Time is our most precious resource. We live in a time where we are ridiculously overscheduled. Women struggle with making time to get everything done. While juggling so many different hats, how do you make time for it all and still maintain strong bonds with your tribe?
I feel like a hamster in a wheel sometimes, always moving. Working full time, raising three kids, maintaining their schedule, running two websites and writing a book is a busy life! LOL! This month, I made it a point to connect and reconnect with my friends. Since the beginning of the year, my friends and I have become increasingly busy. This is the year of bringing things to completion, and my girlfriends are focused on various levels of personal and professional achievement. (Side Note: Look out…my sisters are making some incredible moves in 2017!) We send occasional texts or talk via social media, but it seemed like connecting “face two face” was becoming harder to do.
I was on Facebook and posted that I was watching the Sex and the City Movie (I’ll be honest, I was bawling through most of it because there are so many moments that remind me of my girlfriends). A few of my girlfriends saw my post, and we instantly decided it was time for a “ G.N.I.” 0therwise known as” Girls Night In.” We set a date and gave each other time to clear schedules, find sitters, etc. The theme of the night was “Sex in the City,” and we planned to watch the movies and TV show, stay up late, eat and drink for 24 hours! I decided to handle cocktails and made four martinis for each of the characters and had special glasses made for each of my friends with their favorite character from the show. My other girlfriends handled the food. I looked forward to it all week and couldn’t wait to see everyone. It was such a long time since we were able to hang out uninterrupted, our girls night in was a much needed evening of fun. We laughed, joked, had plenty of martinis and passed out in the early hours of the morning! It was just the girls and I being silly and having fun! The best part of a G.N.I. is the bonding. Just a few girls lounging in martinis and Pajamas bonding over one of our favorite shows! These are the memories I hold in my heart. Moments like this allow us that quality time to catch up, reminisce, and bond.
I remember going to sleepovers as a little girl and how much fun I had with my elementary school friends. They were memories I still hold dear, and they solidified those friendship bonds. Even as adults, we need times like those with our friends. As adults with families and responsibilities, we must be more strategic in making time to connect with friends.
A childhood friend of mine lost her dad recently. As word spread and we all gathered to pay our respects, I was able to reconnect with my friends from elementary school, High school, college and young adulthood. These ladies were my very first tribe. We grew up together. Friends since grade school and beyond, over the years, I’d lost touch with some of them and seen others now and then with promises to connect that never materialized. I spent the entire day with them, and we decided to get together for brunch later in the week. Seeing them for the first time in a while was magic. The laughter never went away, and the memories came flooding back like it was yesterday. These friends were my sisters. We grew up together and shared so much through the years. It’s was a beautiful and fun time when life was less complicated. These were the women I saw every day in high school, college and spent most of my day. We’d seen each other get married, have kids, and start businesses and careers. All of that came flooding back with just one night of reminiscing while comforting a friend during her time of need. It was food for my soul. I missed them more than I even knew. I missed the comradery we shared. It served as a reminder that while friendships may change and individuals go in different life directions, the love remains; the sisterhood remained…it never left even when we did. Sometimes it’s good to make the time to reconnect after some time apart.
After my marriage had ended, I was in a weird space and was starting over and not knowing who I was and what I wanted out of life. I was confused and lost but didn’t know how to articulate it at the time. I just knew I needed to “find myself” and discover my purpose and that was something I was going to have to do on my own. These women were always in my heart, but I had to take some time to focus on myself, my healing and finding my voice again. My only regret was that I had communicated that better back then.
Some friendships change as you get older, other friendships fall away, but the special ones always remain a place you can always call home. Sometimes we have to understand when friends are going through things that they may need time and space. Healing is a process. Some people need time to find their way and life path, but the circle remains a “safe space” where you can always come home.
“Chop it up.”
Taking time isn’t just about having fun girls’ nights in, reconnecting and reminiscing with old friends, sometimes it’s about getting real. My friend, Michelle, always tells me “let’s chop it up” real soon. That’s her way of saying, “let’s get together and talk.” Sometimes friends need that quality time just to get real. I have to admit I’m getting better at this but I wasn’t always conscious of asking about what was going on with my friends. We get so busy sometimes we forget to just “check in” and “chop it up.” A couple of my girlfriends try to get together for a "weekly wrap-up" in the summer time. We grab wine and food and hang out on the back porch and just talk about what's going on in our lives. It's a great way to connect and stay connected. When was the last time you asked your friend, how they were doing? What was going on in their lives? We live in a digital society and tend to forget what conversation is. We are too busy texting, messaging, DM’ing, instead of picking up a phone and saying “Hey girl, what’s going on?” One of the foundations of real friendship is reciprocity. Sometimes we get caught up in our lives and forget our friends have lives too. We can’t expect our friends to be there for us to lift us up, encourage us when we haven’t made time for them.
Enjoying quality time, reconnecting and having real conversations strengthen our relationships, foster an environment of trust and create those “safe spaces,” where women can get real, be open, heal, grow and learn from one another.
While we all get busy with our lives, it’s important to make time for the ones we love, just like we make time for our other relationships. It’s ok if you need to “schedule time” because we are adults with increasing responsibilities.
So whether it’s an annual girl’s trip, a quarterly G.N.I., a weekly cocktail or phone call or a monthly dinner date, make time for your friends, connect with them, reach out to them and check on them. It reminds us that we have people who are on our side, who care and who love us and there is nothing better than knowing people love and care for you!
Take care of yourself and one another