What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I find it hard to conjure up advice for my 16 year-old self because that implies a certain amount of regret or “if I had my time all over again, I’d do it all/something big so differently” and that’s now how I feel about life. I would possibly tell myself to spend more time getting to know/understand myself: know your personality type, know your impulses, know what you like and what you don’t like. And, then, allow all of that to feed into key decisions you make in life - rather than corresponding to the perception others have of you. I took decisions in life that many considered a bit crazy but not only did they make sense to me, they corresponded to my personality type (but I was probably into my 30s before I was able to articulate it because I started to really understand my own personality type. I’m not sure if that makes sense - I was doing things because they made sense to me, but I didn’t really realise why they made sense to me. For example - I like ‘the shiny apple’, new things: but I was well into my 30s before I could actually summarise a key part of my personality in a few words like that. Now that I know that about myself, I allow myself gravitate to the shiny apple.
Schooldays were the best days of my life. Agree/Disagree and why/why not?
A bit of both. I enjoyed a lot about my schooldays - I liked the school (Ballinrobe CBS, later part of the Ballinrobe Community School amalgamation ); there was loads of sport (I competed in Gaelic football, hurling, athletics and basketball for the school ); we did debating and quizzes; and it was all pretty good. But are they better than other days in my life? Not necessarily: for example, as a techie nerd, the current technological era excites me greatly. Would I swap today for being back in Ballinrobe CBS at 16 years of age, with more hair and less weight? Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. But, to echo something I touched on above, I don’t tend to live life in the rear view mirror. There’s enough good stuff on the road in front of me to keep me occupied. I have always had a great zest for life and don’t tend to hark back to previous times. Schooldays were great days in my life. But today is a great day too. That sounds a lot more preachy than I would want it to - but I genuinely believe the question most people have to ask themselves is not “is there life after death?” but “is there life before death?” Live it, no matter where you’re at.