At a conference this week talking with a lovely 24 year old intern at the company. She’s working 24/7 this week but keeps smiling. She informed me that as soon as she flies home on Tuesday, she packs up her camping gear and goes to a music festival for 4 days where she’s put in another round of 24/7 days.
I was incredulous figuring out all the logistics. I kept saying “but you’re barely home 24 hours, do you have all your camping gear out already”? Oh no she assured me, she had to find it all, make sure she had the tent pegs, find clothes and head out the door. And she kept smiling saying how fun it would be.
Smiling politely I agreed it would be ‘total funsies’ and she’d have a great time and I walked away feeling old. No way would I ever be able to fly in one day and camp the next. No way would I put in the hours she is doing.
And I looked at her sweet face and remembered back when I did the very same thing. Where I sucked the marrow out of every opportunity and thought nothing of driving all night to get to someone’s birthday party. Or drove over the border just to get some good Mexican food. Then order extra and drive all the way back just to surprise an old college roommate with some (although she still fails to see the excitement in all my hard workJ)
Was I really old? Was I outdated, out of touch and feeble? I joined the roundtable discussion later in the conference and sat with accomplished women who were strong and voiced what they believed. And suddenly I was proud of myself, proud of the years I’ve lived and learned. And I didn’t feel old. If I really wanted to, I could run home, dig out my camping gear and drive 4 hours north to camp on the beach, I really could. But I didn’t want to and I didn’t have to. I’ve got a few years on me but I wear them proudly, I am vintage and therefore, I am worth a whole lot more.