Saying goodbye to Aberystwyth

Saying goodbye to Aberystwyth and coming to terms with some mixed emotions
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My little brother Madog, he will be the same age I was when I moved to Aberystwyth as a teen. He was born shortly after we moved and is 14 years my junior. I am so proud of the boy he is, kind and level headed and funny and caring. Wilf spent the whole time calling him 'our brother!'.

It truly is one of the most beautiful seaside towns you could wish to visit, no doubt about it.

aberystywth as a teenager, wales, west wales
A little over a week ago I visited Aberystwyth for what will probably be the last time I do. My parents are moving away and as my friends no longer live there either there won't be any reason to make the journey, especially with it taking almost 6 hours from Bristol.

I have mixed memories about the place I spent my teenage years, there were some fantastic moments but also soon really terrible ones too. I had a pretty reckless teenage-hood, I was frustrated and upset and awkward and unhappy for various reasons and that was mixed with the wonderful feeling of invincibility that you pretty much only get when you are 15. Subsequently I was drinking and smoking and up to all sorts of mischief from a fairly young age (around 14 or so). I don't regret all of my experiences as a teen, in-fact I feel fortunate I was in a location that meant we could rave in the woods (do they still call them raves?) or spend all night on the beach. The countryside and remoteness felt like a freedom that perhaps people in bigger towns and city kids wouldn't have as much. The feeling of fearlessness and recklessness and having a good time with no consequences... I moved to Aber when I was 13 from the west midlands and I can tell you that my experience there was a lot..tamer, maybe because there was so much more for people to do and less boredom and need for escapism that you can get in very small towns.

I do however have a few regrets, largely the way I treated my parents. The times I would stay out for days in a row without calling, the rides I'd hitch, the people I'd stay with, the states I'd eventually come home in, the classes I missed, the exams I barely passed, the hurt and anger I showed them..the mama in me now shudders to think how they must have been feeling. I felt like moving to such a different location forced me to grow up sooner than I would have, I immersed myself in what I thought was an adult world but what I now as an adult see no comparisons.

Aberystwyth is the place I made friends who are still now my closest friends. It's the place I met my first love and some five years later the place I tried to pick myself up when my heart was breaking for the first (and thankfully last) time. It's the place I got my first job, one that forced me out of a crippling shyness and gave me some important life lessons..(one of them being taught how to change a light bulb, ha!). It's such a mixed emotion saying goodbye to all these memories good and bad, I couldn't help but feel sad for the girl I was when I lived there, and also sad that I miss her a little too.

p.s I mentioned my mixed feeling about my hometown on IG whilst I was visiting. I know my experience of being a teenager in Aber is not perhaps the standard. I know many people who didn't have the experiences I did. I don't mean by writing about any of my memories here to cause offence,  they are simply my own thoughts and feelings about a place that holds many conflicting feelings for me.

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