Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate |

Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate

Alison BerkleyThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

I can’t believe another 10 years have passed.I am hitting that age when the passage of time is starting to sneak up on me. My friend’s kids who were babies yesterday are getting their driver’s licenses. My little brother is going bald. I look at all those high school boyfriends I reunited with on Facebook this year and they all look old, fat and bald. I would have rather remembered them all as they were before, but oh well. Technology comes with a price.Still, the passage of time freaks me out because I haven’t changed. I feel the exact same way I did when I was 15. That doesn’t change the fact that four decades have now passed and time hasn’t stopped or even slowed down. It’s only going by faster. Here’s what I’ve seen so far, by the decade.1970s: I was born on an Air Force base in Shreveport, La. I was born cross-eyed. We had a multi-colored shag rug in our living room. We drove to Vail over Loveland Pass because the Eisenhower Tunnel hadn’t been built yet. My Dad had a green metallic Mustang. Someone stole it by starting it with a screwdriver. The Beatles’ red and blue albums were always playing. Our house burned down and my typewriter melted. My Dad had a hi-fi stereo with giant speakers and headphones the size of earmuffs. My brother was born. I loved “Mork & Mindy,” Wonder Woman, and the Bionic Man. 1980s: I had my birthday party at the roller skating rink three years in a row. We wore velour shirts over turtlenecks and corduroy Levis and down vests made by a company called CB. We made ribbon barrettes and feathered our hair and listened to Loverboy and Van Halen and Def Leppard. I was into gymnastics. We got Atari. We got touch-tone phones and a remote control TV. My parents installed a second phone number for me to have my own private line because I was on the phone all the time so no one could get through. I worshipped Eric Estrada and never missed “ChiPs” on TV. Everything in my bedroom had a rainbow theme, even my drapes and bedspread. I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.I went to prep school and met a lot of screwed-up rich kids. We wanted to be hippies and followed the Grateful Dead. We played lacrosse and drank vodka during study hall and did LSD at prom. My dorm floor had one pay phone, and we constantly fought over it. I spent my senior year of high school in Madrid, Spain. I tried hash. I drank a lot. I got really fat and came home a Europhile. I watched my mom do Jane Fonda’s Workout in front of the TV jumping up and down in her leotard and leggings and thought she was unsophisticated. I wished I could smoke in front of her because my Spanish mom let me smoke.1990s: Money was never an issue. There seemed to be plenty of it. I lived in Boulder in a studio apartment on 9th and Arapahoe that cost $400/month. I had an Apple computer, one of those old little gray ones with the tiny screen. I had my first e-mail account but didn’t use it. I worked for a snowboarding magazine that paid me nothing but gave me an unlimited travel budget and the freedom to send myself on assignments to wherever I wanted. I had my first cell phone. I had a company credit card and a company travel agent who booked all our flights and would send our tickets FedEx. I went on heli trips and snowcat trips and stayed in the best hotels. Snowboarding made its Olympic debut in Nagano in ’98. Our magazine thought it might be a good idea to create a website so we could cover the event online. I thought the Internet was lame. I wanted to work in print. I saw my job as online editor as a demotion and quit.2000s: The turn of the millennium was all about the dotcom boom. The world didn’t end. I got a big job at a small startup for a ridiculously high salary. I got a dog. I moved to San Francisco. I got laid off eight months after I was hired. Tech stocks were up. I leased a VW Turbo Beetle. Tech stocks dropped. I blew up the engine on my Beetle and turned it in. I cashed in what was left of my stocks and bought an ’88 Jeep Cherokee for $2,500. Turned out my dog was psycho. I moved to Aspen. I became a newspaper columnist. I put my dog on anti-depressants. I tried cocaine. I bought a fur coat. I bought an expensive ski jacket. I dyed my hair dark brown. I tried hair extensions and dyed my hair back to blonde. I tried Botox. I lost 25 pounds. I became a yoga instructor. The economy crashed. I put my dog down. I fell in love. I gained 10 pounds. I moved in with my boyfriend. I fell in love with his dog. I left the yoga studio and went back to Jean Robert’s gym. I lost five of the 10 pounds I gained. I dyed my hair even blonder. I discovered happiness isn’t something you can wear or buy or see in the mirror. It’s laughing every single day at least once, at least hard enough that your sides hurt. It’s embracing the people in your life who allow you to feel that abandon. It’s understanding that the passage of time means it’s more important than ever to live in each and every moment.Here’s to the new decade, and to all a hearty laugh.

The Princess wants to say a special thank you to Jean Robert, Bernadette and Sarah Rock for all their love and support. Send your love to

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