Being fifty-something, I know that there are many truths in friendship.
Especially in female fifty-something friendships.
There are the day-to-day “press release” truths you share and quip, often in multi-age company:
“Fifty is the new forty”
“You’re only as old as you feel”
“I can do anything I want”.
Then there are the half-truths, the group think concepts you buy into as part of conversations. Maybe you’re marvelling at those parents who still have their thirty-something kids at home, lamenting the horror of hot flashes or wondering when that mutual acquaintance started looking so old. (“She’s really let herself go, hasn’t she?”)
Then there are the REAL truths, the ones that lurk in the darkness, twixt yesterday and today, midway between today and tomorrow.
REAL truths live in rare bare-your-soul moments that fill the void left behind by the stimuli of day-to-day chatter and group think.
And so it came to pass in the wee hours of this past Saturday morning. My friend L and I survived the witching hour by solving the problems of the world, catching up on her holiday happenings and sharing all the gossip we know.
We had reached the moment of REAL truth. 3.00am.
You know …
… when the candle wicks have flickered, fizzled and fossilised in their own wax
… when all that’s left on the anti pasto platter is crunchy green stuff, olive pits and cracker crumbs.
… when we tire of feeding CDs to the player so our conversation tangoes above the soundtrack of Mr P’s snoring from the bedroom (where he took refuge an hour ago at the first hint of girl talk)
… when we both know another bottle of red is out of the question so we settle into a nightcap of whiskey (neat).
That’s when REAL truths lurk.
We surrender our chatter to serious discussion about how we’ll survive our empty nests. Can we ever stop worrying about our kids and trying to “fix” what needs fixing in their lives? We agree never … that our maternal instincts are too powerful. We share the enormous sense of loss we’ve already felt as our first-leavers flew the nest. Yes, the loss is like grief and sits there in your chest like grief does, pushing upwards in a constant swallow reflex. We decide that’s normal. Our normal.
But what’s normal with menopause? We discover the REAL truth that we’re less concerned by night sweats and hot flashes than we are by what menopause means to us as women. That’s a very personal (REAL) truth.
We talk about feeling old … because some days we do; we just can’t admit it in daylight.
We have to wait out the witching hour, twixt yesterday and today, when the moment’s right for REAL truth.
Then we can admit anything.
That’s what fifty-something friends do.