Page 1Group 8Group 7Group 7
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

Why I Hold On Tight to Old Friends

One of the biggest arguments I ever had with my father was over a corned-beef sandwich.

I had just graduated from college and was living at my parents’ house in Queens while working in New York City. One evening, my mom picked me up from the train station, and I asked her what she’d made for dinner. I wasn’t thrilled with what she said, and so I asked her to stop at the deli so I could grab a corned-beef sandwich. 

When I got home, my dad greeted me. He started asking a million questions about my day, but before I could answer, he noticed the sandwich.

“Why do you have a sandwich? Mom made dinner,” he said.

“Wasn’t in the mood for chicken,” I said.

All I wanted was to change my clothes, eat my sandwich, and watch 90210. But my dad and I wound up in a screaming match over that sandwich. I called my friend Elena to come pick me up, grabbed some clothes, and ran out when I heard her honk, leaving the sandwich behind. I spent the rest of the evening with Elena and our friend Debbie at the 24-hour diner, eating fries with gravy and complaining about how infuriating our parents were.

It’s the kind of story you had to be there to fully understand. And Debbie and Elena were.

The three of us met in middle school and grew up together. We went to the same school, attended the same parties, and spent many weekends staying up way too late talking. When we left each other for college, we cried. Our friendships continued, but we saw each other less often and long-distance rates kept us from even speaking much. When we graduated from college, our lives took similar but different paths. We attended each other’s weddings, but calls and visits remained sporadic. Still, there was closeness among the three of us that didn’t dissipate.

That’s why, five years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer, I reached out to them.


It’s inconsequential stuff that’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t lived it. But it’s the stuff that explains me: whom I was then and how I became whom I am today.


I am fortunate to have made many good friends throughout my adult life. We’ve spent a lot of time together at school functions, barbecues, and soccer games. And when my Dad went into the hospital, those friends sprung into action. They offered me support and love. When I had to be out of town, they drove my kids to their activities, cooked meals for my family, and listened to me cry.

But they didn’t know Steve, my dad. Debbie and Elena did. They knew the embarrassing loud red Monte Carlo car he drove us to parties in. They’d seen him in his ridiculously low-hanging dungarees tending to his precious tomatoes. They knew all about the corned-beef sandwich.

It’s inconsequential stuff that’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t lived it. But it’s the stuff that explains me: whom I was then and how I became whom I am today.

They wanted updates on his health, so we began speaking more often. On days I was sad, Debbie and Elena made me laugh with stories about things my dad did when we were kids. They helped me forgive myself for the arguments that he and I had over the years, because they knew how much we loved each other. They gave me hope when the doctors had none. They reminded me that he had beaten cancer before, when we were in our 20s, and he could again. They lived through that time with me then, and they were living through it with me again. 

Two surprising things happened in the last five years. First, thanks to terrific medical care, an experimental drug treatment, and an inner strength against all odds, my dad is still going strong. He’s playing golf, planting tomatoes, and wearing those same ridiculous dungarees. Second, I rediscovered my childhood friends. They are a mirror of my past. Not only did they know my dad, they knew me. They remember whom I was before I became a wife, a mom, and a full-fledged adult — and they allow me to remember myself in a way I had forgotten. I am sure I do the same for them.

Looking back at our shared history helps us deal with the present and feel less alone as we face the future. When the three of us commiserate about our current struggles with our adult children, we remind each other that we, too, drove our parents crazy when we were our children’s age. I know my oldest friends are there to support me, give me advice, make me laugh, and pick me up for a plate of fries at the diner whenever I need them. And that’s irreplaceable.

Photo: Beatrix Boros

You Might Also Like

I Feel OK About My Neck
#RealTalk

I Feel OK About My Neck

The late Nora Ephron’s essay “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is...

read
7 Lessons for My Younger Self
#RealTalk

7 Lessons for My Younger Self

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” said...

read
Every Wrinkle Tells a Story
#RealTalk

Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

As I approach 50 and beyond, I look at myself differently. Whereas...

read
Is Self-Love Overrated?
#RealTalk

Is Self-Love Overrated?

I’ve twice been told I have extraordinary arms. The first was in...

read
WTF Is a #CuratedLife?
#RealTalk

WTF Is a #CuratedLife?

I have been working to figure out social media. God, is it...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
Women Who Inspire: Actress and Author Lisa Oz
Living

Women Who Inspire: Actress and Author Lisa Oz

Lisa Oz is the wife of Dr. Oz, but she’s never languished...

read
10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us
Living

10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us

They’re not celebrities. They don’t have a ton of money. But they...

read
5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems
Beauty

5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems

It seems that with age comes a more complicated skin care routine....

read
5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain
Yoga

5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain

If you have lower-back pain, you are not alone. According to the...

read
Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?
Wellness

Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?

New research studying carb intake in relation to mortality confirms that contrary...

read
Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?
Living

Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?

Welcome to Office Hours, where a Fairygodboss expert answers a question from one of...

read
5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party
Wellness

5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party

’Tis the season for a cookie party. Legendary cookie baker Dorie Greenspan...

read
Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?
Wellness

Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?

Back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, headaches. We tend to attribute inconvenient...

read
Put an End to Your Perfectionism
Wellness

Put an End to Your Perfectionism

Earlier this year I had an epiphany: The never-ending feeling that I needed...

read
Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod
Living

Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod

Gillean McLeod, 62, admits being “late to the game” has been somewhat...

read
The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide
Living

The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide

From hard-to-shop-for men to the gal who likes it all, the people...

read
Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over
Fitness

Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over

If even thinking about shopping gives you a hot flash, you’re not...

read
Perfect Presents Under $150
Living

Perfect Presents Under $150

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t break the bank. We found 13 presents under...

read
Great Gifts for Good Guys
Living

Great Gifts for Good Guys

Why are guys so hard to buy for? We don’t have the...

read
The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies
Living

The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies

We got hungry just thinking about wrapping up these tasty holiday gifts...

read
Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude
Living

Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude

Whether you’re just popping over for dinner or staying a few days,...

read
Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness
Wellness

Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness

Don’t stress over holiday gifts for your gals who walk the wellness...

read
Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods
Wellness

Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods

If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from obesity, diabetes, high...

read
Need to Know: Heavy Metals
Wellness

Need to Know: Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are odorless, invisible, and virtually undetectable — but they’re of increasing...

read
Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks
Style

Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks

You laugh. You sneeze. You cough. You do 13,791 burpees at the...

read
Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?
Beauty

Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?

Hair removal has long been an integral part of beauty routines. As...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
Load More
share
To Top