A big goal of mine in 2015 has been to connect with family and friends more throughout my days and weeks. Although this seems like a ‘common sense’ goal and something that would be easily achievable, it’s amazing how quickly our precious time gets eaten up by not only our ‘have to’s’ but all these extra things that come our way that we feel obligated to do and end up taking on, leaving very little time for others, let alone ourselves, at the end of each day.
I believe a significant part of ‘living the good life’ means connecting with our people whenever and wherever possible. Spouses, children, family, friends, neighbors … whoever you consider ‘your people’ … make time and make room for them. The bottom line: We need each other and the encouragement, love, and support that comes from having our people in our corner.
One way I’ve managed to make this happen this year is by setting aside one Saturday a month to connect with two of my girlfriends. Two of us live in the same area, the other one is a little further away, but we make it work; she either comes to us or we go to her, and we spend an afternoon adventuring the local area, taking a break from the normal routine and being together, just us girls.
Cultivating great girl-friendships has meant a lot to me, personally, for a few reasons in particular …
For starters, growing up I was definitely more of a ‘tom-boy’ than a ‘girly-girl.’ I’ve never been much into fashion and material things, spending a lot of money on clothes and hair, and nails, nor did I swoon much over famous teenaged heartthrobs. I’ve always been what you might call more ‘modest’ and ‘simple’ and into things that involve being outdoors, going and seeing places, having experiences, etc. I’m the girl who grew up fishing with my dad on the Great Lakes, preferred camping to a hotel, would rather wear a hat than do my hair, and could be found playing out in the woods behind our house, building forts with my brother. Although I definitely embrace being a woman and some of those ‘girly-girl’ activities now, I’m still very much a ‘tom-boy’ at heart.
Secondly, I have found that there exists a strange competition among women. In childhood and into my adult years, I have experienced way more drama with female friends than male friends. It’s seemed almost easier at times to be friends with guys than with girls. Anybody else with me on this? In my experience, I found that among women friends, there tends to be more comparison, more sizing-up, more judgment, and more fear expressed. And I hate that. As women, we should stick together and help each other. We deal with things that men cannot and will not ever understand (sorry guys, but it’s true) and yet we’re the hardest on each other. So finding and keeping good girlfriends who can respect one another, embrace the differences that make us unique, and be there for each other no matter what is a HUGE deal to me!
Third and lastly, I’m a believer that when you have true relationships with people, although they won’t always be 50/50, there does need to be a mutual ‘give and take.’ I’m a person who gives my all when it comes to those things I hold most importantly in my life. But there have been times where all I’ve done is give and give and give and give, and never once did I receive anything in return – not just with friendships but other things too. And you know what? It doesn’t work. It burns me out, leaving me tired and feeling the ‘lack’ – the despair of what it is vs. what it could be – and it’s ultimately, discouraging.
My grandfather has always said, “If you can count your friends on one hand, you’re a very lucky person.” I feel incredibly blessed to say that I can count ten people who I would definitely consider my best friends, seven of whom are women. Two of them, I’ve already mentioned above and all of them are women I can trust implicitly, who I know would be there for me in my best and worst moments, and who I talk to on a fairly consistent and regular basis. These relationships have made a tremendous difference in my life through the years.
So, as this year continues, I hope and plan to make as much time for the wonderful girlfriends in my life as I can. A simple phone call, text, email, or Facebook message, going out for a meal, spending an entire day together or going away for a weekend … whatever it takes to cultivate and grow those friendships … I’m in! I strongly encourage you to do the same – to seek out that connection time and be blessed by what it fosters and nurtures in your life!
:: top image ::