What would you tell your fourteen-year-old self?

It’s December, a time of year for reflection, evaluation, and panicking about all we have to do before December 25th.

To put things in perspective and maybe give our readers some food for thought when thinking about the year to come, NewsFour asked some of the inspirational people we came across during 2016: “If you could go back in time – what would you tell your fourteen-year-old self?” Here are the pearls of wisdom.

Pictured: Ingrid Nachstern.

Pictured: Ingrid Nachstern.

Ingrid Nachstern is well known for her work as a dancer, ballet teacher and as owner of the Nachstern Ballet School in Sandymount. She is much admired internationally as the Artistic Director/Choreographer of the multi-award winning Night Star Dance Company, which she established in 2003.

“I was at my most super-serious when I was 14. School was fine, but I found social situations so difficult. I was embarrassed and mortified by everything! So what I would say to my 14 year old self would be: chill, be your unique self and remember… life is short. In a 100 years none of what is bothering you now will matter in the least!”

Mick Curry, one of the mainstays of Stella Maris Rowing Club, is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to boats, the River Liffey and the history and traditions of the area. He has provided invaluable assistance to NewsFour this year, and for that we thank him. He is also great fun!

“Get educated, stay in school and go to college, but most of all have no regrets and enjoy your life because it’s the only one you’ve got.”

Anthony James O’Reardon’s debut play, ‘25 to Clanwilliam’, was based on the Battle of Mount Street Bridge. It was a great success when it was performed during this year’s 1916 celebrations. He is now working on a new play about a family struggling through the 1916-1921 period in Ringsend.

“Don’t try that cigarette next year, it will take you 15 years to quit and cost a fortune. Instead, learn to play a musical instrument and travel the world for these are your biggest regrets. P.S. Create Facebook.”

Dermot Lacey has been a member of Dublin City Council since 1993. For many years he has been an active youth worker, particularly within the Scout Movement. He served a term as Lord Mayor of Dublin from July 2002 to July 2003. He campaigns with and for local community and residents’ groups on many issues and is particularly concerned at the housing problem in Dublin, the advancement of Local Government reform and the provision of good community and youth facilities.

“Don’t wallow in what goes wrong, there will be plenty to go right. Learn a musical instrument, for music is one of the greatest joys of all and above all: stay in the scouts. The last is the only one I did.”

Pictured: Steven Mannion Farrell.

Pictured: Steven Mannion Farrell.

Steven Mannion-Farrell, one of Ireland’s most successful living artists and renowned aficionado of WB Yeats, lives in Sandymount with his husband, Eamon, and their three much-adored dogs ‘the girls’, who feature in many of his paintings. Steven’s new exhibition will open at The Library Project, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, on December 1.

“The world to me at 14 years was so much smaller than it is now, although I had a happy upbringing, and my mum did a great job with me and my siblings and I had great friends, but I guess back then living where I lived, I didn’t believe I could be where I am now. So I guess I’d tell myself to believe anything is possible and no matter where you’re from, with hard work and lots of luck, you can reach your goals. I’d also spend more time with my grandparents. I miss them, but all in all, I had a nice childhood and things have worked out very well, I couldn’t be happier with where I am now.”

Tara Derrington directed the hugely successful ‘The Citizens Breakfast’, a Joycean extravaganza of theatre, food and music, produced by Time Machine Events and performed to great acclaim on Bloomsday this year. She is a founder member and campaigner for Mothers Artists Makers (MAM), a group of women theatre professionals who are part of the #WakingTheFeminists movement.

“My first very quick reaction would be… don’t shave your legs! More meaningfully and controversial, I would say use the next four years to think about what you really want from life, when you want it and why. When you’re 18 you can be anything – a politician, a plumber, a playwright or a parent. None of these jobs is more important or impressive than the others. Don’t let society tell you what you should be or when you should be it.”

Pictured: Sueanne Moore.

Pictured: Sueanne Moore.

Sueanne Moore is an artist, mother, and an organiser of memorable events. She works tirelessly for The Spellman Centre and for the communities of Ringsend and Irishtown. She recently moved back to her beloved Ringsend from far-away Pearse Street.

“I would tell the 14-year-old me that knowledge is power, real love shouldn’t hurt, true happiness comes only from within and music can have a profound effect on your mood, use it wisely. Oh, and learn to play chess.”

We’ll leave the final word to Pat Larkin, author, filmmaker and drummer, who had a successful career with The Blades. His work includes ‘The Coalboat Kids’, which was successfully adapted to film, and ‘The Misery Hill Murders’. His most recent film, ‘Ringsend and the Rising’, received a National FIS award in November.

“My advice to myself at 14 is: Don’t panic, I’m still deciding what I want to do with my life at 60!”

So lots of sage advice there. And perhaps a few things to keep in mind when you are making your New Year Resolutions. It’s never too late!

By Jennifer Reddin