When he was a teenager in North London, Hambis Charalambous used to persuade his friend to take him to Heathrow Airport. He’d get a coffee and watch the people arrive and depart, dreaming of the day he could do the same. To America, specifically: the land of big, loud cars, open skies and beautiful women.
By the end of the 70s, he’d fulfilled his dream and joined his idols Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen in the land of their birth. If you’ve ever passed by a bus stop or a billboard with a Mad Max or Entourage poster, you’ve seen the 52-year-old creative director’s work. But it’s the way he’s lived his life beyond the office that inspired us.
He surfs during the week and works out with a trainer on the weekends. He accumulates bikes and cars like some do potted plants. And his quiver of surfboards is the envy of the group of 50-something surfers with whom he hits Southern California breaks. Sometimes, he’ll join a group of friends on an 8-hour Ducati ride up to Monterey, trying to recapture the thrill he felt as an amateur motorcycle racer.
“I believe in glory,” he says, “doing something that’s romantically bigger than the life that you’ve got.”
For Hambis, the coming years aren’t a warning sign, but an opportunity to go faster, to “devour everything,” as he puts it. “Living in the present is important,” he says. “I’m getting more out of my life if I live in the present. I’ve started to realize that.” Hambis is an Ageist hero.
As a risk-embracing 52-year-old with miles to go, he ignores most of the advertising targeted at him. And the conversation around aging leaves him feeling out of place.
“It’s all Viagra, and how to save your colon from cancer,” he says. “It’s fucking bullshit. It’s like, get your fucking checkups and you’ll be fine. I’ve been getting proactive with my health because I want to play more.”