Yes, experience is the knowledge or mastery of an event or subject gained through involvement, observation or exposure. But while some search for answers through travels, walkabouts, group activity, the bible, or therapy to help them better understand the meaning of life, I talk to people. For me, experiences may be the single most important commodity in life. The encounters you have with people, by chance or by choice.
I’ve spent a lifetime venturing into situations and positions sometimes with wild abandonment, catching and juggling wild fastballs along the way. Sometimes slow-moving opportunities which have taken years to manifest to have experiences with interesting people, or at least that’s the goal. It’s simple. To know people, you must be with the people…all the people.
Many I've worked with and for and remained friends with throughout the years, the list is long. A list spanning politicians, diplomats and celebrities, the best and brightest financiers, some of the biggest rock stars in the world to a monk and three shamans. Some are commoners who were just happy to engage in meaningful nostalgic conversation on the street.
Nothing is ever as it seems, nor are people. Public persona and private lives are quite different. Much to my chagrin, some people and experiences have been so boring I've ask myself, “what the hell, what was I thinking?” Sometimes I've stumbled upon the next happening and it’s been very innocent and unexpected. Sometimes it’s Pandora’s Box when Schrödinger's Cat would have been acceptable. Sometimes, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the butterfly effect and/or the roller coaster ride. I certainly do love a good ride.
I’ve gin and tonic’d with a King and a Queen and many times (un)knowingly rubbed elbows with top models and celebrities. I've even been lost in homes 50,000 sq. ft. in size - I chalked it up to a great party. Once I met a Prince whose namesake is a practical joke in a can and was tempted to ask if he’d heard the joke; the other two over champagne across the pond. I’ve relaxed in parlours visiting with the eldest most well-known banking and museum family in Manhattan to sitting on the bed visiting with the surviving sibling of a beloved, but cursed American political family. And then a Sheikh with 19 wives to my favorite late cereal heiress who was a 50s and 60s actress as well.
Let’s not forget meeting with a member of one of New York’s eccentric, possibly crazy real estate families who undressed me with her eyes. And then off to sip tea in an Upper East Side mansion with the heiress of a famed household brand whose products I’ve used since I was a toddler. A chance meeting only to learn your pizza infused chatter was with the female journalist who was the first to report the death of Anwar Sadat live by telephone from Egypt and then two of the other greatest female pioneers in that same field. One, I spent the day with laughing and mimicking Young Frankenstein. And yes, the late great unfiltered acerbic comedienne and the hundreds of others in between.
With a million tales left to accumulate and so little time to share them, I'm looking forward to the next few thousand experiences. It's good to be me, professionally human, sometimes.
Copyright 2018. Kelly Strantz. All rights reserved.
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste
experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer
and richer experience.
- Eleanor Roosevelt