ageist contributors | december 18, 2017
a friendship at any age
What a 69-Year-Old Can Learn from a 30-Year-Old; And the Other Way Around
Words: Amanda Medress
I am 30 and my best friend Ines is 69. When out in the world together we attract attention; sometimes it’s curiosity, other times jealousy or disapproval. The disapproval confuses us most. Since meeting via swing dancing four years ago, our friendship has blossomed into the closest kind. We’ve salsa danced on the sidewalk in Las Vegas and lounged where the forest meets the sea in Croatia. We’ve shared everything from closely-guarded secrets to eyebrow gel.
Perhaps most meaningfully, we’ve learned from each other. Sometimes it’s deliberate. “What’s it like to be a widow?” I ask Ines. “What’s it like to use a dating app?” she asks me. Other times it’s informal, trading stories over Campari and chocolate at the kitchen table. Such was the occasion when I told Ines what it means to ghost someone. “You mean someone stops texting you and suddenly they are a ghost?” she asked, howling with delight. When a romantic interest disappeared on her a few months later, she was thrilled. “I finally get to say I’ve been ghosted!” she texted, with the accompanying ghost emoji.
In the vein of showing the joy and learning intergenerational friendships can bring, here are six lessons we’ve taught each other so far, three from each of us.
Dating doesn’t get less complicated
Ines: Upon dating a man my age, I complained to Amanda that certain issues should already be figured out, given our phase of life. After listening carefully, she said, “Ines, it doesn’t matter how old you are, dating is complicated!” I laughed at the sheer truth of it all. Through hearing about Amanda’s dating experiences, I realize we’ve experienced many of the same bumps along the way, despite our age difference.
You don’t need a reason to celebrate
Amanda: Before meeting Ines, I thought champagne was reserved for special occasions. But now, Ines and I often have a glass of champagne with dinner or after a long night of dancing. Ines is an expert at creating joy out of the small moments in life. She’ll take herself to her favorite restaurant, or to the movies, or stop for a croissant along a leisurely walk. I often say that Ines has taught me to be better at enjoying life.