Now and Then
The celebs have words of advice for their younger selves as they revisit the photographs that make them cringe
JOAN BURTON TD Minister for Social Protection. Above, in the mid-Sixties
“It was Nelson Mandela who said courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. And if I could somehow advise my younger self in this picture, I would say: ‘Take your courage in your hands, and dare to dare.’ Mostly I did.
“I was the first in the Burton family to go to college; I've had three different careers, as an accountant, a lecturer, and a public representative; and I have travelled extensively, including several years living in Africa, which significantly broadened my outlook on life and taught me so much, and as a result of which, I would encourage any young person to travel.
“But I didn't always have the confidence I needed, and, in particular, when I was this age, I was very tentative about tracing my birth parents. It was much later in life, with the loving support of my husband and my daughter, that I finally summoned the courage I needed to do so. By then, sadly, my birth parents were dead, but it was a hugely important, emotional and liberating journey for me nonetheless.
“And in the context of journeys, I would say to any young person that you will be tested along the way, but pursue your dreams, hold true to your beliefs, and remember it's always worth fighting to make the world a better place.
“In 1966, Robert Kennedy addressed students in South Africa, exhorting them to continue the struggle against discrimination and inequality. A line in that speech has always stayed with me, probably because of my own involvement in the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement, and seems apt in the context of advice for the young.
“He said: ‘ This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.’”