Why older woman should consider creating a support system of friendsFebruary 3, 2017
Women over 50 have time to enjoy and learn from other women, because we are unencumbered. The kids are grown and there is a feeling of liberation. We have time to pursue other activities. There are so many benefits to creating a support system of friends. I have an idea you might consider…
But first a little tidbit from Honey.
Two women, strangers, are seated next to one another on a flight from LA to Miami. By the time the flight lands they know how many children the other has, how many times the other has been married, the purpose of the trip to Miami and even some of the other’s personal problems.
It is a fact that women engage in conversations with like-minded women. Women share. Women love dialogue. Women care. There is not a woman alive that does not love to gather information. Women are busybodies and it is all good. And after the age of 50 or 60, with more time than ever on her hands, a woman has been set free to make a relationship with herself and her fellow sisters.
A very telling focus group
One year ago, I met a young advertising executive. He wanted to understand, for advertising purposes, the psyche of women over fifty. I told him, “That would take me a lifetime!” So, he suggested,“Would you mind inviting a group of women friends to your home for a focus group?”
The purpose of the meeting was to listen as the women, hopefully, engaged in conversation.
Not only did they engage in conversation, dear friends of mine, they almost drowned in their words as their thoughts and feelings came pouring out of their mouths. There was no holding back. They permitted themselves to show their vulnerabilities. It was dramatic. I sat there watching them draw power from one another.
Who were these women?
My friends were married or had a significant other, they were mothers and grandmothers, many had once had careers, they were educated, they had taken up activities from travel to sports to book clubs, to classes, etc. They were from several different cities. They were not home sitting on their laurels. They felt invisible due to their age. They were facing joy and freedom but also problems and issues. I could feel they were glad they had accepted my invitation because they all left my home with smiles and still yackety yacking. It was all good.
I thought about the group meeting on and off over the next few weeks.
I kept thinking to myself, “Why not form a group?”
I stopped thinking and started doing! I phoned my girlfriend, Jane, who has a degree in family psychology. She participated in the original group. I wanted her opinion. She liked the idea and so…
I began making phone calls, pooling from different groups of friends, explaining the platform. I imagined some of the gals would turn me down. Dear readers, not one women said no. They were over the top thrilled saying,“I would love to be part of the group. I want this in my life.”
And so our group was born, as I mentioned, one year ago.
Creating a support system of friends
We met at my home at 9:30 am on the first Wednesday of a month. There were ten women in the group. We sat at my dining room table. I served muffins, coffee and tea. Jane and I lead the group. It was informal but we had a topic. We have one rule. Nothing spoken amongst the group leaves the four walls of my home.
Below are some of the topics we touch on:
1. I cannot stop myself from feeling invisible.
2. How do I handle family problems with my adult children?
3. I am not leading a fulfilling life. I am restless.
4. I have money problems with my adult children.
5. What changes should I make in my life to feel relevant?
6. I feel guilty when I outgrow friends.
7. My husband is older and wants to settle in. I am still on the hunt.
8. Friendships change and not only for the better.
We are now in our second year. We lost a few members because of extenuating circumstances, moving and illness, so Jane and I shared the job of making phone calls to other women over 50. Again, no one turned us down. Two of the girls told me, “I feel honored.”
I realized that small women’s groups that discuss ‘us,’ is significant. To have a discussion of our personal lives, our positivity, our ideas and challenges after 50 is like a breath of fresh air.
Because my home group has met with such success, I may initiate a new and exciting project, a club for all of us stylish and enlightened women over 50. We’d learn and share our ideas and challenges discussing positivity, life, love, family, friendship as well as individual style, and visibility, of course.
I am gathering information and exploring my options for ‘us’ and creating a support system of friends. I will keep you posted, dear readers of mine.
“The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.” ~Hubert H. Humphrey