I have been meeting a lot of new people lately as my husband and I have settled into our winter life in Park City, Utah for the second year. And so, at every new social introduction I am greeted with the same question.
“It’s so nice to meet you? What do you do?”
Where do I begin at the ripe age of 60 plus? There’s so much to say. This simple question is the ultimate distillery of how I see myself. Thinking about how to answer this question, what to say first has moved me from an auto pilot response to a reflection about what to convey from the outset.
How do I see myself? Do I even like the headline that I’m about to share when meeting someone new?
“I’m a life long ski fanatic…that’s why we are out here. But I work as well. I’m a writer and publisher. I have an on-line magazine…..”
“Ugggh, pull back on the reins old girl, that’s just too much,” I tell myself.
So many decades of living have resulted in a full mantle of mini monikers…a mini series thick with multiple seasons. A bookshelf full of titles and chapters that need serious editing. But which one to pull off of the shelf first and share?
Relatability is always a great way to meet and greet. “Did you say you have 3 sisters?” But, this can only go so far at the outset. Being the 3rd of 4 girls and what that really means will have to wait for the second or third encounter. There’s just too much there.
“This is my husband and we have been married for 13 years.” The raised eyebrow invites an explanation about my second husband. And I can see I have some explaining to do. But really, do I need to say I am widowed? That just sends the whole meet and greet on a trajectory that kills the vibe.
And then, I sense I may be losing interest when I get into too much detail of any kind. They have that obligatory look of having to ask a follow up question so I help them out of their misery and go for pure confection.
“I’m hoping my grandkids come out here this season, I’m a Nana and it’s a blast.” 100 Percent of the time, that’s a grabber. I’ve got their attention. And if they are Nana’s they’ve got mine. So for my newest meet and greets, that is the winning headline.
But the truth is there are so many headlines of our lives to start with at this ripe age. And, the headlines of life get reordered depending on the room we are entering.
Today for instance I’m leading a workshop with another writing coach and I haven’t met any of the women who have registered. So, I started thinking, what slice of life would create the best connection? I have been teaching and publishing magazines for over 20 years. So, it makes sense to say just that because, why the hell should anyone come to my writing workshop just because I posted it on our Instagram page.
But the truth is, although I have spent my entire adult life writing and in the publishing field, there is so much that is new to me and I am always learning and frankly don’t want to appear “the expert.”
I didn’t know a damn thing about on-line publishing when I launched BA50 in 2011. And, frankly, I’m still learning new stuff every day. I mean social media is a high speed train that although I’m on it, I have no idea where it’s going half that time.
“You. need to make “reels” on instagram to get more followers,” says my social media expert. It’s the way the platform is moving.
“Oy, more selfies – more reels?”
But I digress. Back on the shelf goes that chapter for now. I’m off to ski before the workshop and when I’m on the chairlift and the person in the seat next to me asks about myself I will say, “I’m a thrill seeking 60 something ski bum…can you relate? ” And it could be the beginning of something really beautiful.