At the age of 60published: 2010-03-17
I’m mastering the art of reconnecting with people I knew fifteen years ago. I mean the people you used to hang out with in bars and so on, but never really entered into a meaningful relationship with. Perhaps never even had a decent conversation with. The kind of relationship that -in a way- feels like unfinished business. Mind you, there’s a distinct difference between that kind of a relationship and the intimate relationship one has ended/lost touch with etc. Reuniting with the latter category of person after fifteen years is never a good idea.
So, today I had lunch with someone I used to be friends with in the Caribbean. He invited me to Linkedin. Back then, he was the life-enjoying, perpetual bachelor. You could literally see him heading straight for disaster. Because it’s all fun when you’re 30. But what happens when you’re 60? And alone?
In fact, I based my new novel on this archetype, the hedonistic male. Indeed, what actually does happen when life takes a unforeseeable turn at age 60 and leads to a head-on collision with your choices?
I checked out his website. He had always been a banker and so it surprised me to enter a virtual realm of pastel-tones, which embedded his equally as soft-focused photo. He is now a life-coach, a weight consultant.
It was good to see him. I don’t recall him ever having looked at me before, not even while we were chitchatting over beers. There was always a more sexy stewardess or intern hovering around. But now, he did. Not only was he looking at me, he was also listening to me. We actually spoke. About his life and mine, about nuances, and about the projection of personal issues on our surroundings. Life-coach and weight consultant. He is helping people.
I ate a sandwich with loads of cheese without for a second feelng uncomfortable. And so did he. I told him about my novel and he asked, “so how does it end?” I said that with a novel like mine, how a character deals with misfortune depends on the writer’s view of the world. “Personally, I don’t believe people are capable of change,” is what I said.
He nodded. Which confirmed that this does not hold true. It does not depend on the writer’s view of the world, but on that one little word some people (therefore characters) are capable of gaining, and others aren’t: insight.
I asked him, “what would be your greatest fear for when you’re 60?” It didn’t take him long to answer, “to be alone.”