By: Susan “Honey” Good

It is early morning in Montreal, Canada. All is still at the Ritz, our home away from home for the next three days… except for my mind. It is racing a mile a minute because I am excited to share my musings with you.

We are traveling with another couple. The woman is one of my dearest friends. We share the same name, Susan. We are mothers and grandmothers. We enjoy the same values. We are one another’s fans. And that is where it stops, the sameness. She has been a high-powered businesswoman all of her life. She had to learn early on to be very direct, very strong and very competent. I have learned from her during our 26 years of friendship.

And so it goes with my women friends. I have never desired to be part of a ‘squad.’

Some women are ‘groupies,’ comfortable with their little team, other women spread their wings, mingling with women whose values are like theirs but their interests range in several directions. Other women have a select friend or two and many women spend their time with ‘best friends’ in their family.

What ever the case is, ‘no man is an island, no man stands alone.’

I am going to veer off course for a moment.

Yesterday, Susan and I, along with our guys, went to the old city in Montreal. Arm in arm we sauntered down the cobble street, two close friends. We laughed as we purchased the smallest umbrellas. It fits in a little case that is no more than five inches long and as light as a feather. You must order one. (Google: Fulton Umbrellas. Model WO35B on Amazon for $30.08.) We also bought matching gorgeous fur hats at Boutique Nanuk, laughing and giggling as we modeled several styles.

Seriously after hours of shopping and sightseeing the two of us snuck off to have a hamburger at the Ritz bar, this girl from Chicago and her dear friend from New York. We had a heart to heart about our present lives. It felt good.

After I left Susan, I went into thinking mode. I tend to think of myself as a deep thinker. I am certain I am an astute observer.

I want to share my thoughts.

I think women, over fifty, who live within the confines of ‘a squad’ should take five and remind themselves it may not be all it is cracked up to be.

Here is my reasoning:

~It is harder to express your individuality because you want to avoid clashes within your group.

~You cannot spread your wings, have separate friends and enjoy a more interesting social life and have a broader perspective on life in the ‘group.’

~ There is real pressure to conform within a ‘group’ whose approval you crave. There is always the Alpha Dog, the leader, the director.

~There is drama. A group can be exhausting. Women love drama and an innocent situation can be blown out of proportion if you are not careful.

On the other hand:

~I know women who chose to spread their wings and branch out on their own soon realized that being their own person was empowering. If you choose to do something you can do it…you don’t have to run it by the ‘group.’

~I know it is a wonderful feeling to know there is a freedom being able to think for yourself, make your own choices. You’d be surprised how much value you place on everyone else’s opinion in a ‘group.’

~I know it is exhilarating for a woman to have friends who have varied interests.  My closest friends run the gambit. I have learned so much from them.

Age fifty and over is a great time for new beginnings. Embrace your opportunities.  Now is the perfect time to spread your wings by cultivating new friendships.

Do something GOOD today: Branch out of your ‘squad’ & do something different!