Today I start on a new journey with one of my girlfriends. It’s one that I have no experience with even though I’ve been a caregiver for many years now. Together we’re entering into a world of medical terms we’re forced to learn, side-effects that are unknown and outcomes that are not certain.
While she has an incredibly supportive family, sometimes you just need your girlfriends. They’re the ones that you can share your fears with because your family will just be too freaked out.
It got me to thinking about the richness of my friendships now and how they are so different than when I was younger. I still have girlfriends from when I was in my 20’s. In fact, the first friend I made when I moved to Los Angeles is to this day one of the people who knows me best. But as we got older the requirements of our relationship changed. In our 20’s and even 30’s we spent most of our time on crazy adventures laughing or consoling each other over our latest break-up. We talked about our burgeoning careers and our next step up the corporate ladder. Our friendship got real though when my infant son died of SIDS. Within hours of me calling her with the most horrific news I would ever have she was on a plane coming across the country to stay with me and comfort me.
Her way of dealing with tragedy was different. She needed to deal with it privately. She didn’t call me when she was going through a rough divorce and becoming the caregiver for her mother. I didn’t pry – I just waited patiently. When she was ready she reached out and I too was then on a plane across country to listen and support.
There are other women who have entered my life in my 40’s. As is common we were brought together through our kid’s friendships or activities. But our friendships transcended this connection. As I got older I was able to more quickly assess the women who I would form true bonds with and who, like me, needed girlfriends with whom they could be honest and vulnerable. To share hopes and also fears and know it was safe. In my 40’s the conversations changed from comparing toddler’s achievements and celebrity gossip to the evolution of relationships with your older kids and spouses, health issues, aging parents but, most importantly the next steps in our lives towards personal fulfillment. The s&*t gets real.
These are friendships that aren’t perfect selfies (although God knows there are those times that are insta worthy) These are friendships where often what you see is what you get – no make-up, dry shampooed hair in a pony tail and unshaved legs.
There is incredible beauty of friendships in your 40’s. You’re dealing with the real stuff but also the pleasure of being vulnerable. I was ever so lucky when one of my best girlfriends moved around the corner from me. Being able to sit down after a horrible work day, vent about our kids or significant others or our worries about the future has saved thousands of dollars on therapy. The simple texts we share with one another after one of our chats “Thanks pal for being there” is exactly what it’s about.
So today as I accompany my friend for her doctor’s appointment we begin a journey that will be filled with tears, some laughter and most importantly honesty. As I said last night to her – “we’ve got this.” <3
How have your friendships changed and deepened over the years? Share some of your girlfriend stories in the replies below.