Nancy – Age 61

“Often the world is portrayed as some big monster waiting to swallow you up or grab you, but I say explore. Keep the iPhone at home – we need to get back to chatting face to face, to have real conversations.”

I came to Brighton when I was 17. I loved Brighton and it is now my home because I’m older and the years that have gone by have been in Brighton. So, Brighton as a place has evolved but it still holds that magic of being very progressive and inclusive. I now have two daughters, who are around 30 and professional. They were born here, they’ve been to university – one of them lives in London and the other one went to Bristol and Warwick but has moved back to Brighton, or Hove. They just live down the road from us. I never rushed them to come back or to be near us, but they chose it. I think that speaks for it in itself, that Brighton is one of those places – I’ve been to other places in England – but coming home to Brighton always feels like my home. You take the rough with the smooth. People have views but I think it’s a good place – it’s a happy place for me.

Some words of wisdom I have for the younger generation – sometimes the question is, what would you tell yourself if you were 17? I would still say ‘Explore’. Often, the world is portrayed as some big monster, waiting to swallow you up or grab you. Keep it real and keep it simple. Keep the iPhone at home, because you lose the ability to communicate with people face to face. It is quite different from a silly little text message or something that may convey the wrong message. We need to go back to chatting, conversation. I think friends are extended family and that they are positive things. Words of wisdom – use a bit of elbow grease, do what you really want to do in life, keep that on the boil. Study – that always helps. because I think you get the knowledge, like a taxi driver would. You get the knowledge for you, then you can weigh everything around you with that knowledge.

I have just been reviewing my life, because I wanted to retire. A lot of people say I’m a friendly, happy, warm person and I keep thinking ‘Where did I get that from?’ I grew up in Kenya, went to a convent school. The nuns were way ahead of their time but they always said to us, ‘Be and do what you want but study hard and explore’. I have fond memories of my school life. They were always inclusive. It was a girls’ school but they always had to ask ‘Challenge yourself’. Now when I look back, it was positive affirmation. It wasn’t like, make life hard for yourself, which we often think about convent schools and nuns, the message they convey to people. Africa is poor and so this kind of grounding encouragement is relevant today.