We were boarding our chartered bus about to start a three-week tour of Britain with 30 strangers from all over the world. My mother, surveying the group, turned to me and whispered “Watch out for the old ones. They’ve got nothing to lose!”
I laughed. At the time, I was just 26. My mother’s warning conjured images of desperate men and women cornered in a final gun battle with the police. With nothing left to lose they were capable of anything.
These old people I was about to spend nearly a month with – what kind of geriatric desperados were they? Every day they defiantly stared down the Grim Reaper. They knew each day could be their last and they sucked the life out of every moment with gusto.
These bright-eyed people with nothing left to lose had done the hard work of living – jobs, mortgages, spouses, children, in-laws and all the other myriad adult decisions we have to make in a lifetime – done and dusted.
Now they could throw all caution to the wind. Carefree and thoroughly engaged in the world, they didn’t give a damn what anyone thought or said about them. They wore whatever pleased them. Said what was on their mind. They stayed up all night talking, laughing and dancing and ate pie for breakfast, if they wanted to.
As I remember them now, those people with nothing left to lose had it all.