A Friend’s Perspective on Beauty and Friendship

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I am most fortunate to belong to a group of women friends who have been in a Lunch Bunch together for more than ten years.  We take turns treating our group to lunch once a month. (Most of us are also in the same book club.) We range in age from early 40’s to mid 70’s.

While we choose wonderful restaurants for our lunches, we consider our time together and our discussions on a variety of topics even more fulfilling than the food.  Now, that is saying a lot, since we are also foodies!  At our most recent lunch gathering, we discussed aging, and asked each other’s opinions on several aging related challenges, such as loss of hair from eyebrows and eyelashes.  Yes, really!

When I received the following from one of our members, Jean, it touched me so profoundly that I asked her permission to share it on the blog.  She graciously agreed.  I give it to you as a gift given to our Lunch Bunch.  And if you don’t have a group of women friends who you share such times with, do go out and create one!

Subject: Re: Yesterday’s discussion

Dearest Youngsters,

I am thrilled to see you all so engaged in what the future will bring.  As a happily mature, physically active, strong, (I can bench press my weight; the fatter I get the stronger I become) and gratefully healthy woman who is eagerly hoping to reach 70 in a few months, please let me assure you that concerns about age are completely within your control. I have often been told that while you can’t stop the progress of time, you can control how you age because getting old is heart and mind over matter.

Even in my advanced years I remain unsure what it is people fear about getting older. Time has bestowed freedom that I never imagined.  And I still have a problem buying into any definition of beauty. Society and reality keep changing it.

Once I thought it was really fair skin and straight hair,  But folks with fair skin subjected themselves to tanning, risking cancer and struggled to keep straight hair curled.  A fellow cancer survivor who also lost her hair to chemo told me she prayed that it would not come back straight.

I just wanted mine to come back.  These days I am happy to have some and take much joy in the many textures it displays, as I am sure you all have noticed!

I am also counting on Jan to let me in on whatever that drug is that will grow my eyelashes and pray that I will remember to apply it. Loss of memory is a casualty of age. It is also a casualty of chemo. I chose which to blame depending on the situation. Freedom!

Once I thought beauty was youth but the fashion industry got in trouble exploiting teens and preteens.  They needed the young ones because 18 year olds were already too old. Dying young is the answer?  No way.

Then I thought beauty was a tall, lean body but  I’m barely five feet and really like to and eat. Can’t buy into that definition either.

Yesterday I watched all who shared the table and saw that beauty is your elegant and captivating maturity, essentially the evolution of youth. Dominant traits on display were confidence, security, intellect, generosity, honesty, integrity, joy, flexibility, humor, loyalty, introspection, and hope for the future; so many traits that make you the special group of women Jan so astutely recognized.

Beauty was in abundance but it had nothing to do with physical appearance. It is the joyful way you love.

That, ladies, resides in your heart and mind, beautiful through the ages. Hang on to what you have because you are all grand and glorious.

Much love,

Jean

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About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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