I knew I needed to spend more time with my girlfriends. That’s why I made it a 101 list item.
But in truth, no one should have to make a personal goal to spend time with friends. That’s ridiculous.
Busyness can easily suck away all that is good and meaningful in life for that which is temporary and never-ending. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work hard when it’s time to work and work extra when needed, but work (and this and that and then something else) can all too easily become the all of the be-all and end-all of life.
Many months ago I noticed that I wasn’t having as much fun as I used to have. I got up, exercised, went to work, came home, spent about two hours with Kelly and the furbabies, then went to bed. The next day, I repeated the cycle.
Do you know what happens when you’re trapped in the lather-rinse-repeat of life?
You lose perspective. You don’t have interesting things to contribute to conversation. You’re out of touch with things outside yourself.
It’s not pretty.
So I decided to be intentional about reestablishing something that’s always been a big part of my life – spending time with my girlfriends.
I reconstituted my by-invitation career women’s lunch. Monthly lunches, discussing work challenges and successes reinvigorated my brain.
I went to lunch with friends from former jobs. Reconnecting, sharing old stories and new made me smile for days on end.
I traveled to spend a few nights with my college (and still) BFF. Everyone should do that – but spend time time with your BFF, not mine. The best friendships are long-time friendships.
Together with my new BFF, we ditched our husbands to spend time together when we got together as couples. Again, highly recommended. Friendships grow when watered.
I ran weekly with girlfriends from running club and over time, we became more than women who ran together. Week-after-week of miles and miles builds camaraderie, trust and authenticity.
I had monthly breakfasts with girlfriends I mentored. I found the time I spent with them to be clarifying for myself as I revisited issues that were new struggles for them and old struggles for me. I was reminded of who I am, based on what I’ve experienced and how I’ve grown.
I went to happy hour with girlfriends that I never see otherwise. On every scheduled “we’ll just meet for an hour on a Tuesday,” I found myself lost in conversation for hours. I do have things to share and conversation can be easy.
I had late dinners and text message exchanges and long phone calls with women who became girlfriends when I wasn’t expecting it. Although we all reach an age when we’re no longer looking for friends, that’s not to say that the perfect friend isn’t going to come across your path. Treasure those.
I joined a book club with women from my hometown. We meet monthly to drink wine and discuss books that I likely never would have made time to read otherwise. I grow from their perspective.
All in all, I’ve been reminded that spending time with other women is critical for my mental health. But I’ve also learned that I don’t like simply spending time with women in general.
The tribe that I’ve surrounded myself with are smart, funny, clever and complex.
I struggle with the superficial. I grow tired of gossip and catty jealousy. I am sick-to-death of those who brag and pose but never do. I don’t have time and patience for immaturity.
It was so freeing to accept that I didn’t have to spend time with those types of women, I adjusted my list of phone contacts, cleaned my blog roll, edited my Twitter follows – I gave myself permission to be who I am and to spend time with those that support that and, in their own way, reflect the same characteristics.
That was a lesson I wasn’t expecting. And for that, I’m glad I made put the ridiculous item “Spend more time with my girlfriends” on my 101 list.