Girlfriend-ing in Your Thirties

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My best friend since fifth grade!

“The thing about old friends is not that they love you, but that they know you. They remember that disastrous New Years Eve when you mixed White Russians and champagne and how you wore that red maternity dress until everyone was sick of seeing the blaze of it in the office, and the uncomfortable couch in your first apartment and the smoky stove at your beach rental. They look at you and don’t really think you look older because they’ve grown along with you, and, like the faded paint in a beloved room, they’re used to the look.”-Anna Quindlen Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

In two weeks, I have a weekend with all of my college girlfriends. Something we do about 3-4 times a year and is always such a great time. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a bachelorette party for one of my high school buddies and got to road trip with some of my best friends from my elementary and teenage years. It was heavenly. Time to rehash really, really old stories and laugh with the people who knew you first, before you became a wife, Mom, short order cook and sippy cup bartender. Before you thought that 10 pm was “staying up late,” before you started talking about saving for college and retirement and health insurance and all that jazz. Before you were the you that you are now.

Girlfriend-ing in your thirties can be a challenge. Which is why, I think we set aside pre-planned weekends to have this time together. We’ve seen that the time won’t just happen, the “extra” time won’t ever just fall into your lap and, biggest realization of all since becoming a mother— nothing is really done successfully at the last minute. Pre-planning is not only convenient but absolutely necessary.

I’ve written a bit before about girlfriend-ing and it’s importance. And I continue to think that it holds a deep value and purpose in the life of a woman. In reading Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, she writes a whole chapter on girlfriends and how important they are not only as your confidant but as your reflection on you. A woman can’t reflect you like a man can. Women need each other— to be honest, candid, sympathetic and most of all just to help you to laugh at yourself—over and over again.

Finding time to be a friend was never really an issue in my younger years. Instead, it was basically the primary focus of my younger years. I used to have exercise (walking around town), coffee, wine and even dinner dates with friends on what seemed like a weekly basis. There was time to share the difficulties, the debates over major life decisions, the victories and the heartache. There was time to verbalize pretty much every feeling you had on any given day. And, as self-absorbed as it may sound, it was what kept you going in those early to mid twenty years.

Now, as people spread out, kids start getting into activities and everyone has their own schedules, things get tough. Tough to plan a time where everyone can hit the babysitter jackpot and get out without the kids. Tough to find a time when all kids are healthy and virus-free. It’s just more of a challenge than years passed.

So, the friends you tend to socialize with more regularly are your work friends. People who you share close relationships with but people you can also talk to about all things girlfriend—while you are at work. And even those conversations, now and again, need a good happy hour or dinner date to really be complete.

No matter what category the friend may fall into, if I am able to get a complete phone call in with any one of my friends–from high school, college or work, it’s a miracle. A lot of our lifestuff now is communicated via text, email (there’s one friend I email every day!) or just keeping an eye on each other on Facebook. There’s not as much time, not as much energy and sometimes not even enough brain power to have the ever so long winded chats you once did.

All you really want now is to have a complete conversation (without yelling “Do you need a time out?” Mid conversation), some good food or drink and laugh a little bit– or a lot. Thats why these girls weekends now are like gold. When you spend a whole weekend together, however, you are able to see a lot more of the whole person who is your friend. Their latest obstacles, funny stories, in-law complaints or even the sharing of great news. And you all get unlimited, unabridged and uninterrupted time to share this information and to remember yourself as a woman–detached from the children, the relationship or the job that (we think) defines us.

And that’s the gift of friendship at this age, I think. Making and getting— the time. Time for real girlfriend-ing that has not only a relaxing effect but a rejuvenating and refreshing effect on you—the you that your friends remember.

So share this post with all your girlfriends and plan the next girls weekend– you deserve it.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Carla Frio says:

    I wish we were friends and could enjoy time together whenever we get the chance. I really want to take a long car ride with you! :) miss you and can’t wait to see you soon!

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