. However, it also smacks of less effort. No real physical involvement has occurred, such as remembering, choosing, writing and walking to a postbox.

I worked in a school once where everyone wrote one Christmas card, pinned it on the board and put the tenner they’d have spent on the remaining cards towards a charity of their annual choice.

This seems like a good compromise between eco-friendliness, effort and media at our fingertips.

However, it’s probably less appropriate for Valentine’s Day than it is for Christmas, unless you work in an environment where you and your colleagues are unnaturally close.


The economy has changed hugely over the past two decades and life is subsequently very different for young adults.

Property prices seem terrifying compared to when I bought my first home at the age of 22.

I paid £54,000 for a two-bedroomed, end-of-terrace house in Southsea.

In less than two years, the value had risen swiftly and we were able to move into a bigger home.

These days, the amount of deposit needed plus the initial price of houses puts younger adults at an immediate disadvantage.

So it was fantastic to read recently about people in their early 20s who’d managed to climb aboard the first rung on a ladder that many of us have always been able to take for granted.


Being able to laugh at ourselves is probably one of the most valuable assets of personality that we can have.

Thankfully, I am more than equipped, having had good opportunity for plenty of practise and humiliation over the years.

One such opportunity was when The News kindly printed a picture of me on the front of The Weekend supplement, in which every member of the boot camp I attend was star-jumping high in the air. All, that is, except for me.

The rest of them were simply so out of synch, poor loves. Shame they couldn’t match my skilled co-ordination.

And seeing as, at this week’s boot camp, I was sat astride a space hopper, bouncing up a muddy hill at an angle, I got off lightly.