This is for all the women.  It’s great that you have a wonderful relationship with your husbands, but laughing with your girlfriends can extend your life.  I was reminded of that the other night. I don’t want to forget it.

There have been dozens of studies about how friendships affect health.  And, at 96, my mother and her friends are glorious examples of long-lasting friendship power.  Many of them went to high school together.  They had dinner parties and game nights and danced (boy, did they dance!) the years away.

As the years passed, they added additional friends to the group and kept meeting, eating, playing cards, and laughing. There are two reasons why friends help extend your life. They remove your sense of isolation which is important as you age. And they improve your mood (also known as making you laugh!)

When I was getting a divorce, my girlfriends took me hiking and then cross-country skiing.  I even tried downhill skiing and rolling a kayak with them.  All of these things got me out of the house, got me involved in learning something new, and taught me that I can do more than I thought I could.

When my father died, my mother’s friends got her out of the house, too.  They took her to the Senior Center to play cards, and when the people at the Senior Center turned out to be old farts, they took her to biker bars. Seriously, picture four white-haired 80-year-old women walking into a biker bar to play cards for money, winning, and striking up new friendships.  That really happened.   Yes, true to form, they even brought soup when they knew a biker wasn’t feeling well.  And they played in the bars for several years until driving at night became too difficult for them.

Nothing beats laughing with your girlfriends.  Even after they had to stop playing cards in biker bars, my mother, and her friends, continued to meet weekly to play.  All in their 90’s now, they gather (on good weather days) at my mother’s house, tell stories, laugh, and try to play cards.

That’s what I’m doing, laughing with my friends. You need to get out with your friends on a regular basis.  You need to laugh and laughing with your girlfriends can extend your life.  No lie, look at my mother and her friends.