Our shoes kicked off, we sprawled on the living room couch and surrounding chairs like teenagers. We’d eaten dinner, sipped some wine, and were simply hanging out. And we couldn’t stop talking. Or laughing. We talked about sex (how much we were or were not having.) We talked about our kids (how was each doing?) We caught up on work (should we keep doing it or will we finally stop?) We talked about our parents—whose mom was doing well, whose was not. No one wanted to go home. In fact, we lingered longer than any of us meant to.

But there was no rush. Because we were six middle-aged women whose time is our own. Let’s face it, one of the great ironies of life is that when you’re young and single, all you want is to find a partner and settle down. Then, once you settle into married life, all you want is time to be with your girlfriends.

Suddenly, though, you reach middle age, and a great opportunity for balance emerges. Likely, your kids are adults, your career is established, your relationship is (hopefully) stable. Most of your mistakes are behind you and there’s still a lot of life ahead of you. You can dig into what really interests you. For me, that means playing a lot of tennis (is four times a week too much?), traveling with my husband, solving crosswords, and enjoying time with my adult daughters who no longer live near us.