I am such a lucky girl. I don’t count my blessings nearly often enough, and I count them daily. I have a great family, my mom, my kids, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, and many departed family members I am grateful to have had in my life as well. I have many friends and many acquaintances, all of whom I cherish. I have a good job, a good career and many talents. I have my health and my fitness. I have a special someone to love who loves me in return. I have so, so much to be grateful for, I have not yet begun to account.
Of my friends, I have a group of friends I have known for nearly “all of time”; a couple of us have been friends since kindergarten, the rest joined us along the way. There are five of us and we were nearly inseparable in high school. I am so happy to still be close to these “girls”. We may not see each other as frequently as we’d like, but we will always be close. Some are closer than others, with the demands of careers and families and the division that distance and absence can cause. But we are all still close.
This weekend we had the good fortune to be able to spend the weekend together at a villa in the Shenandoah Valley wine country in Amador County in northern California. Being Napa girls and with connections in the wine industry, this wonderful opportunity was made available to us. It was as if time had never passed, and again, as though it had been ages. We talked and shared stories, reminisced and laughed not just over lunch, as we try to do every so often, but for the entire weekend, beginning late Friday morning and ending late Sunday evening. Just the five of us; no kids, no spouses or significant others, no Internet and not much of a cell signal. It was a retreat, really, in every sense of the word, and a time I will cherish for the rest of my life.
We talked about all the things we used to talk about; the guys we dated, who did who, who may have been first to “lose it” (still unclear), other friends and acquaintances, and all those stories of our youth. We shared pictures and we took pictures. We talked about more current topics; health, husbands, movies, music, careers, the triumphs and the tragedies of life and of our dreams. We floated in the pool, played outrageous card games and a little tennis, watched movies and ate fabulously. There was a winery at the end of the driveway and we didn’t even make our way there. Every minute was spent just being us. It was magical.
And in spite of challenges in life that we face, some serious health issues, career challenges, joblessness, financial trials, marital strife, not a tear was shed. There was only joy, laughter and the undying support that only lifelong friends can understand.
All I can say is, if you have friends that you don’t see as often as you’d like, or if you’ve lost contact with friends you once held dear, make every effort to reconnect, or to reconnect more often. When we are blessed with such friendships, we need to give them some priority. It is vitally important to have time apart from those who occupy our daily life; spouses, children, parents, co-workers. Reserve time for those whose friendship you held dear before spouses and children and the demands of family and career. Amidst all the daily demands of our life and what seems like so little free time, it is so very important to retain our individualism, our autonomy, and occasionally, our freedom from the life that dictates the ordinary day. We become ourselves again when we are removed from that which occupies our daily life in an almost robotic repetition. We are refreshed and rejuvenated by our renewed sense of self that only a separation from daily life and the bonds of friendship can provide. To fortify our sense of self strengthens who we are for the rest of the roles in our life. Make it a priority, and often enough to make a difference.
Dear friends are the truest of blessings. Cheers.