Last night I saw an independent film “Book Club”, a documentary by Hope Hartman about 8 women who showed up month after month for 62 years to read (and discuss) books. That's right, 62 years. They even planned vacations around those monthly meetings. I can’t imagine doing anything with that kind of consistency for 62 years. Even one of the members herself said "I haven't been committed to anything or anyone else for that long." While the story was about reading, it was also about women and friendship. Friendships that flourished because of their love for books, mutual support, and their respect for each other. Facilitated, of course, by their decision to avoid discussions about religion and politics.
My Superwoman of the Week
All of the women were fascinating. The one I found most memorable was Mary Lathram, who has been in the Top Ten in the national U. S. Masters swimmers listing for more than 15 years. I couldn’t wait to get home so that I could Google her. Here is some of what I learned about Mary. In her 90’s, she still competes in four or five local meets a year and attends Senior Olympics and USMS national championships. When she turned 90 (2005), she garnered a first place finish and set a world record in the 200 M backstroke.
In the film, Mary stated that, initially, she was reluctant to compete; not because she doubted her ability, but because of how she looked – i.e., “her stomach “pooched” out and she didn't look that great in a bathing suit”. After her 1st competition, however, she realized that the only person concerned about what she looked like was her. They only cared about how she swam.
How often do we concern ourselves with things that matters to no one but us? For example, how we look? On this, I am guilty. I, too, sometimes obsess over my belly fat. Forget the fact that I am 64, physically active, and look and feel absolutely fabulous.
The lessons: No matter your age, be and do you and accept yourself for who you are; nurture your friendships, especially with your women friends; and be thankful – for everything.
As I was leaving the movie theater, I found myself wondering what it must feel like to have the same circle of friends for over 60 years; people you see month after month, with regularity and consistency. I also left thinking how nice it must be to still be active well into your 90s.
Do you have friends you have seen month after month for over 20, 40, or 60 years? How does that feel? I would love to hear from you.
Counting down… Next week, I will return with 10 more nuggets for women who want to age gracefully and with dignity and confidence. I will also tell you about my new passion/interest.