Turned 80 last week. Extremely odd. Not creepy, exactly, but damned odd. I couldn’t believe it had anything to do with me, but, um, it did.
Then everything got real easy… JOYOUS in fact.
Because two old pals threw a party for me on Thursday night that was the best party most of us had ever been to. AND an astonishing LAUNCH into my 80’s. There were perhaps 140 close friends at a lovely old club on the park. Black tie, splendid food (not sit-down, but informal little tables which made it much cozier). music, and endless caviar. Literally… we never ran out of caviar; not so common. And wonderful speeches… from our three children, two grandchildren and a raft of close friends. Good speeches, too, that they’d worked on and cared about. Smart, funny, literate… the works. It was a LIMBIC BATH… the most loving and coziest event of a lifetime.Talk about a great send-off: it was so warm and the remarks of all the pals – conspicuously including Harry and Jen – were so generous that (at this late stage in life), I found myself thinking about myself or seeing myself in a slightly different, calmer and more generous light. And darned if it did not make me a little more optimistic and determined about the stuff I want to DO in the next ten years, or whatever I get. But the most important thing was the deep sense of love and support as I head into what may, at times, be stormy seas. The most important thing, Harry said, as you turn 80, is to have some emotional capital… friends, family, people and things you care about a lot and that care about you. And the lovely point of the elegant night was that I was setting off on this leg of the journey with a boatload of social capital… as much as anyone could dream of. SO lucky.And so grateful.
It was a balmy Indian Summer night and there was a terrace, overlooking the park… a whole floor of the big brownstone…half a dozen big rooms. A very hot D.J. for dancing, and a very cool terrace for cooling down. Closed down the club at midnight…went on with 15 or so to an all-night bistro. Stayed up till 2. Like kids, by heaven.
A highlight… along with the toasts: Hilary’s birthday present was to paint a full, oil portrait of, um, me. Big sucker, too, and about the best thing she’s ever done. Just wonderful I hope she’ll post a pictures of it (and the night) soon, but she’s on her way out to Aspen for the next Total Immersion Week.
I’m off to Toronto now, for a talk today. Then Aspen for the Immersion Week (life goes on, thank heaven). Then the Head of the Charles row on October 18. After that, on to what some people say – and this cannot be true, can it? – will be the best decade yet. So far, my 70’s were the best. If this decade can hold a candle to that… yippee, skippee. I’ll work on it (watch for the new novel and Lord knows what). Gonna be fun. God bless us, every one. Chris
I envy your participation in the Head of the Charles. I’m 71 and took up rowing a single 4 years ago. Loved it!! Beautiful sport. Moved here to Gainesville, FL a year ago where there is also a rowing club. But–they row in the evening when the water is choppy, and the lake is filled with alligators. Yikes! I guess in a college town even the locals don’t like to get up early. I gave it the ole college try at the rowing club for 4 months, but somehow it never “clicked.” I’m sad. I’m working at finding another sport. Have a great time (and good results) at the Charles.
Happy Birthday, belated! You continue to be an inspiration. Thank you, and enjoy the fall in CO. Here in Jackson Hole it’s already cold, but nice hiking weather.
What is the next novel?
Too soon to tell…