I can't recall with any sort of clarity what I was like at 16 years old.
I know I liked to write, loved my friends and didn’t hate school.
Maybe obsessed over hair, makeup and clothes (somewhat) and I’m sure there was some poor decision-making too.
What I didn’t have was a business.
So I was taken aback when I sat down with Maggie Stewart, who is the very definition of a young entrepreneur.
The Echuca teenager features in next month’s Bella, which will be in the Riverine Herald on October 10.
Maggie makes resin art and sells it – among other things. And this little boutique business isn’t her first.
She is mature, speaks unbelievably well for a 16-year-old, and encompasses everything her peers should look up to.
Suffice to say when I finished our interview I felt relieved.
Too many times I hear about people criticising my generation and younger.
According to an article published on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website, common put-downs for generation Y (those born between 1981 and 1994 – which is where I fit) include lazy, debt-ridden and programmed for instant gratification. Pus we are portrayed as demanding and unrealistic in our career aspirations.
“Now” the article said, “we can add ‘internet-addicted’ and ‘lonely’ to the list”.
Which, I must say, I have to argue with.
I don’t believe I am unrealistic with my career aspirations although I know some who could, even should, be placed in this category.
But I’m okay with that. By all means, dreamers line-up and reach for the stars. The world needs dreamers who do. I encourage you. I’m just not one of you.
I am lazy sometimes, maybe debt-ridden too.
Internet addicted? Yes, sometimes.
As for generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2009), they are the first generation never to have experienced the pre-internet world.
“Accordingly are already technology-focused. The iPad generation?” the article reads.
Doesn’t sound too promising, does it?
But when I look at Maggie that’s all I can see.
This young woman has her whole life in front of her.
Behind her she has a few hit-and-miss businesses and has now created one that seems to be tracking successfully.
Forget the generation labels or concerns from the elderly folk.
You’ve got this Maggie.
You might only be one example of your generation but you are the right one.
During my interview with Maggie she said she had some advice for young people thinking about trying out something entrepreneurial, like she once did.
“Just go for it because as young people we don’t any commitments. We don’t have families to look after, we don’t have fulltime jobs and we don’t have lots of responsibilities,” she said.
“And because we are young, people are willing to help you and guide you.
“There’s never been a better time.”
That’s right Maggie, there hasn’t been.
Reach for the stars, dream big, do the impossible.
Such a gen Y thing so say.
But without dreams what would the world look like?
Not one I’m interested in being part of.