If there was one thing I learned on my recent Nomad cruise it’s that Millennials know how to have fun. They love to take risks and engage with each other.
We started our Mediterranean Cruise as 250 strangers and left as friends. There was a continuous dynamic connection, attraction and genuine interest in eachother. The young entrepreneurs and digital nomads I travelled with for 10 days had intense energy and a heartfelt passion for life.
All of this, of course, meant there were intense conversations, lots of bright ideas and nonstop hugs and tears. There was real authentic and truthful emotional sharing. And let’s be honest, there was also a lot of drinking, dancing and having fun!
At the end of the day, however, I realised that I couldn’t use any specific adjective to describe this group of people that I would not use to define the qualities of our community of 60-year-old women.
My fellow travellers were kind, thoughtful and intelligent. They were independent men and women looking for depth and intimacy in their relationships. These young people were trying to make money while travelling the world, creating a free lifestyle, on their own terms.
Their creativity comes as a response to a shift in the world we all work and live in. They saw a world of opportunity ahead of them and were courageous enough to jump right in!
The irony is that like many of us women over 60, they find themselves in a time of transition and opportunity.
Do you remember we used to have crazy times, too? We were the original rebels and bohemian innovators! Maybe some of you never stopped doing crazy things, but many did. What was the last spontaneous and fun adventure you had with friends – old or new? When was the last time you said to yourself, “why not”?
This cruise expanded my knowledge about how to engage in conversation with new people, ask open ended questions and then truly listen to the answers.
On this 10-day cruise I decided to stop saying ‘no’ to suggestions and ideas, weird as they might be. I tried to step outside my comfort zone and really let myself explore a variety of new things.
True, I was the oldest person on board, but when I shared that I was turning 70 this year, everyone applauded me with all their hearts. I burst into tears because they really meant it. Many later told me how I had inspired them to feel less apprehensive about getting older!
They shared that I had helped them to feel more comfortable with the aging process and that they loved our Sixty and Me community because it inspired them! Many mentioned that our desire to challenge aging stereotypes and reinvent ourselves gave them a better understanding of their own mothers.
So, what were the five things I learned from the people on our Nomad Cruise?
I noticed there was a genuine willingness to stay connected. We had a private Facebook group we used to reach out and invite people to shared activities.
Whether it was “Meet at the pool to see how many people we can fit in the hot tub,” or “Who is in Athens tonight and wants to go to an eclectic tour of the city?” there was always something going on.
Everyone felt as part of the crowd, always sharing and willing to listen to each other. They used Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels to share and connect.
Do you remember having that wonderful passion for life? To get together for a pub crawl, or just enjoy a gathering of like-minded friends?
When seeking to find like-minded people and make new friends, you very simply must be prepared to fail at connecting. If someone turns down your invitation, or does not reply to your request, remember – it’s no big deal!
My cruise friends taught me to stop worrying about rejection and to know in my heart that another opportunity and connection is always waiting just around the corner. If you reach out but no one responds to your invitation to an event, go anyway. If you really want to go, why lose the opportunity?
On board we had a series of scheduled talks and workshops, and people were invited to post “meetup” suggestions. Some had 20 responses, others had one. But each meetup took place, and the ones I attended were incredibly valuable!
Let me admit straight away that I did not jump in the hot tub with the wild and wonderful Millennials. But I did try to relax a bit, to join the ecstatic dancing and try new foods. On our tours I shared some of the wild and crazy things I used to get up to, to the amazement of my new friends.
They were shocked when I told them I had shaken hands with Paul McCartney and that I’d travelled to India with a backpack and $300, when the road from Delhi Airport into town was a dirt track.
Many women in our community have told me that they really don’t care what people think of them anymore, and yet they are afraid to go out of their houses and dance as if no one is looking. Trust me, I understand this contradiction.
Most of the people that I introduced to Sixty and Me were amazed that we reach more than 900,000 people via our website every month, and have 116,000 women over 60 who follow our Facebook page.
I know that it’s difficult to connect with people face-to-face, but there are so many women who share your interests and values worldwide. When we ask a question or you see a topic that is particularly interesting to you, keep the conversation going!
The main thing I learned from this group of Millennials is to just keep trying. If one configuration of people didn’t work, they would move on to another. At dinner, they would seek out people who they wanted to talk to or who seemed to have a similar perspective on life.
Maybe we should start a Sixty and Me recognition system of either wearing an identifying scarf or tying one to your handbag. Then, if you happen to go to a café, or walk down the street, and see someone with the scarf, you can say “hello!”
If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments section below.
Women in their 60s have had some heartbreaks and disappointments. We have been let down, hurt and pushed to our emotional limits. I get it. I honestly understand why we really have a fear of dreaming big because we either don’t feel we deserve it or have given up dreaming.
The reality is, if we stay healthy and well, we have decades ahead of us. According to the Census Bureau, 25% of us who live to 65 will live past 90. And each year we live past 65 improves our odds of living to or past 100. This means we have plenty of time to dream!
We can start a new business, move into a co-living arrangement with other women, move to a new house or even country. We have time to fall in love. We can volunteer, travel or work to manifest a big dream right where you are!
It could be a simple goal: to learn pottery, master a dance step, learn a new language, write a book. The options are endless.
The number of Nomad cruisers who told me they were writing a book made me smile. They were dreaming wild and had all-encompassing goals. I think we can learn a lot from their sense of passion and purpose!
If you are interested in the next Nomad Cruise it will be in November, 2018 travelling from Barcelona to Brazil. The application process will start soon here.
When was the last time that you allowed yourself to have fun? Do you think you take yourself a little too seriously or feel that you are too old to have big dreams? Let’s discuss all this in the comments below.
Tags Reinventing Yourself