New to Arizona, I often dine out alone. One of my favorite happy hour spots is a block away from my apartment, which means I can walk home after a cocktail. The last thing I need in my 60’s is my first DUI. The local spot has become my Cheers bar. Unlike the famed TV series, everyone doesn’t know my name there but it feels familiar and collegial.

Yesterday, after a visit to the eye doctor (which I will not detail here because health is a taboo social topic for me), I decided to catch the end of the Sox/Astros game and enjoy a dirty martini. 

Two other women were eating alone. One revealed that she recently turned 50 and the other was probably in her early 70s. We started by chatting about our food and cocktails and then moved on to our jobs and life passions. 

One of us (not me) was clearly wallowing in misery. My guess is that she had never been particularly happy or grateful during her life and that aging had compounded her angst. Rather than enjoying the company of strangers, she moaned a lot and every topic was met with sighs and complaints.

Don’t get me wrong…we can’t all be Suzie Sunshine 24/7. Being candid means revealing our challenges, weak spots, and scars. But thinking positively about the days and weeks ahead of us is uplifting. 

My happy new friend and I tried every upbeat trick in our bags to bring Negative Nelly out of her funk, to no avail. The sad reality is that some folks would rather wallow than imagine or laugh.

As we age, seeking out positive and inspirational friends is key. You can’t always pick who’s on the bar stool next to you, but you can choose your inner circle. And, every day, drink a toast (not literally!) to those things we’ve learned over the decades, what we dream of doing in the future, and the people who make us smile.


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (, as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site and travel and lifestyle site She also wrote a column for called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.