The Joys of Friendship
By the time we reach fifty, we’ve gone through a lot. We’ve lost loved ones to death and through the breaking of relationship ties. We’ve endured injured pride, damaged self-esteem, and crushing disappointments. We have sustained significant blows to the ego through painful experiences of rejection. And, we’ve seen our nest empty, watching our loved ones and ourselves grow older. We need our friends now more than ever!
There is strength in numbers; there is power in the union. How many times have we struggled with a problem and, just as we throw up our hands in frustration and near-defeat, a devoted friend comes up with the perfect solution. Often we are too close to our own issues to be able to see them clearly. A good friend, however, cares for our best interests and, at the same time, is one step removed. She can see the big picture, stand up for us when we can’t stand up for ourselves, and make sure our needs are met—or, at the very least, provide us with a really good laugh.
In fact, there is scientific proof that friendships play a vital and critical role in the lives of women. Repeatedly, studies have shown that those ladies with very few or limited friendships are not as healthy—nor do they live as long—as others who enjoy a wider circle of supportive friends and deeper, more meaningful relationships.
As the writer, Christi Mary Warner, once remarked, “A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway.” What a blessing it is to find acceptance and love for our authentic selves, imperfect and flawed as we may be. In fact, rich and deep friendships that have endured over time may be the greatest gift our years bring us. So, as we enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer, why not share the sunshine with a good and true friend?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 13 so far )
Boomers are a generation that “gets by with a little help from our friends.” We treasure these women who through the years have stood by our sides, wiped our tears, and delighted in our triumphs.
Now, there are amazing new ways to reach out to people and get close. I posted a couple of weeks back about my new cyberspace friends. Although I never would have believed it, through the magic of the Internet, people can actually develop close relationships.
I am fortunate to belong to an incredible group of baby boomer woman, Boomer Diva Nation, and they connected to me by way of this blog. They are about to celebrate their one-year anniversary and I want to share a little of what these ladies have meant to me.
Through the group, I’ve met many new friends who have gone out of their way to support me both personally and professionally. They’ve cheered me on for my successes, and encouraged me during the downtimes. They’ve helped me in real ways: invited me to appear on their radio shows, shared tips for improving my web presence, and suggested creative new ways to express myself.
As the leader, Beverly Mahone, says: “We are talented women who come from very diverse backgrounds around the globe. We come from all walks of life and different races and are eager to share our knowledge and resources. We’ve had a few bumps in the road and some detours but we continue to persevere.”
What better sign of true friendship than to persevere through the bumps and bruises of life? If you’re interested in finding out more about the group, you can check out the anniversary press release. For those of you in need of cyberspace friends, this is truly a wonderful group to belong to.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Yes, I admit it. I used to scoff at the young and technically savvy who went on about the “friends” they met over the Internet. “Friends?” I asked. “How can you call someone a friend when you’ve never even met?”
Well, I’m here to tell you that I have totally reversed my opinion on that one. In the past several months, since I’ve started blogging, I have become acquainted with some absolutely amazing women. Although we haven’t yet met face-to-face, or even spoken on the phone, I consider these ladies my friends. Some have left wonderful, uplifting comments on Feisty Side of Fifty. Some have linked to various posts I’ve written, and some have gone so far as to award me the honor of being a guest blogger on their sites.
However, there is a very special group I’d like to mention. The Baby Boomer Divas, a.k.a. Boomer Diva Nation, is an incredible pool of powerful and accomplished women—most of whom have already celebrated their half-century birthdays. Although they are all in midlife, the group is rich in diversity. The ladies hail from differing backgrounds, careers, and geographical areas, and from different races, ethnicities, and religions. The common theme is one that their leader, Beverly Mahone, stresses: women on the move and making a difference.
Mahone, who is a veteran journalist, author, media coach and motivational speaker, has written her own book on the many facets of aging. Whatever! A Baby Boomer’s Journey Into Middle Age takes a candid look at issues such as weight gain, menopause, and dating after forty, among others. After twenty-five years in radio and television, Mahone chose to become a work-at-home-mom. She now acts as a media consultant and counsels individuals as to how to best market themselves to radio, TV, and newspaper professionals. She’s a recognized expert on all things Boomer and has a radio show targeted to boomer women.
It is with great pleasure that I claim this talented and accomplished woman as my friend. She gifted me with an invitation to join the Boomer Diva Nation several months ago and, since that time, my life has changed… and all for the better! Through these ladies, I’ve been given wonderful and exciting opportunities to stretch myself personally and grow my career in new directions.
Beverly’s most recent gift to me was an opportunity to appear on her radio show, Whatever Live! I enjoyed the experience immensely—actually it was a blast. Beverly’s combination of professionalism, wonderful energy, and engaging personality make her the consummate radio host. I’d love to have you take a listen.
Yes, cyberspace or face-to-face, nothing beats a warm and caring friend.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 5 so far )
A dear friend emailed this to me and I thought it was worth passing along. Since there was no name attached, I am unable to credit the author. Undoubtedly, she is a wise woman and her thoughts are touching as well as true. I’m sure she would want me to share them:
“A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, and the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully. Then, she turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.
‘Don’t forget your Sisters,’ she advised, swirling the tealeaves to the bottom of her glass. ‘They’ll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.
Remember that ‘Sisters’ means ALL the women… your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. You’ll need other women. Women always do.’
‘What a funny piece of advice!’ the young woman thought. ‘Haven’t I just gotten married? Haven’t I just joined the couple-world? I’m now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!’
But, she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mom really knew what she was talking about.
As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are the mainstays of her life. After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I’ve learned:
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men can disappoint.
Hearts can break.
Colleagues forget favors.
BUT… Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley’s rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley’s end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you…or come in and carry you out…”
This reminder of the bonds and joys of friendship really struck a chord with me. I thought of all the Sisters who have been there for me over my life and how grateful I am to each and every one of you. You have cheered me on, walked beside me, and, sometimes, pulled me up and carried me out of the valley. (And, I’m no petite lightweight!)
Our female friendships form the foundation from which we draw the support to face life’s bigger challenges. How fortunate we ladies are to be blessed with the hormonal and emotional make-up that causes us to desire intimacy. How lovely it is to share with others on a deep and profound level. How lucky we are to be able to connect through our words and our experiences, openly express our vulnerabilities and fears, and receive compassion and support. What a blessing to find acceptance and love for our authentic selves, imperfect and flawed as we may be. Female friendships truly are the mainstay of our lives.
Best of all, by the time we’ve reached our half-century birthdays, we have enjoyed a lifetime of such friendships. We ladies have weathered life’s ups and downs, the losses and the triumphs, and are now sharing the challenges and rewards of menopause together. Talk about a cause for celebration! What a gift!
Yes, we hold our female friendships ever dear. They are one more glorious reason to celebrate the rich rewards of life on the far side of fifty.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 9 so far )