Getting BOLDer: Friendship & Aging

 In Getting Bolder, Healthy Lifestyle, Positive Aging

Ginny, SOTF #3537, shares with us all here-

“When women get together as a group, it is immensely powerful.” Annie Lennox

I often remind the young women in my life how important their women friends are. I tell them I understand they are working, raising a family, keeping a house. But, trust me, I tell them…you are going to need your peeps. I did the same thing. I put a husband through medical school while raising my older daughter and working full time. I had girlfriends, but when we moved away and started a practice, I had to start over. This time I had acreage to tend to. A much larger house. A growing medical practice that kept my husband busy and kept me entertaining. I had a teenager in cheerleading and choir and drama. And then we had another baby. My friendships were selective.

When that marriage ended, I had to start over yet again. New jobs, new friends, navigating a new life. I remarried and we relocated several times for his work. After a while, starting over became more challenging and I ended up becoming somewhat isolated. My husband was my only source of socialization and he was working sixty hours a week. Then…he died suddenly.

In Need Indeed

When I was at the hospital, I called my ex-husband to ask medical questions. At one point he said, “You need to call someone to come be with you. You shouldn’t be alone right now.” My mind drew a blank. I told him, “I don’t have any friends. I don’t know who to call.” It wasn’t true, of course. I had plenty of friends. I just hadn’t kept in touch with them for so long, I felt awkward calling. I ended up calling one of my long time friends and she dropped what she was doing to run to my side. I was never so grateful as I was when she walked in that room.

Women’s Friendship Month

September is Women’s Friendship Month. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the Sisterhood we find here with Sisters on the Fly. Many of us come to this organization looking for friends because we’ve lost ours along the way. We might be a little older, and a little wiser, and we recognize the importance of having good friends we can count on in the tough times and celebrate with in the good times. I am struck by the generous, friendly nature of the many Sisters I have met in the five years I have been involved with SOTF. I have heard wonderful stories of selflessness and sacrifice given to other women…complete strangers really, save for a number behind their name. When a Sister was in an accident, others drove overnight and sat with her until her husband could get there. Sisters come help when a camper breaks down and keep their fellow Sister company till it’s fixed. Sisters have gathered to help a town in Texas clean up after a hurricane. I am comforted by that. I know someone will have my back in one way or another should the need arise. And I’ll have hers. I don’t know of very many organizations that give you that sense of “family”.

Healthy Aging Month

September is also Healthy Aging Month. As we age, we are often faced with medical crises that could have been largely prevented with a healthy lifestyle and regular maintenance healthcare. When I became a widow at 59, it was six years too early for Medicare. Insurance was expensive with a large deductible. I put off a lot of routine medical care and now that I am 65, I’m paying the price for that. I’ve had doctors appointments every week since the first of June and that really ate into my camping time!

Keep On Trucking, Baby

I’ve heard it said, “When you stop, you drop.” Moderate exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and maintaining personal interests and friendships go a long way toward keeping healthy and happy as we age. Something as simple as setting a timer periodically throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water can improve your health, ward off illness, and keep your brain functioning better because our sense of thirst diminishes as we age. Sometimes we have to be the instigator and reach out to others instead of waiting for them to reach out to us. In other words, it takes a little work, a little effort, a little attention to get and maintain healthy relationships as well as healthy bodies and minds.

Create Community

When I spoke at the International Conference on Positive Aging in Washington, DC, I met some extraordinary women who are pioneering innovation for healthy aging. One idea that particularly struck my fancy was communal living. I have long been a proponent of the Tiny House Movement, hence my love for all things camping. There are places where clusters of these tiny homes are being built around a central building that contains a kitchen, restroom, guest room, library, a dining/conference room, and a large, comfortable living room. A communal garden with sitting areas and manicured pathways connect the little houses to one another for easy visiting. This allows women to age in place, have their own space, and be a contributing member of the community at the same time. I have had wonderful conversations with other Sisters about this subject and we only half-jokingly refer to the “Sisters on the Fly Retirement Community”. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Women’s Friendship and Healthy Aging go hand in hand. Sisters on the Fly is a great place to find the friends you need and the activities you like to keep you healthy and joyful as you age. Think outside the box. Come up with ideas to keep us involved with camping and outdoor adventures well into our “golden years”. I don’t know about you, but I want to slide into my grave sideways with a hearty “Yee-haw…what a ride!!!”

Till then, get out there and have more fun than anyone, my dear Sisters!

With much love and gratitude,

Ginny

Post contributed by blogger, Positive Aging Expert & Motivational Speaker,
Ginny McKinney, SOTF #3537
Marshmallow Ranch Blog

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Showing 9 comments
  • Julia Luedtke

    I love the idea of a retirement community.

  • Shannon Edwards

    I am a homebuilder/remodeler…I just finished my first tiny home 329:SF + loft. It is gorgeous and would be ideal for aging in place. Then I built my tiny tiny -84 SF Gypsy wagon to attend SOTF functions. My goal is to build such a retirement community! I have one piece of land I think would be ideal for it. 3.5 acres on Lake Guntersville, AL with lake view & deeded access. Maybe that is why God led me to SOTF! A Sister Place to have more fun than anyone! 11912!

    • Linda Smith

      I have 5 acres out of Medford. OR. And 80 acres out of Kansas. I have thought a lot about the same thing; a community of tiny homes with trailer covers at each home, common garden, eating kitchen, gathering location.

      • Cynthia Walters

        Thats exactly what im thinking of buying and building tiny house community. Looking for a partner besides my son. I am ready for a female partner. I am a sucessful electrician and remodler as well . Just finish my last jouse putting it up to sell this next week. Then im ready to roll with the next chapter..! Would love to meet you. Im in knox tennesse area. I dont plan on spending the winter here im ready to roam and meet new friends. Love to see your area.. Alabama . of course i love to fish and lake life !
        Cheers
        Miss Cynthia #10983

  • Dolores LoRe

    Hi all, my name is Dolores. I’m both excited and apprehensive about what the future holds with Sisters On The Fly.
    I was just recently advised by my daughter that I need to get out and create friends and get out more . For forty years I busied my life with raising a family and being in forty year relationship with the love of my life. But after loosing my husband to cancer, I’m now alone. I’m not good at putting myself out there to making new friends even though i love people and being around them. So here I am! My motto, live, love, laugh! I’m so looking forward to the future with new sisters and new friends. Thanks for allowing me to come on board!🌼

  • rose nixon

    I’m so new here I haven’t met anyone yet…still finding out what goes on for winter in Colorado where I moved a little over a year ago. I had a terrible tragedy last June…I lost my only child…my daughter(she was 36 and I had raised her alone) to the Opioid epidemic…after long years of trying to help her battling addiction suddenly now I’m starting life over at 69!!! I love the idea of a senior community…I’m looking to buy a trailer to travel and live in. I’m so excited about this group of women and I know these years will be full of adventure❤️

  • Karen VanVliet

    I am also new to the group. I sold everything and am planning to travel across the country. Once I am done, I would like to find a place to settle. I love the tiny community idea. ❤️Community is what this country needs more of. I hope I find it with the sisters.

  • Debra Longe

    Ladies, I feel the retirement communities are a very strong idea that could/should be explored. I’m so new to the organization that I don’t have a clue where or how one could explode/expand these ideas with a greater number of the members but I’d be happy to help any way I can.

  • Catherine Callico

    Hello. As a woman age 59 and in between jobs I identify with all of you. Ideally I will find a decent paying job soon and I’ll work until age 65 and then retire and find a community with like minded people. I don’t know what my future holds. Joining SOTF will give me a taste of RV travel, camping and making new friends that are also interested in adventures.

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