‘You know, Yolo?’ he said. To which I replied with a rather confused stare. I clearly had no clue what the boy (yes he was a boy), was talking about, but didn’t want to show myself up. I was attending the wedding of SO’s (significant other) school friend and was horrified when we arrived to see that apart from the page boy and flower girl the only other guests under the age of 45 were myself and said boy at the bar. Just to clarify I’m the wrong side of 30 and the boy was probably about 20.
I had snuck away from the speeches to have a quick shot of vodka at the bar. A bid to try and make the conversation with the mainly strangers around my table a little more free flowing. There are only so many times you can ask ‘And how do you know the Bride?’ before it becomes a cross between the type of polite conversation you have at the hairdressers and the more painful attempts at chat you have during the dreaded dentist’s visit.
I smiled politely as I downed the shot and nodded at the rather cute and more my age barman for a second, the boy who was now looking strangely amused asked me what the hurry was and the next minute he had half my life story. From the failed marriage in the UK, to two children here and SO’s lack of work life balance.
Poor lad probably wished he had never caught my eye over a Grey Goose chaser. After joining me for my third, his first, he made what was to be the life changing ‘Yolo’ comment. He saw my confusion and in a rather loud whisper (i.e. are you thick or deaf?) sarcastically explained ‘It means you only live once.’ Now, whilst I have always preferred what I think to be the more sophisticated expression of Carpe Diem, I got his meaning immediately – get on with your life and stop moaning, if you’re not happy do something about it, you’re not a tree, you can move you know?
Now this was actually the second event to bring about the cataclysmic change of mind set.
The first had happened the weekend before after a particularly dusty adventure in the loft looking for a pair of neon orange leg warmers (another story), when I stumbled upon a scrap book made by my best friend before I skipped across the pond to live here in Jersey.
Full of photographs, which can never be seen by those outside of the circle of trust, to tickets from nightclubs and evidence of what had then been a risqué and rather scandalous coming of age. Who knew your boobs would fit perfectly into a pair of soup ladles? Did I really look delectable standing on a balcony with only a bed sheet protecting my modesty welcoming new guests to the hotel I was staying in? Remember this was Gran Canaria 1990s and not Magaluf, 2014! Thank God this was before camera phones and social media. If they existed then I probably wouldn’t have the job I have now or maybe I was always meant to be an exotic dancer? …I digress.
Strangely, as much as I don’t want to see if said boobs will still fit into soup ladles or snog loads of blokes whilst pretending to work for MTV with a hand held video camera (remember it was the 1990s), I had started to crave a bit of fun but how his would fit into my very normal but incredibly predictable, boring life? How can a wife, mother, professional (sometimes) and generally rule abiding Jersey citizen inject a bit of fun without getting arrested, sacked, divorced or even worse, all three?
Both events got me thinking. How could a stranger, a boy at that, be qualified to give me advice and why was I even considering it? Was it advice or was it really his observations of a slightly tipsy older woman having a bit of a crisis? Or actually is the difference between the sexes? Do men and women behave differently in a crisis?
It’s no secret that the fairer sex like to share their tales, aspirations and desires with their dearest girlfriends over a bottle of wine or in my case a large shot of distilled Russian ‘water’. Whilst the more, shall we say, gruff sex likes to keep their feelings and fantasies hidden somewhere between their bottle of Bud and their phone. Does this mean that by sharing our thoughts women are seeking the ‘permission’ of their inner circle to be a little crazy, make changes or decisions about their future?’
I decided to ask a dear male colleague his view on the topic, I recounted my ‘YOLO’ moment and his reply was oh so simple. That men really don’t have the need to overanalyse everything with their male counterparts like women do. They are more likely to be impulsive and probably won’t try to find a reason for their behaviour, even after the event. Whilst us girls feel the need to share and over think everything!
So back to me, here I am on my journey to well, not sure really, rediscovery? I am sure it will be over analysed during the wee small hours and I will try to make it acceptable to everyone around me. Some would call it an early mid life crisis. I think I prefer the word ‘Reinvention’. Just remember what the Chinese said, it could be dangerous, it could be an opportunity – or I think it could be both. So if you see me around, just remember to hide the soup ladles.