Lately, I’ve been pondering how you reinvent yourself, particularly through evolved and new friendships after 50. In today’s Sunday Story, I thought I’d talk about how the two are connected. When it comes to reinventing ourselves after 50, I don’t mean we become different people, I mean that we are going through different stages in life, and we need to find new passions and friends that complement each new and exciting time in our lives!
Recently, I was a birthday celebration in New Orleans held for our good friend, Jim. Over dinner, he stood and made a toast to several close friends he and his wife, Cherye, invited to his celebration. He said, “You meet new friends by chance and you keep them by choice.” My Ultimate Concierge leaned over and said, “Write a story about friendship and use Jim’s toast. It is a winner.”
Should You Reinvent Yourself After 50?
This got me thinking and I’ve continued to ponder why the relationship between female friends is so complicated after the age of 50. I think it occurs because, after 50, women have a sense of freedom to explore ‘their’ world. Some of these women become curious, take new chances, and find fulfillment in swinging open new doors to embrace their curiosity.
They know how to reinvent themselves, after 50.
Other women are content to remain quietly content in their set pattern, often feeling invisible after a period of time. While others get stuck in following a crowd and are not really happy campers.
“I reinvent myself every 10 years.” — Joyce
Before the age of 50, women are in sync with one another. They lead similar lifestyles; have similar routines. Carpools, PTA meetings, buying a home, after-school activities, grocery shopping, cooking for the family, and family vacations. The crowd that played together stayed together.
There’s little ‘time’ left for themselves unless they choose careers or hire a nanny to help with the children.
And, suddenly, how time flies, these women reach the age of 50 and beyond and find themselves with ‘time’ on their hands. Children are given their wings, mothers become empty nesters, routines go out the window and there is far less family togetherness.
Many realize they are entering an exciting new passage in their lives and know they have years to reinvent themselves. They know that change from age 50 through 90 is good for the soul. Quests they dream of pursuing — friendships and socialization with peers are at the top (or near the top) of their list.
How to Begin Your Pursuit of Reinvention
The questions these women ask themselves:
What do I want to do? Why do I want to do it? How do I transition from motherhood or retirement into a new and fulfilling passage? How do I make new friends that will be keepers?
I owe several women my thanks for bestowing upon me their insights and wisdom. Thankfully, I have soaked up their message and owe them much.
Wisdom From My Older Friend, Joyce, on the Concept of Reinvention
Once, a friend of mine, Joyce, said something to me that has resonated over and over again since. “I reinvent myself every 10 years.”
At the time she explained her plan, I was in my 40s, and she was in her 60s — a far wiser woman than I. She gave me valuable food for thought. Over the years, her wisdom played an active role in why I continue to reinvent my lifestyle. Her personal journey gave me that extra push to try new endeavors.
“I gained a soul sister. I met a new friend by chance — I kept her by choice.” — Honey Good
I watched her over the years change ‘her tune.’ She went from owning a small newspaper in Manhattan to becoming a self-taught jewelry maker and designer of semi-precious stone necklaces. Ten years later, she retired from jewelry making and became a fine bridge player and girlfriend to women she personally chose as friends.
When she was in her 60s, she told her husband, “Jerry, I am beginning to feel invisible living in Manhattan. When I walk down Madison and 5th Avenue — I am no longer noticed. I feel I am an invisible woman over 50.
From seemingly out of nowhere, Joyce said to him, “Let’s move to Palm Springs, where people are our age and older.” They did! They made a huge transition and were in their late sixties.
I met Joyce by chance though I have learned there are no accidents. We were guests at a luncheon. She was new in town and she needed a ride home. Someone offered my assistance and I gladly gave her a ride.
Our connection was instant. I gained a soul sister. I met a new friend by chance — I kept her by choice.
How New Friendships Will Enrich Your Reinvention
As a modern matriarch, I learned for every woman of all ages, the importance of leading purposeful lives. Socialization and friendships are key. When you get ‘the itch, the sting’ — call it what you want, it is time to pivot and take new chances. Why not? What have you got to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? Everything.
Believe it or not, I have an itch. And, when I feel this itch, I explore new avenues. This never happens when you push a button and ride the elevator. There is no easy way. Everyone has to huff and puff their way up the stairs. Eventually, you will get an adrenaline rush. I call it accomplishment.
For the past several months, I’ve known that some of my friendships are not making my heart sing. There are reasons.
I am not from Chicago, so I am a fish out of water. I am a small-town girl from Kankakee by the Sea.
My closest friends live in Honolulu, in other cities in the US, or in other countries. Phone calls and emails aren’t hugs and looking one another in the eye.
One of my dearest friends passed away, and another moved away.
For 30 years, I lived six months out of the year in California. I miss those close friendships.
My Formula For Seeking New Friendships
I have decided on the formula. I seek out female friendships of all ages who light my fire intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. They are kind and loving and come from many walks of life. These women lack envy and have a positive agenda. You see, I have climbed to the second floor because I know exactly what I am seeking in a friendship as a woman over 50.
If you feel the need to replenish or add to your existing friendships, make a list of your needs. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s. Don’t kid yourself. Climb the stairs. I have an adrenaline rush writing these words to you!
Before Reinventing Yourself, Ask Yourself Who You Are
Next, let’s talk about ourselves. It is important to ask yourself who you are, too. I just decided to have a little fun with myself and bare my soul to you. Here are some things I know about myself. I…
- Like to sip champagne, not beer…
- Like fishnet stockings and platform shoes…
- Am passionately loyal in friendship and expect the same in return — or I delete them. Sound harsh? I don’t think so.
- Listen to Billy Holiday…
- Always leave my house smelling expensive wearing Bacquert 540…
- Share a queen-sized bed with my Ultimate Concierge!
- Am committed to the philosophy of personal pleasure.
- Understand the cards I’ve been dealt and try to ‘accept’ what I cannot change.
- Style is my game… never fashion.
- Am a sentimental fool. My family and friends’ keepsakes surround me in every room of our home…
- Don’t have a therapist. Instead, I have a housekeeper, a Pilates instructor, and a masseuse.
- Know life is not a dress rehearsal.
- Have causes…
- Love to have fun… I have attended cigar dinners and smoked Tiparillos…
- Have hitchhiked with my Ultimate Concierge. Where there is a will… there is a way.
- Bear my soul but not my cleavage…
- Don’t read the New York Times …
- Could easily live in less than 1500 square feet as long as I have my Ultimate Concierge, my pooch America, keepsakes, and orchid plants.
- Admire women who are loving, authentic, bright, and dare themselves to dare…
- Am a political junkie… I would win on Jeopardy!
- Think organization is the cat’s meow. Thanks to Marie Kondo. (I highly recommend her book, which is a best seller. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.)
- Believe boredom is inaction… Enthusiasm is action.
- Understand that my heritage is a positive force …. friends’ heritages light my mind.
- Know multigenerational friendships suit my fancy. Young women to over 50 are my community.
- Will never stop until I drop — reinventing myself.
- Have a wicked side… I am smiling.
Would you choose me to be your friend?????? Be authentic now!
What to Look for In New Friends That Support Your Reinvention
In conclusion, it may be time to reinvent your friendships. Some friends may fit into your new lifestyle as you evolve in exciting avenues. Finding a fit between women is difficult yet meaningful. If you are feeling as I am feeling, there are avenues to fix this dilemma. Involve yourself in a group where there are women who ‘light your fire,” and share your interests. Women who are wiser than you or funnier or younger or older or whatever!!!
My new project, my purpose will be composed of a group of interesting women of all ages. I do enjoy having multigenerational friendships. I enjoy real women without an agenda, I enjoy women who are able to show they can be vulnerable, smart, loyal, and soulful. And I don’t care to climb any social ladders. I want to spend my time with women that meet my standards, constructive and kind standards, the standards I mentioned above.
Now I have said a mouthful, and I feel marvelous. It’s time to climb the stairs, get out there and find what makes you happy at this stage in your life and find complementary friends that will meet you there!
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