Episode 82 Cross-generational Friendships

July 10, 2023

Good morning from Martha’s Vineyard. I will admit I am loving those words Good morning from Martha’s Vineyard. I am totally into the vibe here, and to being in summertime mode. It is lush and green and full of interesting people and fun things to do. Anyway, what’s on my mind this morning is cross generational relationships and how rich and beautiful and mutually beneficial cultivating relationships with people outside our immediate age range is.

I’ve spoken recently about Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, beautiful podcast ‘Wiser Than Me’ where she interviews older women –  people like Jane Fonda, Carol Burnett, Isabella Allende  the author. I also talked about my parents befriending my brother’s best friends, Lowell  and Lydia. So this idea of having friends that are older and younger – definitely in my life – originated in my home. My friend Eric has always pushed me to embrace young people. He says stay close to the young people, I think in part because I don’t have children. And while I have great relationships with the children of some of my friends, it’s something I need to actively pursue. In fact, I enjoy a whole group of friends in the twenties. I call them my mentees, but of course they aren’t just mentees. I also have a lot of friends in their thirties.

Recently I’ve been thinking about some of my friends that are a bit older than me. Just the other day, I hopped on my bike and excitedly rode over to the Pickleball court because my buddy Iris arrived on the island. She just turned 80. She is this big hearted, gregarious, inclusive woman who lives out loud and is unapologetic. A real straight shooter. She’s a legend and everybody loves her. What I love most about her is when you get invited to something – she’s a big organizer – you never know who’s going to be there. Her friend group spans the decades.

I think another reason I’m thinking about this is because on one of the first nights we arrived on the island, my friend Gail invited me to a fundraiser called Songwriters for Island Elder Housing. They provide affordable housing to the elderly and disabled here on the island. It was so incredibly heartwarming and beautiful to see the multiple generations of songwriters singing together. It was with Kate Taylor, who’s James Taylor’s sister, Ben Taylor, John Forte and Gemina James, Lexi Roth and a bunch of others. It was beautiful. It has me reflecting on my first older friend my neighbor in Italy. Angela. Angela and her husband Vittorio were good friends to us and they were about 20- 22 years older than me and my husband. We were always so grateful for their friendships. They provided so much sage guidance and counsel when we were facing issues. It wasn’t until many years into our friendship when I realized how unusual it was that Angela and I had become such close friends. We’ve now been friends over 30 years., I think I was instinctively drawn to cultivate a friendship with a woman who was considerably older than me.

Just recently dawned on me that a couple of my good friends are probably attracted to me for the same reason I have become Angela. It’s kind of funny because as I’ve aged, the age boundaries are kind of blurred and I don’t much think about it.

I just love also recently seeing Brandy Carlyle cultivate her relationship with Joni Mitchell. I see her as modeling what it means to extend a hand and bring someone along when they’re in their golden years. So, as I said at the beginning, these cross-generational relationships are mutually beneficial, and I’m not sure who is the luckier one or if that even matters.

My friend Gail here speaks a lot about her buddy Rita, a woman in her building who is I think 93 or 94, and Rita is a swimmer, a walker. She entertains, she takes classes at American University. She attends lectures, and she’s generally modeling what it means to be active and age gracefully. I know Gail feels so privileged to call Rita her friend. I’ll leave you with that today.  Until next time, from my heart to yours,

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Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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