Our ‘words of wisdom’ interview celebrates our older people and the contribution they make. It gets their take on life, lessons learned and advice they would give to their younger self and younger people today. This month we talk to 63 year old Julie Kinsella... who works in TV, theatre and film and lives in Belfast with her partner Jim and dog Posy.

Hi Julie, what did/do you work at?

I’m an actress/writer/director in theatre, tv and film.

Five years ago I re-trained and now I also work as a celebrant, creating ceremonies for weddings, renewal of vows, baby namings and funerals. I love this – it’s an extension of what I’ve always done: every ceremony needs writing, staging and performing!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Go to drama school – it’s the best way to fast-track into work. I didn’t, so the climb was steep at the start.

What advice would you give to younger people today?

Don’t follow the flock. Make your own path and don’t be afraid to change direction many times until you find your own place in the world.

Be respectful of your peers, your elders and the planet we live on.

(I think this should be on the school curriculum: TRAK – structured lessons in Tolerance, Respect and Kindness.)

What age has been the best age of your life? Why?

All of it! I’ve lived and worked all over the world (except for Asia – that’s on my ‘to do’ list) and I’ve found new interests and challenges at every time of my life.

What in your opinion was the best decade? Why?

The ‘70s. It was the decade of disco music (and roller discos!), ‘Monty Python’ on TV, platform shoes, flares and miniskirts, the decade I went to Grammar School and also started work.

What is your earliest memory?

Sunny days in the back garden with the family. The dog pottering around, the rabbit in its pen, my little sister sitting on the back step with a potty on her head!

Proudest achievement?

Getting my dad to come and see me in a Shakespeare play!

What would you say are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?

The most difficult thing I think is knowing that there’s so much to do and the time to do it is getting shorter. The most rewarding thing is enjoying friendships that have been nurtured over the years.

What is the biggest misconception about getting older?

That we are not the same people we were at 25, that we must slow down and wear sensible shoes!

Would you like to take part in our words of wisdom interview? Or do you know an inspirational older person who is young at heart and defies the stereotype of an older person? Does your Granny love to surf? Or maybe you have a Grandad mad for skydiving? Perhaps your older parents are still working or are selfless volunteers continuing to make a difference to their community. If you know someone who fits the bill and who would be happy to be interviewed, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch by emailing communications@copni.org