So this is how the TEDx played out. I arrived on the 25th and went directly to my friend Janet’s apartment (where I was staying). The next day I had a little private meeting with the organizer, whom I had never met. She was not a disappointment!
We had a ½ hour consultation and she was dynamite. Her name is Elizabeth Barry and she is a branding consultant with a lot of good ideas! She was the person that put this all together. That night she had a cocktail party where we met all the speakers that had arrived. Some were still coming in (from Chicago, LA, etc). They were all great! Each of them had a very interesting twist on “It’s about time,” from talking about the whales to motherhood, helping refugees, to growing up gay and black in the “hood” and more. We had all met and read our speeches a couple of weeks before via a phone conference, so we felt like old friends when we finally saw each other! I was the oldest by 35 to 40 years but it didn’t matter a bit. We all wanted each other to succeed!
That night my son flew in from Atlanta and he and I had a special dinner date at the Baccarat. It is so rare we get to be together just the two of us. It was wonderful to catch up. It meant so much to me that he took this time to be there and he was really in it! My husband Bob was nursing his bad back in Santa Barbara, so it was really nice to have Jim there!
After dinner I went back to Janet’s for a good night sleep because I had to be up at 7:30 a.m. to be at the theatre at 9:30 a.m., dressed, made up and ready to go for the day! At 3:30 a.m. I was still tossing and turning, going over the speech and the rest of my life. I did finally fall asleep and got up and made it to the theatre in time! Nerves were running high and we all (the speakers) were practicing our speeches in the halls, in the green room in the bathroom and all over the place. The audience started filling in. Jim and various friends came in and I was a wreck!
TEDx Upper West Women streamed from San Francisco for a few hours for us to watch in New York. They are the mother load as far as TED conferences go; there were all wonderful talks. Then it was lunch break and soon after our turn to go live. I was number four. When they called my name it became a blur (a delicious blur) and soon I was up the stairs (in my high heels) and giving my speech. I really don’t remember the rest but I know I finished and heard the applause. Only later did I find out I received a standing “O.” All the speakers came up on the stage and we all hugged and were so relieved. Everyone did great!! We now had Ted Cred (as they say). I won’t forget any of them! It was over, except for the fun!
There was a party for everyone at a cute restaurant that Elizabeth arranged, and Jim and I went to say goodbye to everyone and then we went to Shun Lee where Jim hosted a dinner for my friends who had come, including Edwina Rogers from Washington DC, CEO of Global Healthspan Policy Institute and her new husband and Global Healthspan Fellow, Dr. Greg Neimeyer. As a patient advocate for the Global Healthspan Policy Institute it turns out that I offer more than inspiration- I offer demonstration that we have the ability to shed so many of our antiquated ideas about aging in favor of the headlong pursuit of better understanding, and managing the aging process and keeping ourselves healthy longer.
I feel grateful, still excited (I’m waiting for the crash) and humbled that I feel strong and healthy enough to do this. I feel overwhelmingly lucky that I have to say what my mother always said when anything too good to be true happened, “Poo Poo Poo” (for those of you not Jewish, or under the age of 65, that is to ward off the evil spirits).
So I guess, at 82, I have my feet in two worlds, the world I remember from my mother with all the old wisdom and superstitions and the world I now inhabit, in New York getting TED CRED.
All in all, a peak experience!
Auntie Mame said, “Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death.”
You know what? I’m still hungry!!
Beverlye Hyman Fead