You’ve likely heard the saying about family being forever but friendships coming and going. I suppose it’s true to an extent. Then again, some people experience situations in life when a friendship feels more like family than family does. Some friendships, the God-sent blessing kind, can last a lifetime. Friendship after 50 is similar to marriage. There’s a natural ebb and flow to such relationships that causes them to evolve and change with the passing of time.
Friendship that stands the test of time
After 50, the friendships you had when you were 20 may have run their course and come to an end. Some, however, may be just as strong, if not stronger, than they were back then. Decades of shared experiences, sorrows, laughter, life struggles and enduring day-to-day happenings can be a rewarding and often hysterically funny adventure.
I was recently blessed with a weekend away with a group of friends who are absolutely dear to me. Each of us comes from a different walk of life; yet, some of us have trod very similar paths. Our journeys include the good, bad and ugly that goes along with 30 years of marriage and raising lots of kids.
The older, funnier, better versions of us
We laughed a lot this past weekend about how different we are now from when we were younger (thinner, less wrinkly) women. Things happen when you go beaching with friends after 50 that never seemed to occur decades earlier.
Sometimes, for instance, as you’re walking along the beach, enjoying warm sunshine and the sounds of waves and seagulls, one of you will randomly stop and drop behind the group. It may take a few long moments before the masses realize that one of the flock is missing. The usual reason for the setback in pace? The friend in question had to sneeze! (Any woman reading this who has given birth more than once knows what I’m talking about.)
After-50 photo shoots
We also take time when preparing for group ‘selfie’ photos. We must make sure we’re all standing at angles that accentuate our good points and hide the over-50 flaws. If you happen to be walking down a beach and hear a woman announcing instructions to her friends like, “Okay, heads up to get rid of the chins!” You can pretty much assume you’re passing a group of friends over 50.
Friendship after 50 hits you right between the eyes
We have gully lines between our brows. We may not want them to show in our photos, but deep down, we wear them as badges of honor. It’s similar to the way men bear scars from physical injuries. Our brow lines remind us that we have endured and persevered. We’ve survived our trials and suffering in life.
There’s a certain freedom in friendship after 50. We know what goes unseen by those who cross our paths because we have been through so much together. It’s like being in a secret club. The unseen to others is known to us and we guard and protect our secrets (and flaws) with love.
Friendship after 50 is less competitive
We care less about what others think of us and more about what we think of ourselves. Time teaches us to be kinder to ourselves, to forgive ourselves as God forgives us. Friendship after 50 means we build each other up instead of tear each other down. We offer encouragement as our bodies change and our memories fail us or we leave cups of coffee in microwaves. (This grows more common as we place them there to heat them, forget them, then exclaim as though we have found a buried treasure when we find them hours later.)
We know true beauty when we see it. We sometimes mourn the loss of our younger, stronger, shapelier selves; however, we’re settling in and becoming fondly acquainted with the over-50 versions of us! Life is good. That is, as long as there’s a restroom nearby and people who love you, weak bladder, gray hairs, crow’s feet, swollen ankles and all.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.