What would you say to your 21-year-old self?

Somehow, as if time has sped up, my son is now eight.

I’m sure yesterday he was a baby; gurgling away overnight as I did the night shift, Ashes from England on TV.

Much has changed in those eight years.

I’m also a bit taken aback, in all honesty, that I’m now offering career advice to students at my old school – when it also seems not that long ago, though it was nearly three decades since Year 12, it seems, that I wondered what life would be like after we left school.

Professionally, notwithstanding some dud decisions on my part, (and some equally dud bosses along the way), I’ve been particularly fortunate. Life itself has had its sliding door moments; losing a parent as a child, for example, brings with it some deeper and questioning ‘what if’s’ that are equally important to ask, but not good to dwell on too much.

  • As an adjunct – the loss of my mother when I was 12 is a key reason I support Feel the Magic, which provides “grief education and support to bereaved children and their families to help alleviate the pain and isolation felt by the loss of a parent, sibling or legal guardian.”


As my son gets older, and as my broader career roles increasingly see me being asked for my opinion as ‘me’ as an industry association head, the idea for Dear 21 Year Old Me came over time.

There’s much to be said for Friday Night Lights, a show that I connected deeply with (mind you, not understanding much of gridiron) and then wondering, years on, where the characters would have been. Coach Taylor’s mantra of ‘clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose’ is one to reflect upon and while simply expressed, is as elegant as it is true. ‘Mrs Coach’ Tami Taylor, and her loyalty to her family, her principles, and her own self-worth, stood out. 

And so to this podcast. There are some inspirations: Rachel Corbett’s excellent ‘You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere’ asks folk how they started in the media is done with genuine interest and the interviewees are open and interesting. It’s a great podcast, and highly recommended. 

The warm, reflectiveness of ‘going home’ in Julia Zemiro’s ‘Home Delivery’ on ABC-TV always brings a smile. To see some of the guests’ reactions when they see an old teacher they admired, for example, always brings a smile.

San Diego’s KPBS personal My First Day podcast is a good listen, too – literally walking in people’s shoes as they commence a new job, for example. These, underlined by my innate curiosity and interest in people and what makes them tick, also all serve as inspiration for the show. 

I’m already getting much from learning, reflecting on others, and having a few chuckles. 


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