First Lady Michelle Obama turns 50 today. Front and center in today’s New York Times is a feature about how she’s “finding her own path.” But what impressed me most about this piece is what reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, and her editor, chose as the lede. Because what it put front and center, and told us at the top, is that Ms. Obama is a girlfriend.
She has perfected a mean forehand, is working on her yoga poses, dishes with girlfriends over brussels sprouts and dirty martinis (one olive) at the Mediterranean hotspot Zaytinya, pushes her two daughters to play two sports — one of her choosing and one of theirs — and said this week that the wonders of modern dermatology, like Botox, are in the realm of possibility for her.
While I’m already a fan of hers (even more so, since I’ve learned, like me, she “dishes” over dirty martinis), I’m giving her an extra nod because she’s in touch with her female-friendship side – crucial for aging well. Smart women know this.
And while this is not new news, and I realize Julie and I trumpet incessantly about how much we love, and need, our girlfriends, its value is always worth noting. Let this piece on our first lady nudge all women in middle age to put front and center – along with keeping ourselves fit, eating right, staying mentally engaged, nurturing our families, saving the planet, doing for those less fortunate – time with our gal pals.
So Happy Birthday, Ms. Obama. (Can I call you Michelle?)