Things You Can Find in an Airport Bathroom

Posted on November 2, 2011

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The Sunday before last, I was invited to speak to a group of women in Hemet, CA.  I speak to a lot of women, and I speak mostly about life after 50.  My co-authors and I like to say that we are here to change the conversation about women over 50.  We’re pretty passionate about that.  It’s our vision.

I flew on two planes to Ontario, CA, then was picked up at the airport and driven an hour to Hemet.  Hours later, I was driven back to the airport in Ontario, occupied my time before the flight by getting my arm stuck in a vending machine, and took the first of three flights that would take me back to DC.  When I landed in Cleveland, I was at the end of flight #2 (or flight #12.  It was hard to tell at that point.).  I headed for the rest room.

A young woman was at the sink.  I had noticed her on the flight.  She and a young man who I assumed was her boyfriend had caught my eye.  She had an ever-so-slight bohemian air about her that reminded me of the best of the 60s.  I thought she and her boyfriend were both beautiful (I’m at that age now, when babies and shiny, fresh-faced youth can stop my heart).

I think my opening line to her might have been to tell her that I got my arm stuck in a vending machine in Ontario.  I felt like I had to tell someone why I was walking around with a purple forearm. When she didn’t flee, I was grateful.  We had a conversation, standing side by side at the sink.  I told her I was a writer and that I had a blog.  She told me she had a blog, as well.  In fact, two blogs. She told me she and her boyfriend had a blog together and that they wrote about boats.  I asked her if she and her boyfriend sailed and she said no, but that she wanted to someday.  She, the non-sailor, talked about the beauty of boats. Something about that got my attention, the way she spoke so passionately about sailing, as though it were happening right then at that moment, in that bathroom in the airport in Cleveland.  It’s that thing about vision that grabs me every time.  She asked for my contact info and I gave it to her.

I got an email from her today.  I was a bit stunned.  She told me how much she was enjoying my blog.  She gave me the link to hers.  I took a look.  I received far more than I expected.

I’ve spent the last six years talking to women over 50 about vision and power and reinvention.  It’s easy for me to forget that women who are technically young enough to be my granddaughter are coming of age in a world that places less and less value on insight and wisdom and quiet reflection.  That they are navigating waters controlled by a crushing popular media presence that dictates who and what they should be.  And that they, like the women I speak to, must sometimes fight to stand for who they are and not who others think they should be.

So here’s Kacey.  Twenty-one years old and ready to take on the world.  Reminding a 64-year-old that vision and wisdom and joy can be found in unexpected places, indeed.
                                     Kacey Anne                                                                

                                    The Bowsprit (Kacey and Taylor)

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