Audio Posts In English

I’m a millennial and one of my best friends is a boomer. It’s helped me gain perspective about aging.

Age gap friendship women posing for photoThe author (right) and her friend have a 26-year age gap.

Courtesy of author

  • When I moved in 2019 I was excited to meet other parents.
  • Yet, the closest friend I’ve made is in an entirely different generation.
  • We bonded over workouts and time on the lake.

About a month ago, I was sitting in a café with my friend. I’m not one to fret about aging, but I was having some feelings about turning 35 that week. The number felt very much like approaching middle age and leaving the youthful chaos of my 20s and early 30s behind.

“Don’t worry. If I could go back to any age, it would be my 40s,” Dorian told me.

I knew this wasn’t just a shallow platitude. Dorian is 26 years older than me, so if she was telling me that the best was yet to come, I believed her. It immediately made me feel better. Not for the first time, I was so happy to have a friend of an entirely different generation to give me the perspective I just can’t get from my peers.

We met at the gym

I met Dorian back in 2021 when I joined a CrossFit-style gym. The world was opening up after quarantine, and I knew virtually no one in the town I’d moved to in 2019. I joined the gym largely for a social outlet.

The mid-morning group classes drew a mixed crowd. I was in my early 30s and usually the youngest person there. There were a few parents in their 40s, with kids similar ages to mine (who were 4 and 8 at the time), and people in their 50s and 60s. Out of everyone, I really clicked with Dorian.

I can’t explain why — she was one of the quieter people in the class and we were never partners for exercises. Maybe it was her “Gym and Tonic” t-shirt that made me laugh or her “Zookeeper” vanity license plate that reminded me to embrace the wilder moments of life. Perhaps because we couldn’t bond over the frustrations of parenting, we were nudged toward more meaningful topics.

When it was just us training together, we became close

If she were closer to my age, I would have suggested Dorian and I get a drink or do a lake day with the kids, but I felt funny moving our gym friendship into the real world because of our age gap. Looking back, I think I was worried she would think it was odd. Really, my hesitation was just a good old fear of rejection.

Luckily, fate intervened. In the summer of 2022, our gym suddenly changed its model. Many of the customers felt like the rug had been pulled out from under us, so we started a co-op-style training program at a different local gym. During the switch, the mid-morning class size dwindled. Often, it was only Dorian and I working out together.

That’s when our friendship blossomed. Since we were a duo rather than a group, we really got to know each other. When my daughter’s pony died unexpectedly, Dorian hugged me while I cried and made burial arrangements. When she was overwhelmed with helping plan her daughter’s upcoming summer wedding, I let her vent and reminded her it would all turn out perfectly.

It was years until I realized Dorian was the same age as my mom

Despite seeing each other at least five times a week, we never mentioned our age gap. I figured Dorian was about 20 years older than me, but at this point, it didn’t matter at all — we were buddies. I asked her about plants, and she tried to help me overcome my brown thumb. We shared recipes. We gossiped and giggled over small-town dramas.

Then, in 2023, I was talking about planning a surprise 60th birthday celebration for my mom. Dorian responded that she hoped to slip quietly out of her house on her upcoming 60th. Turns out, my new best friend was almost exactly the age of my mom. We also have the same age difference between me and my oldest daughter.

Yet, that difference doesn’t matter at all. If anything, it enhances our friendship. We’re not brought together just by shared circumstances or obligations. We’ve formed a connection just because we like each other. When we get coffee, go for a walk, or spend a day on the dock at Dorian’s lake house, we can enjoy spending time together just because.

On the day of my 35th birthday, Dorian handed me a card. It had the silhouette of a powerlifter squatting on the front, and she’d drawn a ponytail to make the card look a bit more like me. I had recently made a longtime squat goal, so this was perfect. Seeing how well Dorian knew me made me, I so appreciated her friendship, and that we didn’t let our age gap get in the way.

Read the original article on Business Insider