Hang Out with...
I have two friends young enough to be my daughters. One, a Midwestern cousin who's also an actress, rescued me at a recent wedding from my table of midlifers—we were reminiscing about the groom as a child—and insisted I hit the dance floor, '70s moves and all. The other, an endlessly curious marketing exec I met through work, makes a lunch date feel like an aerobic workout for my brain. They both roll their eyes if I say anything timid, even if I'm just wondering whether I can pull off the trendy oceanic nailcolors they prefer. Together they represent a free pass out of the age ghetto—that constricted mental zip code where we too often set up house.
A few years back, when I started commuting cross-country for work, some of my same-age friends questioned my sanity. But the 31-year-olds just said, "What, fun!" Their elastic view of the universe regularly forces me, at 63, to examine whether I'm making the cautious choice. I like to think I help keep them wise, while they keep me willing.
— Karen Stabiner
In my mid-30s, my life was strangely devoid of people over 65—until I started writing a book
on The Mary Tyler Moore Show,
which meant spending time with a bunch of bawdy, energetic women who voted for Eisenhower. Over the past couple of years, my new friends have taught me that aging does
have its perks:
Being immune to fashion trends. When you've seen bell-bottoms come and go and come again, you learn to just wear what looks good on you.
More perspective. Older women take the long view on leaky roofs and trying bosses.
Playing the senior card. I had no idea you could get your way—or, at least, a table at a packed restaurant—by saying, "Can you help an old gal out?"
An active love life. Sybil, my septuagenarian friend, once told me about an overseas suitor she'd had for years whom she couldn't be bothered to marry. Decades-long marriages are inspiring, but it's nice to know we have other options, too.
— Jennifer Keishin Armstrong