If I were Dian Fossey, of Gorilla’s in the Mist or Joy Adamson of Born Free, observing our own evolution as we age – our pack behavior – our interactions – our language –here’s what I would fill my notebook with.
I may call it a study in the evolution of what BA50 (betterafter50) women talk about during periods of social exercise.
The group I would submit to the study is my “Walkie Talkie” group of women who meet ritualistically each weekend. I have always felt a strong comradeship with the anthropologists and their primates and see no “missing link’ between the gorillas and the girls I walk with (aka “Girl-illas”).
After a few rounds of group texts, we land on a meeting time. The location is fixed – in front of the local coffee shop/bakery. We are food driven. Despite the need for social interaction and exercise, we know that food is our ultimate goal and our finish line is coffee and breakfast — our reward for our 10,000 steps.
Should some anthropologist choose to pick up on this study – my notebook is full of observations. I have compiled a list of top behaviors most of them shifts as we have evolved into mid-life. Now that we are all in our mid-50’s the dialogue, tone and actual exercise has altered. Here’s what’s different and what’s not.
What’s Changed In The Last Few Years?
- We used to move faster. In fact, we even ran. Now we walk and we don’t really care how fast we move.
- We never measured how far we went– we didn’t have the GPS tools. We went out for an hour or so. Today we measure our output – every step matters and we are not satisfied until we reach the critical 10,000 steps.
- We used to talk about sex – we talked about it a lot. We could get some mighty good mileage on this topic. Some of us were more forthcoming on the topic of orgasms. Haven’t heard much on the topic lately….hmmmm.
- Our marriages. It used to be fun to talk about who was playing around. We got into speculating. Today the topic barely comes up and when it does – it’s an observation, rather than a judgment. We feel grateful to have our life partners and that gets mentioned a lot.
- What we are cooking for our dinner parties is barely a topic. We have become much more casual – it’s more about what we are bringing over for dinner. Potluck rules. Culinary performance is not a criteria for a good night out.
- Speaking of Pot…. We are talking about marijauna again. We used to share stories of our college escapades. We are no longer nostalgic – we are open to becoming experimental again– and no one’s judging.
- We were shocked if we had a malfunctioning body part. There was at times, just one of us, who may have a physical issue that got top billing. But now it’s a “group topic.” Everyone’s got something to say. Now, everything hurts and the one person who is not talking about their colonoscopy or aching feet, hips or backs– well, they will inevitably be joining the conversation shortly.
- We used to talk about how we were raised by our parents. Now we talk about how to take care of them – and we are struggling with this one.
- Decorating our homes was fun. We were growing our nests and it was creative. I learned about fabrics on morning meet-ups. I learned about paint colors. Today we talk about how much longer we will stay in the family home – when we will move, or where we will downsize.
- The topic of work has shifted. None of us are looking for the “ideal” 5 day a week job. We all have a patchwork of projects brewing.
- Creative outlets: each of us is looking for a way to express ourselves. Each of us is playing in the artist’s sandbox. We are all experimenting with writing, painting, photography, cooking and gardening.
But, some Topics Never Change:
We talk about hair. Nothing has changed. To color or not?
Food – we are still dieting – we are forever trying
Money – we are still trying to make it grow and make it last.
Our kids – we worry and brag and we always will.
Fashion – we bond on this topic however what to wear to weddings has trumped what to wear to the dinner party.
It helps somehow to think of changes in our bodies and minds as part of a bigger picture – like Elsa the Lion adapting to her new environment. Like the Gorillas in the Mist adapting, connecting and growing. We too are part of the spectrum and we are not inventing the wheel. There’s comfort to be had in knowing we aren’t blazing any great trails – just evolving.