When a woman over 50 depends on her own experience, she has 50-plus years’ worth. When she has women friends her age and older she has hundreds of years of experience. Friends matter all of our lives, but after fifty, I believe, they matter even more.
It’s been a long time since I have written about women and friendship because in my busy world, I have not had the opportunity to spend much “girly time” with women. When I do, I am a very happy camper. It is amazing what I learn and how I feel. It is all good.
Most of us categorize our friendships. We put our women friends in a particular class or group. We have our best friends who are sisters, our acquaintances who we spend time with because of a mutual interest and, unfortunately, our deletes, who disappoint us or, perhaps, we disappoint them. We learn and grow from each experience, even from women who do not fill our hopes and expectations. Most of the deletes we never miss. A few, we do. But, that’s life.
Group and Acquaintance Friendships
As most of you know, for the past three seasons a group of women meet at my home once a month for two hours to chat. I serve coffee, tea and goodies and most importantly, I serve them with a question that pertains to life after 50. My question often leads to other questions and we all leave with something to think about. In other words the group, 10 in all, has tremendous wisdom and insight to share — even when we flounder. And share we do. We are “all for one and one for all.” We are not best friends. But we share a commonality: we have striking similarities.
I know if I had the time, I could set up many groups to lead. Why? Because women have asked me and I have asked women…because women need women. No one turns me down except the women I am 99% certain will say no. I ask anyway to test my intuition and inwardly hope for a surprise answer of yes.
Last month I started bemoxienow.com. It is a network of women who want to join a group or groups because they want to have online discussions. They want girlfriends. They realize their need for connections with other women. It is growing organically. Most of the women do not know one another and they join or set up a group of choice and ask others to join because they know it’s an opportunity to offer and seek advice and make new friends. Groups of women know how to help each other grow and stretch.
I associate sister friendships with these words: closeness, loyalty, rapport, intimacy and warmth. Thinking of these words in totality, I see sister friendships as “an unbreakable bond between two women.” Even sister friends can argue and stop talking to each other for a short while, but you never break that bond because you acknowledge your blessings…you have each other. This type of sister friendship usually takes years to make, but not always. I have newer friendships that I treasure. I watch other women bond with women they’ve recently met and in a short time become sisters.
Darlings, as you know, our lives keep changing, as we leave one passage and enter the next. We move to a new community or downsize to a new neighborhood or move out of state. We are faced with new challenges and one of them is bonding with other women. Always remember other women are facing what you are facing.
Now is the time to take more risks, and that includes seeking out new late-in-life friends who can, when nurtured, become sister friends. I encourage you to seek out women who are your role models, women who mirror you; whom you admire and want to learn from.
Everything you did yesterday helps you create your future. Choose to live an exquisite life, darlings, by making a plan and setting goals. Reconnect with old friends. Be the best friend you can be to your closest friends. Send them a little gift in the mail. Send them a friendship quote in an email. Make a breakfast or lunch date. Help them with a problem. Show your friendship in little ways. Most of you have the time.
Open your door and invite new women into your life. They should be women you admire for different reasons. They are your role models. In the back of your mind, lay a foundation for what is to come, your expectations of the relationship. And, work at building it layer by layer. I believe if you choose wisely, the best is yet to come.
Loneliness Versus Joy
I know some of you are lonely. You find your situation too frightening and challenging to decide to end your loneliness. Darlings, we cannot thrive when we isolate ourselves. A woman loses out on a lot in life when she does not let other women in.
I invite you to take a risk. I want you to venture out and turn your loneliness into joy. I know it is hard. You are afraid of rejection. You are shy. Remember you have over 50 years of bloom within you. You are not a wilting or shrinking violet. You are letting fear of the unknown take you captive.
So, let’s take it slowly. You know what brings you joy. Is it art, music, hiking, biking, reading, travel, pets, grandparenting or cards?
Now it is time to ask for what you want! Sign up and join a group that makes your heart sing. I think you will be amazed at how positive you will feel, almost joyful, when you finally make that decision.
A group can be as little as three women or many more. Before you take the plunge, find out all you can about the group because it important to make certain it meets your requirements.
After joining you must set goals for yourself. Ask yourself “What do I want? What will bring me joy in this new group?” And then take all the many resources you have between your ears and put them to work…for you.
I think the joy you will feel in joining a carefully selected group like this is the joy in giving back, in learning, in building self-esteem, in recognizing your personal power (and sometimes your lack of it) and the awe, I hope, of experiencing the wonder of spending quality time with women.