In my winding path through the corporate world since 2006, I’ve encountered various managers and supervisors, each with their unique lessons to offer. While I could recount numerous positive takeaways from these experiences, one piece of advice, delivered with conviction, stands out as the most misguided.
From an early age, I’ve resonated more with older souls. Growing up as an only child, I often gravitated toward adults rather than kids my age. It was no surprise when I formed a friendship with a colleague twice my age during my early professional years. Our shared interests, as well as running into one another at evening classes at the University of Kentucky as we both worked on our Masters, drew us together. I found her fascinating and inspiring.
However, when news of our friendship reached my current boss during a monthly supervision session, it was met with disapproval. “Why are you friends with her?” I was questioned. “I find it very curious since she’s old enough to be your mother. You shouldn’t have friends at work, especially with such an age gap.”
Initially, it shook me to my core. My belief in the beauty of diverse friendships was questioned, leaving me confused and uneasy.
Fast forward to today. My closest confidants aren’t within my age group—one is a decade older, the other nearly a decade younger. Even my life partner doesn’t match my age bracket. And these last two years I’ve taken unforgettable girls’ trips with a cherished group of female friends spanning ages 29 to 73.
I’ve come to understand that biological age differs vastly from functional or subjective age. Without a doubt, my former boss thought she was protecting my interests. However, if I could converse with her today, I’d respectfully express, “You missed out, my friend. How unfortunate to limit your circle due to arbitrary constraints.”
Age doesn’t define the depth of our friendships or the richness of our connections. Instead, it’s a testament to the diverse mosaic of relationships that enrich our lives. Embracing friendships across generations serves as a reminder that genuine connections transcend all boundaries.
I cherish my current “horseshoe” of friends more than words express. Their ages, far from being a barrier, are the threads weaving our stories together. If we altered the timeline, would our paths even have crossed? I wouldn’t trade these connections for anything in this world—they’re the vibrant chapters of my life’s story, creating a mosaic of shared moments, laughter, and support.