This year the youngest “baby” boomers are turning 50 and another 10,000 of us are turning 65 every day. For a group whose mantra was “don’t trust anyone over 30,” these numbers are pretty terrifying.
For years I walked around saying, “age is just a number and mine is unlisted.” I still wake up feeling 35, but one look in the mirror tells me otherwise. The older I get, the younger people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s seem to me, and the more I hope to live to 100.
The women in Okinawa are a great inspiration, with the world’s largest percentage of female centenarians. Much of their longevity is credited to their “moais,” five or more girlfriends they meet in childhood who remain close friends for the rest of their lives. These “moais” interact frequently for workouts, conversations, meals and get-togethers, serving as extended family and solving problems as a group. Not surprisingly, they spend plenty of time relaxing and drinking sake too.
I resonate completely with the “moais” approach to life. My long-term women friends get together as often as we can, taking yoga classes, paddleboarding, biking, hiking, cooking, or just hanging out. We trade stories, make-up, styling tips and anti-aging serums while we get our hair cut and colored, going blonder every year.
Okinawan’s centenarians also share a belief in a principle called Ikigagai, roughly translated as “the reason they wake up in the morning, their purpose.” Over the years my “moais” have gained and shared much wisdom too, learning to meditate, practicing mindfulness and experiencing the satisfaction of “giving back” by joining the boards of not-for- profits and mentoring young people in our professions.
We serve as sounding boards and springboards for each other through passages large and small. We’ve celebrated the exhilaration of marriage, childbirth, adoption and sending our kids off to college. And we’ve held hands during the overwhelming sadness of divorce and the death of parents, siblings and friends. We talk a lot more now about the deeper meaning of life, living more fully in the moment and appreciating all we have. I know wouldn’t be the woman I am without my girlfriends, and I’m sure they feel the same way about me. 100 anyone?