“We are friends for life. When we’re together the years fall away. Isn’t that what matters? To have someone who can remember with you? To have someone who remembers how far you’ve come?” With these words, author Judy Blume has summed up lifelong friendships to perfectly. Someone who knows your travails has seen your personal growth, to cheer for all your success and to help you stand up, whenever you take a fall. If life is a journey, then friends are the companions who make if fun and fulfilling. But as we age, the number of friends we have dwindles down considerably. Time and differences often pull us apart. And as soon as we women cross over into the fourth decade of our lives, with marriage and motherhood now defining our life mostly, we begin to feel lonely, unhappy and discontent with life. Could the reason be absence of friends?
- Friends are someone who knows our struggles the journey of our life.
- They cheer for us when we succeed and help us stand back up, whenever we take a fall.
- As women age, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to sustain healthy and meaningful friendships. There is just too much on our plates to devout time and energy to sustaining friendships.
- But as one grows old, every woman needs a gang of friends who she can rely on.
As soon as we women cross over into the fourth decade of our lives, with marriage and motherhood now defining our life mostly, we begin to feel lonely, unhappy and discontent with life. Could the reason be absence of friends?
This is why every woman needs a solid tribe of friends as she grows old. Who else to relate with your struggles than your friends? Who else can you trust to not judge you for your personal struggles? Female friendships have long been misunderstood, or rather, (mis)portrayed as shallow, complex and lacking depth or genuine affection to the same extent as male friendships. Women can’t be true friends, we are often told, and perhaps we end up buying that myth, that women can’t infuse the level of meaningfulness and benevolence to friendships that men can.
But the truth is that social constraints just make it difficult for us to put in the required labour into friendships. We marry, move to different homes, often cities and countries, we start new families and that’s not it, we are expected to be one hundred percent devoted to nurturing these families. Which means our needs and priorities take a backseat. When one has little to no time for self, it naturally becomes a struggle to keep in touch with one’s friends. As years pass by, it just becomes awkward to reconnect with old friends. As far as new friendships are concerned, a lot of women don’t initiate them, feeling that they are too old to investing in such relationships.
All you have to do is look and find your kind. Friendships in thirties, forties and so and so forth may not have the energy of the youth but they are fun and largely no strings attached.
But here’s what I have learned in my thirties; it is never too late to go back to friendships, and even acquiring new ones for that matter. Age and responsibilities aren’t deterrents of friendship for women. In fact they give us more common ground to connect with others. There are women out there who’ll relate to your struggles with work-life balance. Who’ll understand the insecurities of ageing, the fears of parenting and the overall heavy-lifting that goes into the transition from youth, to middle-age, to old age.
All you have to do is look and find your kind. Friendships in the thirties, forties and so and so forth may not have the energy of the youth but they are fun and largely no strings attached. They are mature and more understanding. Friends post a certain age, don’t take offence in trivial matters, they don’t expect religious commitment to the cult of companionship. They know how life works and that we all have our calendars brimming with chores and responsibilities, to meet bi-monthly or to go on a shopping spree every weekend compulsorily.
Thus as you grow older, friends become your companions on occasional dinner dates and movies, when the spouse and kid are too busy or lack interest. They become a sounding board when you have life-altering decisions to make, and no one to listen to you and understand your perspective as a woman. They become sisters-in-arms when you are finally ready to explore life outside of your family life.
You friends could make growing old fun for you, infusing you with confidence and warmth of companionship, which only they can bring to your life. So let go of your inhibition and loneliness and embracing friendships, old and new, once again.
Pic credits: glamour.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.