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When you're a woman dating a younger man, you become obsessed with the stories of other women doing the same thing. Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Getty. You clock the couples who didn't work out and you regularly check in on the ones who are still together. You take entirely speculative notes about what's working for the latter and what didn't for the former. You search for similarities between your May-December romances and use them as clues as to whether you're doomed:.

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When Emily, 77, told me that as long as I had enough money to pay my rent and feed myself, I should stop worrying, it was like she knocked one of my loose screws back into place. Her perspective felt refreshing, like a splash of cold water on a tired face. She was funny and irreverent, chock full of unassuming wisdom. I walked away from our conversation with a dopey smile, wondering if I could rope her into a weekly lunch.

A few weeks ago, Amelia, Leandra and I set out to interview women who had been around the block a few more times than us. Scroll down to read their perspective and see if you get what we mean.

3 women on what they’ve learned in their 70+ years of life

I think you will. I had a lot of energy then and I still do! I ski, I do yoga, I go to the theatre and the opera and the ballet. I feel terrific. Albert and I just had our 25th wedding anniversary, which was a big bash with balloons and people. I danced all night.

I had a good time. How should I spend it? I never thought about it. I was too busy flying to Europe or the Middle East or partying or being jet-lagged. I was a flight attendant my whole career, 36 years. I was never sad at the thought of turning 30 or I was having too much fun. At 39, I moved to New York from Chicago to leave a bad marriage. And then I was a bachelorette in New York City. It was a fun time. When I was traveling around the world last year, I came back to find my husband had a heart problem. I was shocked. I see him being ill, and I see other people getting really sick.

Aside from making sure I have long-term-care insurance and all that, I try to stay present. I think about my scheduling. About how many ballets can I go to in June. I take very good care of myself. I exercise, I do my yoga, I eat well, I take a lot of supplements.

When I talk to young people, I learn things from them. Young people have so much life, you know?

Why doesn’t age matter to some?

It was the perfect decision for me, and most people I know that made the same one are still happy about it. It helps that we live in New York.

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New York breathes all this excitement. In mind, I mean. Hang out with the young people, hang out with new people!

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I see some people hanging around the same couples for years. I mean, what are you going to talk about? Anything interesting?

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And stop worrying so much. I have some young friends that work hour days. Working too much is really the wrong way to do it. What is success? Financial success? You gotta have a little life, a little fun. Find your soul. I used to be a model. I modeled for a very long time. I loved working with [the other models]. We all had Sassoon haircuts and we all smoked brown Sherman cigarettellos.

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I grew up in a fashion household. My dad was in the knitwear business. When I was about 12 or 13, he told me he wanted me to model the sweaters. I had no tits then, I have no tits now. That started my foray into the industry. My parents were both European. They were from Poland and Russia, but they were in this country many, many years and they met and married here. They had a lot of artist friends and a lot of singer friends and so the household was always [full of people].

What it's like to be 'the older woman'

When people came to dinner, there was a choice of two things: they could have meat or they could have fish, and my mom believed too much is never enough. She was a redhead and had a great eye. We lived in The San Remo, which is this wonderful tower on the west side.

It was a very creative time. I sleep with a body chain. I have two ankle bracelets that never come off and these three little diamond things that never come off.

And glitter is important. A touch of glitter here and there is definitely important. It makes me happy. A little glitter uplifts your personality. I learned about living in Europe, I learned about dance, I learned about directing, I learned about painting.

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These people were very important in my life, but I never wanted to be with them forever. Living together, fine, but living apart is better. I have a huge amount of friends and a lot of close friends. They immediately think, Oh, senior citizen.

Age disparity in sexual relationships

But if you are who you are, you could be 20, you could beand you are who you are and it comes across. Things happen to you physically [as you start to get older], although I have young friends going through a lot of stuff at well. I am a year survivor of breast cancer, but I found it early.

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The best thing [about getting older] is knowledge. I do have regrets that my mother died. By the time we got to her it was too late. I have regrets that I was a Madoff person you know, Bernie Madoff.

I have big regrets about that because it changed a lot of my lifestyle; I never got any money back. The whole thing was a mess. You settle in. He changed dramatically. If I could give my younger self advice, I would say be fearless but cautious. Go with your nose, with your instinct. He sleeps with this older woman? Do I miss anything about my youth? What I miss is the view forward. In my youth, life was endless. We never think we will die tomorrow.

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We live in an illusion of limitless life. I grew up after the war — death was so eminent.

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My grandmother died upstairs in a mahogany bed and two days later, that bed became mine. Also, you must take care of your body. I grew up very healthy. We had a farm, and I grew up without sugar. You should know what to eat and what not to eat.

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Gery Karantzas receives funding from the Australian Research Council.
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