What Speaking on a Cruise Ship Taught Me About Being a Superlifer
I am having so much fun being a guest blogger on Sixty and Me. The strength and vibrancy of this community is amazing and I love interacting with you all.
My book Success at 60+ is about sharing our strengths and experiences. It is also about being authentic. As such, I feel right at home here on this site. I hope you do too!
The encouragement we all give each other is invaluable. Even if you are in a relationship, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. A quick glance at the Sixty and Me website tells you that you are among friends again!
Unexpected Events Bring Big Changes
What is interesting, when you turn from a mediocre oldie into a positive Superlifer, is that things begin to happen and not necessarily in the ways that you expect. It is now one year since my father died; he was the last of the older generation for whom I had been caring.
For 15 years, I had been in a static situation. Then, all of a sudden, I was free to do all kinds of different things. In the last year, I have downsized and written Success at 60+ with my friend Bridget. Today, I want to tell you about my next step.
Authenticity Wins the Day
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Bridget and I auditioned as cruise speakers on success at 60+. It was an interesting experience, not the least of which because we got to listen to the other aspiring applicants.
There was a stunt man, a balloonist, a female explorer and an eighty-year-old, who had just taken up roller blading for charity. It was a complete eye opener.
For me, who had never done a power point presentation in earnest before, it was interesting to say the least.
Authenticity won the day for us. Both Bridget and I are passionate about our subject and we didn’t worry about what anyone else thought. We were simply ourselves – and the feedback was amazing!
Are You Prepared to Be a Superlifer?
Four days after we were signed on as guest enrichment speakers, we got “The Call.” Could you cruise to the Mediterranean in 10 days’ time, they asked? We had been told it would be 3 months before we got a cruise, so our bluff had been well and truly called. Were we up to the challenge?
Unfortunately, it was the most inconvenient time to travel for both of us. I had a visitor coming to stay, a diabetic husband and a dog with a bad leg. Bridget has a similar list of challenges.
Up to that minute, I had always fielded everything for everyone. I consulted my husband who said “Are you a Superlifer or not?” I consulted Bridget who said, “Oh, I can’t go.” I asked her the same question my husband had just asked me and she instantly made the decision be positive.
We were Superlifers after all.
My new lodger would take care of the diabetic bits, my husband would fly the dog to his operation and my visitor would be very supportive. I was not indispensable after all…
Determination is More Important than Talent
We were not out of the woods yet. Having agreed to go, I discovered that I was required to have 6 months on my passport and I only had 4. Living on a little island, I had to fly to another city and request fast track service for my passport. It was tricky in the extreme.
I used the limpet technique, which is to stand your ground until someone, somewhere comes up with a solution. That weekend, I was singing in a choral competition, but, my mind was not on the music. It was looking for solutions.
Ultimately, I was saved by a gardener, who agreed to sign for my passport in my absence.
Eventually, Bridget and I stepped aboard the cruise ship with its 750 passengers in a state of exhaustion. My visitor had, by that time, given me a stinking cold, but, nothing could deter us now. Our lectures were cut from 5 to 3, so, we had to re write the entire programme. No problem! We loved every minute of it!
Only Dead Ducks Go With the Flow
Every morning, I ran around the top deck for 20 minutes to counterbalance the delicious food we were given. I met bird watchers, dancers, engineers and a BBC cameraman. The passengers all thought I was mad, but keeping fit is a key to being a Superlifer. Besides, being authentic has always pays off for me in the end.
Being British, I have to comment on the weather… the Bay of Biscay was kind to us but we hit a terrific storm at Corfu. Our ship bobbed around like a cork in a whirl pool. Luckily, neither of us got sick, but, we were glad we didn’t have to do a talk the day after.
Two ports had to be aborted because the weather made it impossible to dock. Luckily, the storm had abated by the time we got to Athens and took our flight home.
Interaction Weaves an Unbreakable Bond
The passengers were, on the whole, lovely and supportive. They were genuinely interested in what we had to say, as was the very young Cruise director.
Many of the passengers listened to our talks from their cabins as they were broadcast both live and the following day. We had a mix of men and women in our audience, but, one thing was clear – they were all keen on embracing the Superlifer ethic.
So many amazing people told us about their adventures as Superlifers. They were piloting gliders, learning to make lace, learning baroque instruments and dancing. In short, they were living life to the full.
The other lecturers offered plenty of great advice and we learned a lot!
I had expected to enrich the lives of the other passengers. In reality, I think that Bridget and I gained the most from the experience.
Under clear blue Mediterranean skies, we were living the Superlifer dream. Every amazing person we met taught us something new about ourselves and showed us what being a Superlifer is all about.
What have you done recently that scared you? What new skills are you currently learning and why? What does being a Superlifer mean to you? Please join the conversation.