Extra Virgin :: Two Things I Love About Friendships with Older Women
I recently spotted a great article in Darling Magazine about the importance of diversity in your relationships—specifically generational diversity. This got me to thinking about the huge ways that I have personally benefitted from relationships with people who are much younger or older than I am, so for the next few weeks we’ll take a look at different kinds of relationships and what we can learn from them ::
Relationships with Older Women
This kind of relationship can feel similar to a mother/daughter relationship, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes these friendships are highly structured—a kind of mentor/mentee relationship in which you can ask advice and they can freely speak into your life. At other times they’re just like any other friendship—you just happen to be different ages. (I have one older friend who visibly cringes if I ever call her my mentor. Ha!)
Whatever the makeup of these friendships, there are two big things that I love about them. One, you learn so much from someone who has already walked the path you’re on and who can provide some insight into the future. Just the other day I was talking with a women who casually remarked on how she found it distressing that young mothers looked at their phones while breastfeeding their babies. She went on to talk about breastfeeding in a time before smartphones and how you have so much more time for eye contact, singing and talking to your baby, and focusing on their activity. I would’ve never even thought about what I was missing by looking at my phone—I actually prided myself on all the reading I got done while feeding Valentine—but her simple comment reminded me that there is another way of doing things that I can choose if I want to.
The other thing that I love about a relationship with an older women is that it’s often a much more relaxed and less competitive relationship than that with a peer. Age usually promotes a kind of self-assurance and easiness that’s refreshing. I remember once when I was going through an incredibly difficult situation, an older friend remarked that as trying as it was, there would be a time when i would look back at this time and it would just be “a blip on the radar.” She was totally right. It helped me take a deep breath and know that my hard season wouldn’t last forever.
What about you? How have you benefitted from relationships with older women?
(Photo via The Sartorialist)