I looked around the restaurant and noticed the diners this time of day were, with very little exception, “old” women. This must be the place for the “ladies who lunch” crowd, I thought. As I sat there alone waiting for my friend, I cast judgement on all of them.

Ohhhh, she let herself go – look at that hair… Man – she’s got no range of motion at all –          she’s SO STIFF…Oh I hope I don’t end up like that!

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lady who lunches with style

I was comparing all the “ladies who lunch” to my oldest and dearest friends. Friends who file000429532792.jpgnow lived in different cities and some, if I’m truthful, haven’t really been in my life for some time. I couldn’t help but think of the old times, why can’t I find friends like I had? We’d gather at a table after work and share entirely too much information about ourselves. Before you know it people would be leaning in to hear what we were talking about. We were all so smart, we were cute and incredibly witty. Our conversations were in-depth, insightful & spirited. We seemed to own every room we occupied.

Today, I was making a concerted effort to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Like put an effort into making friends. Making friends in my middle years seems so much harder than when I was young(er). School, Business, & Parents of other children all seemed to be your pool of friends to choose from – making friends wasn’t anything I ever had to really “work at”.

My friends and I use the term “ladies who lunch” in a derogatory fashion. They were women who were “kept”, women who had no outside job, women who weren’t stressed trying to make two ends meet while somebody kept moving the ends and most importantly they were “other women” certainly not us….we were far too busy. I’m not ready to be friends with “ladies who lunch”. We couldn’t possibly have anything in common or enjoy doing anything together. Right?

My friend arrived for our weekly lunch date and as I looked across the table at her, I saw her through a different filter, I thought, oh my god….you’re old too!

In reality my friend and I are merely three years apart in age and we have a lot in common. I looked around the restaurant and tried to guess how old the other “ladies who lunch” were.

Oh for god’s sake, we’re ALL the same age in here!

I got home that afternoon with the confusion of where I stood in the pool of “ladies who lunch” swirling inside my head. Why couldn’t I embrace it? Everyday was the same, I no longer worked outside the home.

Being the kept women I used to abhor was a new realization.

After taking an early retirement, my job was … nothing.

As I say to my husband – You make the living, I’ll making the living good.

Realistically, we’ve made ends meet – whether it’s a change of lifestyle or the ability to say “we don’t need that right now”, the ends have been met.

When I got home, I sat down in front of the computer to check out the rest of the world. The pictures that normally scroll across my screen when the computer is inactive led me to the “ladies who lunch” epiphany.

I saw all of these old friends in my mind’s eye every day exactly as they were some 20 years ago. They, and I, hadn’t aged a bit. We were still laughing, still able to command the attention of any bartender and owned every room we filled.

Nobody shared arthritis remedies, that’s for sure!

The bigger picture I missed was the one in the mirror. My reflection had the answers for me all along. Living in the moment meant embracing the changes in my life, my body and my spirit.

Retirement. Age. Health. Kids who don’t call. Past regrets. These are new issues, but not just mine. Old friends had none of these concerns….at least not 20 years ago.

I realized when you age WITH people you don’t really notice their change. My mind’s eye still sees my husband as I did the night we met, my friend of almost 30 years is still laughing, commanding the same attention and owning the rooms she walks into… She’s still the cute & sassy partner in crime that earned us the right to tell so many stories. If he wasn’t the same, if she wasn’t the same…then I couldn’t be the same either.

With my feet firmly planted in both worlds, I acknowledge the past and embrace the present.

My name is Donna Louise and I am a lady who lunches. It’s been an eye opening experience.

We’ll talk later.

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