I was a head coach at 22 and I loved it. The kids were funny, sweet, and caught up in that weird in-between space that happens in high school — being a kid and an almost grown-up at the same time.
They were amazing.
And a constant reminder of how much I thought I knew and how little I really did.
I was walking into the cafeteria with another coach and one of my runners came up behind me.
“Coach Crozier, all of your friends are old.”
The other coach, in her late 20s, gave the requisite “Hey!”, but I knew what he was talking about. Or better, who he was talking about.
The girl beside me was a coworker. The friends he was talking about were all in their 40’s and 50’s. They had kids my age or close. They were counselors, administrators, and Master teachers. They were hilarious, savvy, smart, and took no shit.
I adored them.
These women taught me how to do my taxes. They gave me solid financial advice and insight into the institution of marriage. They encouraged me through the ugly, hurtful gossip that follows young, single women around and through angry parent meetings. They advised me on my career and made me feel cared for while they did it. They weren’t condescending or catty.
They weren’t “jealous of a younger woman”. They knew they had the advantage. They knew their worth and, in turn, were generous enough to empower me.
As I moved and switched schools my M.O. never changed. I found the funniest, smartest, most confident lady I could and followed her around until she liked me. Full-on stalker style.
Sometimes it was my boss, sometimes it was another teacher, and not once did it backfire. Each time, I became a better teacher, a better friend, and a better person.
The women I’ve met since my husband began coaching college basketball are no different. For every ridiculous stereotypical “coach’s wife”, there are two women running their household/kids/family so well, they have time to put out a helping hand for us stragglers.
So, women in your late twenties and early 30s, here’s some advice: go right now and find an “old” friend.
Find you a 40+ lady and be her friend, because those chicks have their shit together. They’re funny, and smart, and encouraging, and confident.
They can parent circles around you, but are secure in themselves and have no need to make you feel like a total idiot.
They have careers, not jobs.
They have marriages that work or they’ve successfully left ones that didn’t.
They give advice using words that most 20YO social media influencers can’t even spell.
Society has taught you that these woman are threatened by you, but they’re not. They’re the ones who know what’s coming next.
They say behind every great man is a great woman. That may be true. But here’s what I know: behind every great woman is a group of other great women — cheering her on and lifting her up.
A last word of advice young ladies:
Your new “old” friend may not be great at posting to Instagram and she may own way too many tunics, but “old” friends make the best friends.
(Trust me. I’m almost 35, but I totally look 40.)
PS. “Old” is in quotes throughout this piece because as someone who watches both Blue Bloods and vintage NCIS I have zero authority over calling anyone else “old”. Also, it’s 8pm, now, so I can’t argue with you because I’m going to bed.
Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, teacher, mother, wife, blogger, and the owner of the eponymous Liza Dora Books. Her writing has been in publications around the world and her books have been featured in both media and print. She’s sold books in over ten different countries and her titles have been both Amazon Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers in their respective categories.