Here's another 21st century foible that enrages me; after someone asks you what you're doing, even if you tell them you're running a triathlon in Papua New Guinea or shooting a sex scene with Nicole Kidman, the person who's asking says, "And what are you doing next?" In the Olden Days, (as my kids call it, meaning ten years ago) the greeting was, "How are you?" and even if you were in chemo you'd say, "Fine" and that was that. Life was simple. Now, we ask each other, "What are you doing?" Whatever you answer no matter how insurmountable the list is, the next line is, "And what's next?" If you haven't got a 'next', boy, are you crossed off the invitation list; you're socially dead. What's with the urgency to know what someone's doing in the future? I don't even know where I am in the present. We might both be run over by a truck in the next hour, what does it help knowing what's next? Why is enough never enough and exactly how much are we supposed to accomplish in one lifetime? There must be a fear that if we aren't doing something, all the time, we'll just grind to a halt. Therefore we go from one next to another like we're all on some obsessive game show with no end.
Last week was the most incredible week of my life; I got an OBE and then worked at MI5 the following day. I never thought I'd say that combination of letters and numbers relating to me. That combo was not part of my destiny... ever. You'd think if you told someone that you got an OBE and worked at MI5, the next question would be, "Why?" Nope, I told someone and they asked me what I was doing next without skipping a beat.
Ok, for those of you who might be curious to know what I was doing at MI5 or maybe you're not interested because it's in the past and not the future, I went there to talk about mindfulness and how it helps people think clearly in stressful situations. It's not hard to imagine why thinking clearly and staying calm might be of interest to people fighting terrorism.
It was a thrill to go there, I can tell you. I changed clothes over twenty-four times to find something appropriate for the occasion. When I got there they couldn't have been more welcoming, telling me about what really goes on. They said it's not like in James Bond films but to me that's exactly what it was. I spent some time talking to Director General Andrew Parker who was incredibly compassionate toward the people who worked with him. What I picked up was that they take care of each other like they're all one big family. They can't tell anyone what they do for a living so of course, it makes sense that they help each other. Afterwards, I had lunch with seven members of staff; so smart and yet sensitive (not a common combination.) After that we moved to a larger room where I did my show for 500 staff members.
Here I am with Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker - this is the safest I've ever felt.
All I can say to anyone in the UK is that you can feel safe - you're in good hands.
So that's what I did last week and as far as events in my life so far, that's my trump card, I can't throw a higher one, unless I start taking up Cha Cha classes with Michelle Obama. Even if that really happened, I know there's some idiot out there who would ask me, "So what are you going to do after that?"