So today I officially turned 16 -- yippee. Actually, I've been stretching this birthday thing out all week since my big party that Paul Frank hosted for me last Sunday at The Sanctuary in Glasgow and might I say it was awesome. (No boasting intended here -- just over-excitement!)
I had all my friends there, my family, even my little brother Zac who got in on the act and played the bongos for my live set and he's only 7 years old! My other wee bro Johnnie was on security duty with an earpiece he borrowed from the bouncers (yes, he was role-playing NCIS and loved every second of it!) My dad (mentor, producer and songwriter) was on keyboards and I had my faithful percussionist Adam and guitarist Jon there and it was all just magic. My mum was there of course, joining in on the dancing to the tunes of DJ Garry Spence who was on the decks, until she checked out Instagram the next day and was mortified at how she looked amongst the teenagers.
But you know what? she had such fun and that's why we love her. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the lads from my school started chanting at the front of the stage, "Oh ahh Tal-i-a, I said oh ahh Tal-i-a" (on repeat -- I think old school hip hop chant). I truly felt blessed and wanted to savor the moment for as long as I could. But what does this whole "16" thing really mean? Well, here is a list of 16 things to consider as you turn 16 in Scotland!
1. Living in Scotland I can get married. (Although my High School Musical boy crush Zac Efron may in hindsight be a little old for me now?).
2. I can leave home without my parents' consent. Who is that brave I ask you? Have you met my mum?)
3. I can access banking facilities. Yessss!
4. I can buy wine, beer or cider to drink in a restaurant only with a meal, but I can't buy it in a bar, off-license or supermarket. Mmm... interesting, but doesn't matter as I don't drink alcohol anyway.
5. I can join a trade union. #stormteen coming to picket line near you soon... ha ha!
6. I can drive a moped or small agricultural tractor. Quite frankly for where I live in the countryside, it wouldn't seem that out of place!
7. I can leave school at the start of the Christmas holidays... forever! Now all joking aside, this is a serious consideration for me with my career, but more on that later.
8. I can choose my own GP. Gosh no -- I've been with the same local doctor since I popped out the oven.
9. I can change my name without the consent of my parents. Em -- don't have to be that drastic -- but who would have thought that having been christened "Storm" as my middle name, would've worked so well? (Although please -- no more "lightening" jokes... I beg you).
10. I can apply for a 10-year passport. I might just do that so I can have a decent photo for a seriously long time -- #bighair and all!
11. I can get a piercing without parental consent. I don't reckon Miley Cyrus waited, huh? Don't fancy piercings, though.. no good with pain. Ouch!
Now onto some other thoughts and musings about becoming 16.
12. I can remember what I learned at TEDxTeen in London, #RemarkableDisruptors. If you are good enough you're old enough! I will embrace that forever. I will continue to disrupt convention, try new things and never be afraid of failure. (Who could forget a few weeks ago when I was jamming on stage alongside the legend that is Nile Rodgers -- total #pinchme moment).
13. I will continue to nurture #thestorminside. Each of us has one and it's important we respect our gifts and make the best of them. (Sir Elton John was perhaps onto something when he called my family "the Walton's of the music business." I don't think even my mum appreciated that Zac would master the bongos so quickly lol!)
14. Don't hate. It sucks the life out of you.
15. Pay attention, be focused and be grateful.
16. #Respect -- your family, your friends, loved one's, your peers and most importantly -- yourself! As we try and navigate the complicated and sometimes emotional teenage racetrack that is life, we get bogged down by triviality. We need to remember what's important and respect that.
So there you have it. This evening I will eating copious amounts of the huge Paul Frank Julius birthday cake that will clearly last until Christmas, jammin' with my family around the piano, raising a glass of milk to my nanny who is still so very much missed and thanking God for so many blessings. "Cheesy," you might say? Yip -- BIG cheese and I love it!