45 Is The New 70

6 Jul

Well, hello. Yes it’s been a while and I’ve missed you. I’m hoping you missed me just a bit. That being said, let’s get on with it.

When last we spoke, I was just about to start my new job working on board a cruise ship. While there could be an entire book based on that, I will not be writing it here. As you can appreciate from my past writings, I am happy to have a job and would prefer top keep it for the time being. As my writing involves my life in so many ways, my job will of course be reflected in some of my writings, but names and such will be changed to protect. . .well me. So, here goes. . .

I celebrated my latest birthday on the ship. In order to honor my special day, I only worked 11 hours. What’s funny is that I was only on board for 5 months (on vacation now – yay!), but I seemed to have aged 25 years. That actually happened in the first 3 days of training before I boarded. I like to compare it to how a new car suddenly loses its value the minute you walk out of the showroom with the keys. That car immediately becomes a year older. That’s about as quick as my value dropped.

You see, I had taken 15 years off from the cruise industry. As you may know from my past writings, things got pretty desperate when it came to the job situation and well, pardon the pun but, any port in a storm. Or should I say, hope floats.

Anyway, my ship had come in (ok, really, that’s the last one). When I arrived at my training it was clear that the youngins didn’t know what to make of me. One kept poking me in the ribs and saying, “Aren’t you excited?!!” While she was excited about the whole ship and adventure stuff, I was just excited to have a job. You see I’ve done the whole ship thing before. I know that it’s a job (Her adventure ended within a couple of months. I think she was too excited to actually think about her ability to do the job).

Anyway, while the twenty-somethings in my training class went out and played on a free day (while still trying to “figure me out”), I was in my hotel room working to clean up my old life – house, writing clients, meeting planning clients, financial stuff and, oh yes, the infamous mortgage modification (got it!). I E-mailed my friend Stewart for advice as I was feeling very antsy about my new role and Stewart had done the whole off/on ship thing before. His insights provided me with a bit of perspective – “Well. . . some of them will calm down. You, you will remain a novelty to many for quite a while.” As I had become used to being called many things throughout my trials and tribulations these past few years – snarky, scrappy, quirky and Elvis (long story) are a few that come to mind – “a novelty” was now added to that list.

Once I boarded the ship I’m sure there was talk. There were certainly looks. I decided to embrace my new found geriatric life. I became the mysterious and wise older woman. OK, maybe that was just in my head. My staff called me Grandma. Really? In the spirit of my newly embraced older-woman identity, I decided to comment to a staff member celebrating his 23 birthday – “Hey Frankie, in June I will be exactly twice as old as you.” His cute 23 year old grin made me think the proverbial Cougar might not be a bad thing to be.

I was a bit taken aback when my staff decided to throw an 80’s party – the decade in which most were born (one could have been my child if my 1983 prom date hadn’t turned out to be gay). One had a T-shirt that read, “I remember the 80’s. . . all 10 days I was there.” Ouch, waiter, some Metamucil please.

So now I am on vacation. I will enjoy times with my friends – both younger and older – while not being concerned about a number. After all, I’m still 28 in my head.

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