**LONDON AND THE NEW YEAR 2016**
I was tired when we arrived at the hotel today. I’ve been off work for the last three weeks and it’s been wonderful and not, all at the same time. Besides adjusting to Chris’ dad moving in with us while he “finds” himself (k- that’s what I call it), I’ve struggled to find myself as well. From a groove for my diet and fitness to a semi-routine for my international flying this last year, or three rather, has been an interesting challenge and study of myself.
Today or tonight (depending on where you as I write this), I sit in the beautiful restaurant of the Olympia Hilton hotel in London eating my grilled salmon and crisp salad watching the cars and the double-decker busses drive by and lament not getting out of the hotel at all today. Yet, listening to the voices and laughter and catch the spasmodic behavior of the woman just in my periphery, I feel very content. The South African fuller bodied white wine went down fast, as my first glass of wine usually does, I find myself happy and easing into observer rather than navel gazer.
Sitting in my layover “uniform” of Athleta fleece lined tights and body-adjusting thermal top, my not quite black not quite green Doc Martins and yes, my Burberry cashmere coat, I can’t help but be a tad envious of the chicly dressed patrons in the bar/restaurant. Even one of my crew members, sitting alone at her table FaceTiming with a loved one I assume, looks lovely in her creamy scarf and dark top. Her red wine doesn’t hurt either, lol. Only her extreme blonde hair gives away that she “isn’t from around here.”
***TOTAL SIDE NOTE*** the fish and chips just delivered to the elderly woman on my left LOOKS DEVINE!!! Fuck I wish I could eat THAT!! But this damn ketogenic diet has me eschewing my normal carb battered English delight.
Three silver haired men join the crowd, alone and not together. One sexy, one twitchy but very hiply dressed and groovy for an ‘old guy’ (certainly better than nearly any American man his age, I mean he has a slim fitting shirt on for god’s sake!). Oh, then he speaks, and it isn’t English, ‘nuff said. The other one, who in his white tee, yet again not an extra large, I cannot figure out. The two of them often look over their shoulder, glancing around the room. Hip and Groovy looks my way, we’re closer than Tee-Man. Tee-Man has engaged the two single females just to his right. Neither of them picking up on the convo or him for that matter. As for Sexy, well he’s slumped in his high-backed leather chair, one seat over from my single crew member, checking his phone from time-to-time and occasionally leaning forward to read something on his table. From my spot he almost looks like he’s asleep, which from my experience lately, doesn’t seem that far off of a speculation of anyone that age, I’ve seen it from Chris’ dad on numerous occasions.
If I were to engage in a conversation with any of them I’d pick Hip and Groovy. He’s more energetic when he looks around the bar, a wee bit expectantly, but still active. He is also the only eating. He eats his fries with a fork, again, clearly not American, cleaning his knife against his fork, which he holds in his left hand, also a very European thing. He’s finished half of his red wine. Watching him closer, I think he’s even eating his burger with a fork. K, that’s definably not American… lol!!
Tee-Man looks like he got soup. Not a bad choice for this freakin’ crazy cold London weather – it SNOWED here today! But as for conversation, I’d put my money on Hip and Groovy. He’s not as sexy as well, Sexy, but for conversation he’s probably a lot more interesting. And now he just swiped the edge of his plate with his finger which he noisily sucks clean. How can that not be an interesting person? He suddenly trumps Sexy on sexy in the general sense.
He appears to be someone who is alive, engaged and interesting. This is what I think as I watch him. I think to me, it’s important in life. To be alive and looking at life instead of waiting for life. As I approached 50 this year, I thought a lot of what it meant to get ‘older’ to be on the back half of life so-to-speak. I was tasked by Christoper to write a blog post about turning 50 on my birthday, which I failed to meet (as is often the case with writers!). None-the-less, I did continue to think about it; what it means to be changing decades, especially this one! And from my observations of those my age or older the jury is still out, but I think I’m different in a lot of ways. And completely the same in others. Maybe that’s what it’s like to be 50. To refuse to let go and give up. To refuse to slow down, to stop playing my loud, heart racing, nerve jangling, techno music at the highest my Carmon and Hardon stern will allow in my Porsche Cayenne. Yes, I just name dropped my stereo and my car, but it’s still an SUV, cause, you know I have a child and I’m successful enough to pay for both. To drink more wine than I ever have, but to also have a very Helen Mirren attitude, of ‘fuck off” kind of principle, also because I’m old enough to pay for both.
I think 50 is an interesting age. You’re old enough to seriously not give a rat’s ass but still vibrant enough to know that and flaunt it if you wish.
Sure, the body doesn’t cooperate like it did when you were 30, hell let alone 47! but from my limited observations of older people, it’s less body and more brain.
I think the reason older people stop connecting with their kids or any one from the younger generation (if they ever did), is because they have become stifled, stagnant, smile less, and have less fun.
Yes fun. And although I may be the original excuse maker I am also the first one to say “who cares what the past is, it’s the future that you make. So make it what you want. Let it go.” And yes you can throw in the Disney tune for your pure enjoyment here! Wait, never mind, I’m more a Tay Tay kinda gal, I say Shake it Off! But you pick whichever motivates you to get up and shimmy around the room like no one is watching. 😉
See that’s my total point!!
Let something move you!! Bring you back to life, inspire you shoulder roll, head bob, and lip-sync in your car, shower, or bedroom. Better even if you do it in your underwear. Don’t let THAT part of you go, I say go with it!
My ex-husband, whom I adore, signed my 50th birthday card with this: To the wildest 50 year old I know! Yeah, THAT’S what I want to be every year. To me THAT’S a huge compliment that something I’m doing is right for me. And that the beauty of 50. What is that’s right for you?? You have the rest of your lifetime ahead of you. Think back, the first 50 years took a while to get here, so who’s to say the same won’t be the same for the next. Yeah, we’re older and we’re closer to dying than we were maybe 10 years ago, but that should be the reason you really reach for the ring. Cause what if? What if you catch it? Could this not be the best decade yet? And if not, either by choice or failure, what the fuck do you care, cause “… honey you’re older. wiser and have more insurance.” Boooya!! And what a memory you’ll leave for your kids, grandkids, family and friends. 🙂
The younger generation by definition is all about change and learning the new stuff of the world. As the older generation we have a lot to teach them and an obligation to do so, but if we get too bogged down in the “Woe is me” mentality, the “World is a tough and bettering place and it’s no use fighting,” then we make ourselves obsolete. A dusty piece of art or object to just to be observed or discarded. Not relevant really, except to the past.
Yes, half the time I wake up and do not have half the energy, or care for that matter, to bust ass at the gym or aggressively pound the pavement for a lede on a story that I think will make headlines, shit, I’m lucky if I get up and trot my sorry ass to the Roman Colosseum, um for fuck sake, and you know it’s less than 15 minutes from my hotel. Yeah, I’m a sorry. lazy son-of-a bitch sometimes, but I still like to make a mark in my day. To meet people, to experience some of the most amazing things this lie has to offers, to take a few moments in my day to say I WANT FCUKING DESSERT!!! like a spoiled baby. Some days my mark is the deep impression in the sheets and pillows i’ve left while I get up to take a pee and a sip of some stale wine. And you know what? I say “who the fuck cares!” It’s a passionate moment, in my passionate life. Winston Churchill napped every single day while at war, Earnest Hemingway drank his way through multiple highly, over prosed novels and Anis Nin played with one of our most famous writer’s heart and emotions, and what I get when I read them is a sense of life. And “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” as David Glasgow Farragut, the first rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the United States Navy says at his order at the Battle of of Mobile Bay, in which he won victoriously .
Yes a life of Damn the Torpedoes or Running With the Bulls, or toying with one of our greatest poet’s heart, could be life changing. And I totally support it. In fact I relish in it. It’s not an act of defiance, it’s an act of live, of showing the strength we have no matter our age. That it’s a whole lotta more fun on this side of 50!! That is should be life changing. We have the knowledge, we have the connection. we have the confidence and most of we should be lacking the fear that has kept use frozen for so long. And that’s exactly how it should be: life changing. Take risks. And if you’e like me you take calculated risks. Clause you know what?? It should be way more fun getting older, no parents or teachers to threaten you with “permanent grades” or expulsions.
To be relevant you have to make yourself relevant. And that’s entirely up to you of what that looks like. Who cares if your idea and strength of relevance is about the top 10 places to eat in London. People. Dig. That!! Or if your is about a certain mascara!! Women love feeling good about themselves and do you know what people who feel good about themselves do? They make others do the same. You know what that doesn’t do? Make other harm each other. It’s collaborative. It’s sharing and giving and helping. There is no bad thing in that!
~Anyhwho, take my observation and see it for what it is: People connecting to other people. AT then end of the day thats the one thing we long for; to feel connected, to feel loved, to feel heard, to be respected. It’s what I bring to my job every single day. It connect with each of my passengers. It’s small but it’s my gift. I want everyone on ,y flight that I’ve come in contact with to know they mattered to me. That I say you. I heard you. I felt your joy, your pain, you happiness. I want to be able to share all of that with you for the time that you are on my flight. I’m excited for you!! What an amazing adventure you’re one, you’re brave, you scared and you’re doing it anyway. Godspeed to my passengers! I hope my crew and I have given you any last bit of needed push to help you feel amazing on your adventure!
At the end of the day, I find humans to be quite interesting, I mean a) I am a 30+ year flight attendant, b) a journalist and c) a writer. I’ve made lifetime careers out of interacting with people. Humans are the most interesting species I’ve ever come across. We are simple yet complicated. We are boring yet exciting. We are stupid yet smart. All with the same functioning parts. We have so much in common, we long for the same things, we have so many opportunities, regardless of our locale, and yet we make such a muck up of our lives it’s insane and completely compelling to me. And to quote a journalist’s creed, we all have a story to tell. Yes, yes we do. Even the ones who on the surface are lame, boring and a big yawner, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find something of interest. It just takes time, patience and curiosity focused on someone other than yourself to get to it. I guess I’d say that’s what makes great journalists and writers good at what they do. They watch, look and listen. Becoming 50 has helped me a lot at getting better at the above three verbs. Having been on my journalist sabbatical theses last three years I’ve lost some of my skills and it’s challenging to get them back, but just thinking of getting back into the frey has me chomping at the bit to get started. So yeah, we’ve had a new ‘roommate’ that brings new challenges, but it also brings an opportunity to ask observe him which beg the tough questions of myself that I sort of cringe at the answer. This is what I call growth and if we don’t grow at 50, we are seriously dead on the vine and we are no longer vintage and when we loose that, we cease to be relevant. We’ve become something to dust and wonder at from time to time and to replace upon a shelf. Yea, that ’s not me, never has been, never will be. So here you go Christoper, my dissertation on turning 50.