One night at dinner, a friend and I were swapping podcast suggestions. I mostly offered up titles that make you sit there and wonder, “Am I emotionally and mentally prepared for this?” before hitting play. Think Death, Sex and Money and Hardcore History. I never listen to just white noise.
My friend sat there graciously listening to me ramble on about my Very Heavy podcasts before I asked for her suggestions. “I just started listening to this one podcast called Eliza Starting at 16. It’s done by a teenager living in Manhattan and the episodes are only 10 minutes long. I promise, just try it.” I trust this friend, so I agreed.
The next morning when I downloaded the episode “Friendships on TV and Summer Stress” I had low expectations. What could a short, teen-driven podcast do for me, an adult-ish lady? Friends, I was wrong. Two minutes in, Eliza began discussing the lack of representation of healthy female friendships on television. In another episode, she talks about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She talks about the SATs and lack of sleep and the pressure to choose the right college. This girl was me 10 years ago, except she is leaps and bounds ahead of where I was in terms of self-awareness. I found myself reminiscing on my own time in high school, thinking about how much has changed — and how little has changed — since then.
Eliza Starting at 16 is quite the departure from my usual queue. The host’s perspective is different from the thirty- and forty-somethings I usually listen to and for any other podcast, I’d write off a 10-minute engagement. But while the episodes may be short, every minute is taken full advantage of. And hey, that’s what bingeing is for. —Augusta Falletta