1986. The year of the Chernobyl accident and the Challenger space shuttle disaster, Reagan was President of the US and Margaret Thatcher was the UK’s PM. Scrunchies in the hair and acid wash jeans, hair sprayed flicks and very bad perms – on both sexes. Falco’s Rock Me Amadeus and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that was 1986. I was 14, in High School in the North West of England.
I stumbled upon a chat show recently which I had automatically dismissed because it is hosted by Amanda De Cadanet and is called ‘The Conversation’. If that’s not enough to put you off then I don’t know what is. When I flicked onto it one evening I was seduced by the calibre of her guests, all A-listers, and that alone was enough to keep me watching to find out why they were being interviewed by an ex ‘it girl’ – how little did I know of A.D-C’s A-list friendships.
I would be lying if I said I loved the show, some guests are way more interesting than others and sometimes the bare foot, crossed legged love-ins are nauseating but what I do love is the last question she asks her guests at the end of each episode, ‘ what would you tell your 14 year old self?’
It gets me every time. What would I tell my 14 year old self? Grow out the perm, any snog at the school disco is not better than no snog at all. You are not, nor ever will be cool (and that’s OK), so quit while you’re ahead. Hmm so much worldly 40 year old wisdom I could pass to that poor gawky 14 year old, not that she would listen because what self respecting 14 year old listens to anyone over 18?
I have seen 8 episodes of the show so have asked myself this question at least 8 times and I still don’t have an answer. I’m loathed to admit that there might just be quite a lot of the 14 year old me still ruling inside my head. I certainly haven’t come to any Zeitgeist of spirituality with a deeper understanding of ‘the self’ or the role of women as most of Amanda’s guests seem to have done. Frankly when it came to Miley Cyrus expounding on the ways of the world and her advice to women I did dry heave a little.
In my opinion, Amanda’s guests have two things in common, success and confidence. So I’d like to tell my 14 year old self; you’re great, you’re smart, you’re beautiful. You’re cool, you’re funny, you’re talented. You’re loved, you’re lucky, you’re healthy, you have choices. Even if only half of these were true a little bit of self confidence goes a really long way.
So today’s question to you is, what would you tell your 14 year old self?