Talking about middle age with Caitlin Flanagan
Photo: Amanda Marsalis
Caitlin Flanagan invited six 40-something friends to spend an evening taking stock of their lives. The result: juicy, grown-up girl talk that could have gone on all night.
The panel:

Caitlin Flanagan, writer and host

Lynn Laws, stay-at-home mom

Andrea Williams-Green, entrepreneur

Sandra Tsing Loh, performance artist

Sarah Minot Gold, organizer


Jody Horowitz Marsh, TV personality

Christina Schwarz, novelist



The plan:
I asked some of my most accomplished women friends over to my house so that I could ply them with wine and hors d'oeuvres and ask them about their lives. Specifically, I wanted to know if they, too, had run out of dream, or if they still indulged in the kind of big, visionary thinking that comes so naturally to young people. And I wanted to know about how the daily traction of their lives—marriage and money and sex—shapes their ability to keep dreaming. It was going to be like a consciousness-raising session, except with catering and mood lighting and party favors in the form of fabulous $6 bath soaps from Target... Read more  

The questions

I. When you were 18, what did you imagine your future would look like? How close does your life today come to that vision?

II. What is the one piece of advice you wish you'd been given as a young person?

III. What was the best money you ever spent?

IV. What was your biggest financial mistake—the complete waste of money that haunts you to this day?  

V. Is sex with your husband a pleasure to savor or just one more item to check off your to-do list? If the latter, when did that change take place—and do you actually care?

VI. What has been the best surprise about married life? And the worst?

VII. What is the best thing about being a woman? The worst?

VIII. At this point in your life, is there a dream you will never get to fulfill? What is it—and what makes you so sure it's out of reach?

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