How Finding Geriatric Friends Made Me Rethink Aging And Life

Want to truly treasure life? Hang out with people 30 years older than you.

Younger woman hanging out at nursing home with new friends Dean Drobot via Canva | South_agency via Canva

There's a point in every kid’s life where the biggest embarrassment they can face in school is being seen talking to their parents. I, however, knew that I was all about being an adult — even at age 10.

By the time I was 20, there was a certain level of awkwardness that people felt when they saw someone 20 years old hanging out with 50-year-olds. I remembered one guy who had two older friends getting told he had "mommy issues."


Well, to be honest, he did. He kept trying to befriend mother figures because his relationship with his own mom sucked. I feel bad saying this, but watching his relationships with older women prevented me from having much older friends for much of my life.

As I turn 35, I find myself eating my words. 

I met two senior ladies in my building, and believe it or not, we hit it off so well.


They actually stopped to talk to me because they saw my cats and started cooing at them. We quickly hit it off and guess what — they are into fashion, drinking, and pagan stuff!

We’ll call them Elly* and Gertie* for the rest of this article. Gertie is a fashionista who might just be the only person more extroverted than me. She literally will make a scene and stop people on the street just to make others laugh.

Elly is a little quieter, but a deep thinker. She can regale you with tales of her father’s trip to America, fighting Nazis, and how the first bell sleeves came to New York City. But, don’t be surprised. She’s a fighter and has no problem showing her scrappy side.

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The more I talk to Elly and Gertie, the more I really adore them as people.

As someone who has lived an extremely fringe life, I often find myself in situations that are hard to relate to. I mean, there aren’t many people in my life who I knew for decades, are older than me, and are still alive.

Sometimes, I feel like an outsider in my own generation. When I make an Abbott and Costello reference or a Laurel and Hardy reference, people just give me a blank stare. Don’t even get me started on my love of Scott Joplin or how much I adore Art Deco.

Being around Elly and Gertie has made it easier for me to find people who can relate. We also enjoy sharing all the crazy stories of things that happened in our lives — such as Gertie hanging out with BB King, or Elly’s fascinating stories about Garment District history, or her time at Studio 54.


There’s a certain quiet camaraderie that I found in Elly and Gertie that I didn’t know I was even missing. I felt like I wasn’t alone. I felt like I could connect with others who had similar experiences to me and who had lives that were, at the same time, totally different.

We’ve been able to trade suggestions on everything from old media to good music artists. Also, BB King has become a way more "real" artist just because I can now feel his personality through Gertie’s stories.

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Like many people my age, I also occasionally get scared of aging.

I know I look young, but like most other people, I worry about being older. I worry that I will wake up one day and not recognize my own reflection or that I’ll suddenly look like a soggy old tea bag.


I worry that people won’t like me or care about me when I’m older. I worry about not being able to enjoy the life I’ve worked to make for myself, or feeling cut off from the world at large. Sometimes, I also worry about being alone in my twilight years.

Let me tell you, Elly and Gertie blew that fear out of the water.

Like, have you ever seen how absolutely, incredibly content some older people are with their lives? Have you ever seen how many older single people are literally just living it up by traveling, having tea with friends, and trying out new recipes?

I have. Gertie and Elly can give me a run for my money when it comes to the sheer craziness we get ourselves into. I mean, the other day, I had to stop Gertie from scaring a shopkeeper when she pranked him into thinking she was going to steal a potted plant.


The other day, we decided that we’ll round up some of the other girls we know around my age for a tea party. But, we came up with a twist: the tea is going to have THC and we’re all going to light up our joints.

Oh, and we’ll be making finger sandwiches because we’re bougie like that. Much of this is because we wanted to have a rowdy tea party that would baffle our other friend who is a cop. It’s an epic plan that will involve hilarity.

With friends like Gertie and Elly, how could anyone feel scared about growing old? They’re what we young’uns call #goals.

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Let’s talk about "Big Crone Energy."

In the neopagan world, the Triple Goddess is often referred to as "the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone." This is a representation of the life stages of a woman.

  • The Maiden is the young girl stage. This is from birth to the time that a girl reaches full maturity.
  • The Mother is the stage of a woman’s life when she might have kids, nurture business ideas, or do something else that contributes to society.
  • The Crone is the older woman who often acts as the voice of wisdom and the matriarch of the group.

Gertie and Elly have what I call “Big Crone Energy,” and I mean it in the best way possible.

They are old. They do not care. They are going to have a good time, kvetch with everyone, and also share a cup of drink while they’re at it. They are, by and large, two of the coolest people I’ve met in recent years.


What I really noticed about Big Crone Energy is that it’s far more unified than the energy of most younger women I meet. Most teenage girls I knew in school were picking each other apart because of who they dated or who looked better.

Most adult women find themselves either stuck in the pursuit of the male gaze, running around trying to outdo others, or running themselves ragged taking care of everyone else. Mother Energy is a hard vibe to deal with.

Crone Energy? I love it. It’s a side of screw it mixed with girl power mixed with "don’t mess with me," mixed with wisdom and a sprinkle of love. The sooner girls can connect with BCE, the better they will be.


Life doesn’t end at 40. It’s only beginning, and Gertie and Ellie taught me that.

Behold, I have embraced my inner crone and I love it.

Grey hair? I won’t care. Wrinkles? Maybe some Botox, but mostly a side of "screw you, I am amazing regardless."

Now, if you can excuse me, I need to listen to some Sinatra. Thank you.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.