The crowds were 4 rows deep at the Union Square station in NYC and I needed to get uptown to 86th street to Barnes and Nobles. I was getting worried that I would be late to my author interview where there were at least 100 people coming. I was psyched to interview author Barbara Hannah Grufferman about her new book “Love Your Age.”
As I pressed into the train car I came face to face with a lovely young woman (in her 20’s). The only thing separating us were our pocketbooks.
Frazzled, I looked into this young girl’s eyes and without her asking me any questions, I just started chattering.
“Phew, I was so worried I wouldn’t get into this train because I can’t be late. I have an interview uptown with an author who has just released her new book.”
“Really, that’s so cool, what is the book?”
“It’s called “Love Your Age” and it’s for people way older than you, like your mom’s age.”
“I would really love to read a book about loving my age, are you sure it’s not appropriate for me?”
“How old are you?’
“Oh, are you working in the city?”
“Yes, it’s my first job and I really like it.”
“That’s awesome, it must be exciting to live in New York City, loving your first job? Why do you need help with loving your age? What are you worried about?”
“It’s hard to be 23, I want to know what’s going to happen to me in the next few years. It’s hard not to know. Will I meet someone and will I marry? What will my career look like.”
The bodies behind her lurched forward and I was jolted into the man behind me, but we did not lose our connection.
I could feel her anxiety and I was instantly back in that moment of being a parent. I was thinking about the up coming “March For Our Lives.” I was thinking about the fundraising email I had received that day from a friend working to help young adults with suicide prevention. I was thinking about the stress of social media on kids and how it looks like everyone else has it so together.
“I understand, I truly understand the worry you are talking about.” And, we continued to chat about it until I off-loaded at 86th street.
I arrived on time at the immense Barnes and Nobles and was whisked into the green room by my friend and author Barbara Hannah Grufferman. There was a terrific crowd waiting and we made our entrance to wonderful applause and it all felt so exciting. I was thrilled to have been asked to interview her.
And so we began. We talked about Loving Your Age and what that entails. We talked about her unique story and how she came to embrace her age. We talked about her chapter on health, food and then we started to talk about friendship, happiness and acceptance.
There were at least 10 young adults in the room (in their 20’s), and although I didn’t know I would say what came next, it just felt so relevant. I began to tell the story of my conversation with the girl on the train, and then I asked the group…
“Have any of you ever loved your age?”
Barbara, of course said she did and that is why we all want her book but not everyone in the room loved their age.
One young woman said, “I am 25 years old and I find it very difficult to love my age. My friends feel the same way. We are all very anxious about our careers and finding relationships.”
And then she asked, “Do you have any advice?”
And, I answered her. “You are struggling with the same thing at your age that we are at our age. You are struggling with uncertainty. The only difference is, we have been around a lot longer and have had plenty of experience with this uncertainty thing. We have seen and lived uncertainty and know deep within our fibers that we cannot control many elements in our lives. As such, we’ve had to practice using tools that are also available to you.”
She agreed that she too had tools but it was hard to use them. We talked about how today “living in the moment” has become mainstream but it’s hard to practice. We talked about meditation and yoga and gratitude. The entire room offered up tools that helped them to embrace and live each day fully and not get too far ahead of themselves.
It was an incredibly satisfying turn of events a lot of which is covered in Barbara’s book.
Barbara has clearly written a gem that strikes an important chord for all generations, not just BA50s. And, when we get off track and need to be reminded to Love our Age, this book is one more tool to have to put in our toolbox.