My days are filled with continuous tasks. They are never ending and on one hand, I thank my lucky stars for them because I am never bored doing this and that. And, yet there is a part of me that says, I am missing something. I am missing stimulating conversations with women of substance. I noticed this happening when my life went into limbo during the lockdown brought on by the pandemic.
My philosophy about life is that everything bad can lead to Ah Ha moments of positive realizations and revelations. I decided, to my delight, I would not let loneliness become habit-forming. If you are lonely after 50, and I suspect you are, it is up to you to do something about it. I have some tips further down in my story.
A Serendipitous Meeting
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with Charlie in the elevator as we rode up to our condos. Nothing happens by accident. Our meeting was meant to be.
He was carrying a few loaves of bread. I had heard he baked bread every week and gave the delicious bread away to his neighbors. We chatted along with my Ultimate Concierge and another couple, and as he left the elevator he asked me, “What is your condo number? I want to drop off a loaf of my freshly baked bread.” I was elated.
Well, he not only dropped off the bread, he stayed for about 30 minutes. Our conversation, along with my Ultimate Concierge, was non-stop. I will share our conversation at another time, but it had to do with gathering people together to share their different interests through lively conversation.
I was overly stimulated with joy by our conversation because, in my opinion, almost every man, woman, and child worldwide is going through what I call a friendship recession. Why? Because of the lockdown and life after 50.
A friendship recession is painful but, like good chicken soup, it can free your soul because recessions of all types make one sit back and think.
I decided this week was the perfect time to authentically express my feelings concerning friendships after 50 because today is International Woman’s Day.
The Word, International
The word, international, speaks to me. It awakens in me a strong desire to reach out to women of all ages and nationalities who have wide-ranging and all-embracing thoughts.
Leaving For East Africa
We are leaving for Africa tomorrow and I can’t wait to ‘talk to the animals,’ whose thoughts are genuine and mysterious. I can’t wait to go on Safari with my Ultimate Concierge and my grandsons and meet interesting women from around the world. How fortunate I will be to converse with women I have yet to meet to discuss cultural, social, economic, and political issues in Rwanda,Tanzania, and Kenya. I know I will meet at least a few who are women of substance.
Diane Fossey: A Woman Of Substance
In my mind, a woman of substance has accomplished something beyond her wildest dreams. Maybe cooking the perfect popover, like Neiman Marcus serves! Or Diane Fossesy, a pioneer in protecting the gorillas in Rwanda from extinction.
And after the trip, I am looking forward to coming home to Elsewhere to meet and greet new faces too. This is my new quest and I have a plan that I will share with you at another time.
But, what better place to start than East Africa, visiting with the gorillas and their families? As I pack, I am excited that I will have the opportunity to trek the same mountain paths that Diane Fossey, primatologist and conservationist, hiked up in Rwanda.
On International Woman’s Day, I want to salute her. What a woman of substance! She crusaded against poaching, saving the gorillas from extinction. She lived happily with a family of gorillas for many years before she was murdered because of her fight against poaching.
Diane was laid to rest next to her favorite gorilla, Digit. Was she lonely? No, she led a joyful life living in their midst. She ‘talked to the animals.’ It was so extraordinary that a woman and a family of gorillas would gain mutual trust and love for one another.
How Much Can I Ask From A Human Friend?
I ask myself, is this too much to ask from human friends? Since the pandemic, I have been wondering.
I cannot help thinking of how all of our lives in 2023 have changed. How can we deal with trying to recover from the loneliness and apartness we experienced with masks, fears, and lockdowns?
Men And Women After 50 Are Thirsty For Meaningful Conversation
The loneliness syndrome has invaded the lives of once-happy Americans (more men than women) and scorched their souls. I fear we have all been induced with a habitual loneliness drug. So, what can we do?
I know this to be true: Women and men after 50 are thirsty for conversation but are embarrassed to court new friendships.
You may enjoy my post, Loneliness and Friendship After 50.
How Do We Navigate Difficult Transitions With Women Friends
So, how do we navigate difficult transitions with old friends, new friends, and friendships we wish to discard?
- Let’s begin with having human friends again. Let’s stop the Zoom, texts, and emails. I say let’s do what the animals do—have face to face contact.
- Let’s understand that we go through different seasons in our lives. Now is the time to cultivate women of substance who touch us intellectually and spiritually in a healthy manner.
- Time to say goodbye to women who no longer bring positive energy and the desire to continue to expand their horizons.
- Show your vulnerability to women. Be who you really are and be proud. That is style!
We Are Made To Hold Hands With Our Women Friends
Please understand that good friends are hard to find. It is important to know what you are looking for in friendship. Ask yourself a few questions.
- Are you looking for seasonal friendships? By this I mean: every season has a reason. Fate brought you together for a ‘time.’ Many of you find this a perfect scene.
- I know there is something special about old friendships. I treasure them and would never want to lose them. Unfortunately for me, they are tucked away in a corner of my mind—they are not in the present or down the street. Because they live around the world because I have lived and traveled worldwide. I am not a Chicago native. But, they are there and they are my cushion. Don’t discard your old friendships. Invest in them. Visit them. Call them.
- Invest your time in future relationships with women of substance. Plant new seeds. Nurture them. Fertilize them and don’t forget to water them. They will turn a vibrant green and grow and some will make a beautiful and colorful garden.
- Not all meetings will turn into a fantastic friendship. Don’t be afraid to take a chance. If a friendship with another person is meant to be, it will be.
People Change As The Seasons Change
I am always disheartened and shocked when people change. It is part of life. Your women friend may change for no apparent reason. Quite frankly, I admit I have changed.
Circumstances, different interests, goals, and aspirations bring about change in people. Positive change is good for the soul. Negative change is detrimental. I never intended to spend my time with women who chose stagnancy over vibrancy.
I have kindly cut my ties with these women because I want to spend my time with women of substance. Like my girlfriend who has twice tried to copy to perfection the popover recipe from Neiman Marcus!
Both times she failed, but… she is going to try again. She is not a scientist or a CEO, but she has staying power to try try try and I admire her grit.
I think being a friend to everyone is the best rule. It has served me well. Being an open woman to all women opens doors. Doors of unbelievable opportunity. How does one accomplish this?
Be flexible, communicate authentically, be empathetic, show you are vulnerable, and, by all means, be loyal and honest. Become an International woman, a woman of all seasons on the inside, and you will shine on the outside.
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Thank you honey you are such an encouraging woman you keep the light shining I love the positive energy you bring it’s electrifying it opens my soul helps me to keep growing emotionally mentally spiritually I have to say I love you and all that you’re doing keep up the fantastic Deliverance also enjoy that amazing trip with your family
I am answering you from Tanzania! Thank you for your lovely and most appreciated note. I am very touched and smiling! Warmly, Honey
First ~ safe travels to & from ~
Second ~ I, too, make “bread”.. every Shabbat. Challah. When I began doing this, it was with the intention I would keep one and give away however many. I learned from my Rebbetizin, the idea of sharing the joy & tradition of nourishment of challah, even if they could not be in our home eating with us. If I hear of someone having a not so great week.. an illness, a neighbor who I connected with on one of my walks… I share in love & light.. “be the reason someone smiles today”.
You will never be lonely because you give back. I know the feeling. It is a joyful one. Your purpose is to help others and you find you are helping yourself as well! I am sending my friendship to you from Tanzania. Warmly, Honey