Today I want to talk about age.
As a child I always wanted to be older. I found it frustrating that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do…It turns out the school system really wants you to stay there between the hours of 9 and 3pm.
I would see auditions advertised on Blue Peter and casually drop in the conversation to my parents, that I could easily get on the train to London by myself and I could be exactly what they were looking for.
I spent many Saturday afternoon hovering around the kitchen whilst my Mum did the ironing, inhaling every part of the Brookside omnibus. In the beginning there was a mutter of ‘I don’t think this is suitable’ but quickly it became part of our conversations. A perfected Scouse accent has welcomed many opportunities in my acting career… ‘Are you from Liverpool?’ ‘Nah, I just watched a lot of Brookside’ I would reply.
As kids we are all told the phrase ‘When you are older…’ As a proactive kid with an entrepreneurial spirit even then, I didn’t want to go all Veruca Salt as we all know what happened to her, but I kind of did want it now.
When I turned seven I basically thought that I had made it. I remember being absolutely thrilled to be seven. It was my favourite number after all. It felt so much sassier than six. Who wants to be six, anyway? Losers!
Then double figures is a biggy isn’t it? That’s often when your parents have the dawning that the hormones are going to come out to play and SOON.
Being fourteen was a fairly bleak time. Everything was out of sync. I felt like I was on a physical, emotional, mental waltzer… and although it would have been ‘cool’ to scream if I wanted to faster in fact, I wanted to cry to my Mum that I wanted to be seven again. Being seven was much simpler. Plus I had a shell suit then and we know how ace they were.
At sixteen I found my mojo… I was starting to get closer to the big dreams I had said aloud to myself whilst I was wanging around on my bike. I used to interview people and be interviewed whilst I sat on loo. Funny now to think I now have a podcast. Although I don’t operate from the toilet. I promised.
However at this age, I had a less than healthy relationship with food and exercise… I was the thinest I had ever been and bizarrely the most popular, but definitely not the soundest. Despite ‘heroin chic’ telling me I needed to look bony and droopy, my naturally curvy body was crying out for some solid carbs or just a normal plateful of grub.
The big birthdays of 18 and 21 were hectic and even though Clinton Cards told me I was an adult and a ‘beer monster’ (waaaay) I still had so many unanswered questions.
I guess this is the point of this post.
Even though we are told we should feel or act in a certain way at particular ages, we may just feel the same. Or something different. Or not defined by our age in the slightest. If you catch me wearing a ‘I’m forty and fabulous’ t shirt in a few years, please remove me from the building.
I kind of want to be my own version of fabulous at any age… even if that is watching Masterchef on the sofa with my man pal in some kind of brushed cotton oversized Jimmy Jams. I want that for you too.. your version.
A friend of mine had a brand new car for her 17th birthday with a personalised number plate no less. I had shit tonne of spirits and I was given a fireman’s lift up Doncaster Road. Alas not by a firefight. My evening ended early and my Mum shoved me into the people carrier with the force of late guest at a gypsy wedding.
However despite not knowing my alcohol limits (or rather perhaps knowing them, but ignoring them) I did have a strong head on my shoulders. I knew what I wanted and went for it. I was free spirited, bold, opinionated and fearless.
I wish my 17 year old self had been there to protect my 33 year old self who was broken, sleep deprived, vulnerable and trying to figure out how to be a good mother. Oh the pressure I put on myself.
I am now approaching that midway point in my life…I spent 18 years living at home and 18 years living in London…unsupervised…
It can be easy to think about all the things that haven’t happened yet… I don’t own my dream 5 bedroom house on my favourite leafy street in North London yet (and yes I can describe it in detail) I haven’t been to LA and starred in a block buster film. I haven’t founded the perfect heeled boot that is not only comfortable, sharp, but a bit battered in a roll 'n' rock way but makes me look like I maaay have legs like Elle MacPherson.
If I am honest, I thought I would be a lot further on by now. Whatever that means.
But then I hear Oprah speaking to me… as she often does. I can’t remember phone numbers but I can remember golden nuggets that she has shared. She loves a gratitude list doesn’t she?
My life is rich and full and abundant and supported and has a whole lot of love in it. I have options and choices and sense of ‘Everything is figureable’ like Marie Forleo taught me. And so do you.
So often we can get that sense and pressure that we are behind… we are not where we should be.So many of my clients fear that it is too late to make a change… too late for risk…too late to admit what they really want.
I spoke on Instagram about emerging privately. Over the last few weeks, the podcast has taken on a new pace. We are now in every continent across the world with thousands of plays per month. We are aiming to reach a million plays by Christmas.
We launched in the middle of January but the idea had been cooking for 3-4 years. I used to drive for nearly 10 hours a week (to go to work...not just for jokes) and I used to listen to so many to help pass the time.
The picture that shared was taken towards the end of 2015 and my little pal and I did this for hours. He was so cuddly as a baba and fortunately still is.
Even though motherhood gave me a new lease of creativity, passion and ambition, I had to be patient. Let's not jazz things up; I had to focus on the money making activities, not the ones that were going to pay me in a year or two...but the ones that would pay my immediate bills and buy me the food that would provide the 5000 calories (approximately) that I needed to feed. Even then we did mixed feeding...
Sometimes it isn't the right time to press publish. So with the podcast, I focused on what I could do in that moment; I wrote ideas down, I listened to other podcasts, I questioned what was missing... what I was craving.
Of course, it is tempting to emulate others but for me it always has to feel good. I have to connect with it. As an actor, of course I play different characters that are so far removed from me but I always have to find a commonality, an empathy and love for them.
Sometimes emerging isn't emerging publicly. It is simply making a decision to emerge privately and to start to take the steps forward.
My glamorous, vivacious, strong minded Nanna goes to Hong Kong and Thailand every year for Christmas. I won’t say her age, but I know for a fact she lies about it even to her closest friends, but you can do the maths.
Basically I want to illustrate the point that you can do what you want to do. In your way, at your pace and in a way that feels good.
Please don’t try and follow someone else’s bucket list- it is pointless and potentially terrifying if they have something ridiculous like potholing. My heart is racing just thinking about that. On a side note, the Urban Dictionary has an insightful description of 'potholing'
To finish; write down what is in your head; the ideas, the thoughts, the ‘Ooh wouldn’t it be cool if’ moments.
Notice what you are drawn to. What you continually watch or how you spent your time. What are your secrets that you haven’t told anyone yet?
So often at the end of my coaching sessions, my client will take a huge exhale and say ‘Phew it says so good to share that, I’ve never told anyone this before’. Which always baffles me and excites me as I can see how much it makes their heart sing.
Please know you don’t have to know everything or do everything all at once. Your only job is to know what you want; your values, what’s important to you, how you want to spend your time and what success means to you. Once you know that and have that as your foundation to guide your decisions, everything becomes easier. I can help you with this 1:1 if want extra support. Details are here
But please never let yourself be satisfied with ‘Well that ship has probably sailed’ or ‘We will wait and see’ or shrug despondently when someone asks you ‘What’s going on with you?’
Please make you a priority. You are important, you are ready right now and we can’t wait to hear what you have to say.