I spent this last weekend receiving the best therapy I know of: spending long hours talking, eating, walking and just enjoying the presence of my best, oldest girlfriends. I have known these six women for decades, ranging from 16 to 32 years (most of them 20 years or more). We came together as a group in middle school, adding a few folks as they moved to Dallas and others moved away. At times since our graduation from high school we have gone years without talking, but recently we have all made room and time for annual get-togethers, where we end up talking and talking and talking for 2-3 days, taking time only to shop for food or go on occasional walks.
Though we all share a love of good conversation, reading, healthy pursuits, food and travel, we are not too much alike anymore. Time and age have taken us in different directions. We have settled in states all across the country. We have very different jobs in various sectors, including corporate and health, nonprofits and academia, entrepreneurs and stay-at-home moms. Five of us are married; four of those have kids (ages 1-5). We are liberal or libertarian, Christian and agnostic, and all sorts of in-betweens. Though we all attended a well-to-do high school, our personal budgets and families’ funds range from just-getting-by to way upper class.
As a group, we have had a lot of blessings, but there have also been some hard times. We have leaned on each other through deaths of our parents, marital strife, fertility issues and miscarriage, parenting and family challenges, job stress, dating issues, sex issues, and all the aches and strains of growing up and trying to become our best selves.
The joy, the incredible blessing of this group of women is that we have created a safe place to be our true selves. We all hang up our pretenses, our "everything is fine" versions of ourselves, and we just relax into the comfort of being totally natural. We talk frankly and openly about anything and everything. We tend to skip over the everyday details to instead tackle the big stuff that most of us don't have a chance to regularly address. We offer each other support, advice, comfort and open minds.
This is therapy at its greatest. And not only do I get all this in a weekend, but I also get a break from my everyday life. I was off schedule, sleeping late, drinking a little too much booze, staying up late, and not having to worry about a to-do list. I was responsible for no one, and I even left my study materials unopened. It was freeing. It was glorious. It was restorative.
I returned home to a husband who (once he recovers), realizes how truly challenging it can be to be home with a toddler all day; thus he missed me and is quite appreciative of my return. I was elated to see my Baby Girl, even in her new whiny state, and I gave her my full attention for a long afternoon of home play. I am looking forward to jumping into my last two weeks of studying for my exam. All in all, I am refreshed. I return to real life a better version of myself. I needed this. I need this in the future. Thank you, friends.