Meet my friend Sylvia, almost 80 years old. We’ve known each other for almost 7 years and see each other often to chat and have dinner. Despite an age difference of more than 50 years and a different background we have a very interesting friendship. We are open to each others ideas and perspective of the world. 

Syl, how do we start? Can you tell me something about the time you grew up in? How was your childhood? How was society and how did you feel about that?

I was born in 1939, there were no equal rights between men and women. My mother wanted to divorce in 1950. It was impossible for a woman to divorce in those times: you needed proof of adultery. My father had a girlfriend at that time… but there was no proof. After three years she managed to get a divorce. In 1971 a new law was formed: Law of Separation.

My father was a Spartan: feeling ill was not allowed. He was very authoritative and militaristic when I was growing up. It was very good for me (and I think my four sisters) that my parents got divorced. I think it is very special that my mother made the divorce happen in those days. Also, I think it is very special that my mother was so open minded, both during and after the war. I still enjoy this until this day. Women were not legally allowed  to make decisions: divorce, buying a house etc. As a woman you were dependent of your husband. But my mother, she was a dentist and she had possibilities. She was open to anything. For example: when I wanted to take a boyfriend home, she told me: you can do what you want but you have to make the bed yourself! Everyone was welcome in my mother’s house. What wasn’t allowed at other families was allowed at my place. I experienced a lot of freedom. Freedom a lot of people know or dare to seek nowadays. I think that is a very positive development.

What did you do with the information of your mother in your own personal life?

I was married to the ‘wrong’ person for way too long. Even though I had my mother’s example! My mother showed me you don’t have to be dependent of someone else. That’s why I didn’t understand why I was in the same situation for so long. I felt dependent of this man. My mother kept on saying: money can’t and shouldn’t hold you back. Eventually I got a divorce.

This relationship experience is very important to me. I cherish the moments I had with him. I have a lot of nice memories and I became a more worldly woman because of him. Always try to cherish what a relationship gave you the moment the relationship is finished. Don’t regret it and see it as a meaningful experience.

Falling in love, getting engaged and getting married was an obvious relationship form. Nowadays there are a lot of other forms between dating and a relationship. There is a lot of choice and people marry much less. What do you think about this development?

Freedom of choice is a big problem for a lot of people. There is a lot of choice and this causes stress. I think freedom of choice is a good thing! There is a possibility to find out what you want, what you like, what matches your personal needs. Enjoy this freedom of choice!

I think it’s a very positive development. 

I agree, freedom of choice is something special and I think we should consider ourselves lucky to have this kind of freedom.

Do you like to read more about two generations getting personal? Keep updated by checking our Sarah’s profile!

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Sarah Goslinga

My name is Sarah Goslinga, psychologist and coach at NiceDay. It's important to me that you have a real connection with your coach and that you feel you can discuss anything. There are many different things I like to do, such as making music, roller skating or dancing!

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