Making friends later in life is very unusual. After years of schooling, jobs, parenting, etc. you realize that most of your friends have come and gone and that you are left with a few great friends. Many of us have felt incredibly isolated during the pandemic; many people have wished to be with their friends and family but were unable to be with them for obvious reasons. For me, however, it has been the opposite experience. The pandemic brought a whole new group of women into my life, and I am now (after 50) making some of the best friendships I have ever had.
It all started with the looming dread of turning 50. I was 49, a year away from this milestone birthday, and I was feeling stuck and unfulfilled. My career had been a wild ride of creativity and entrepreneurship; from acting and writing, to owning my own social media agency and marketing for luxury brands. I longed for connection, passion, purpose. I wanted this next stage of my life to have more meaning.
A close friend suggested I start a podcast. To be honest, I didn’t know what they were or even where to find them! Once I discovered that podcasts were right on my phone and easy to access, I was hooked. I started listening and found some favorites. I serendipitously met a woman who launched podcasts for a living and, with her teams help, I decided to embark on the journey of launching my own podcast. I decided to name it Conversations With Warrior Women because I wanted to talk to women who were leaping for greatness but who had been in the trenches and survived. I wanted to be inspired and to inspire others. As I prepared to start recording my episodes the pandemic hit. We scrambled to launch and get the episodes out earlier, thinking women would be stuck at home and would need some inspiration! We launched in April of 2020.
At first the women on my podcast were people I knew: friends or friends of friends would chat with me on Zoom and we would connect and have meaningful conversations. Soon, I started looking outside my circle. I wanted to meet new women and hear their stories. I wanted to meet women of different ages and colors. I wanted to step out of my small world into the larger world.
Now, one year and 50 episodes later, these women have become dear friends. We have formed unbreakable bonds by opening up to each other and telling our stories. As a result, I have made some of the best friendships I have ever had after turning 50. The podcast has been a catalyst – it has challenged us to go deeper and to understand each other. We have found that, although we are different, we share the same values and goals.
If it weren’t for the pandemic, for Zoom, for this deep need for connection, I would have never met these ladies. We are not in the same circles, the same states, the same neighborhoods. We are not awkwardly meeting at a party or dinner and having surface conversations. When I interview these women, we have an experience, we learn about each other, we truly listen, and a certain magic happens. We go deep, we share and learn about our pain, we talk about life-journeys and resilience, and we share our hope for the future.
You don’t need a podcast to make incredible new friends. I have seen women on LinkedIn and Facebook; I’ve heard them on Clubhouse or met them through friends and invited them to coffee on Zoom. It doesn’t matter where they live, we can connect and see if we want to collaborate or take the friendship further. I still have my old friends from high school, college, work, and my children’s schools (their friends’ parents). I have dear friends I have known for many years, but these new friends fill me with hope and possibility: they encourage me to think differently about my life, my community and my engagement with society. They inspire me to look outside of my day-to-day life and think of the bigger world around me. They share their stories and I gain new perspectives on everything – from business to parenting to politics. My life is richer and deeper than it’s ever been and I am so grateful that, at this age and stage in life, there is so much to look forward to.
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