As a single woman in my 20’s living in Manhattan my girlfriends – three in particular – were my family. Cracking open a bottle of champagne, our weekend ritual was to crank up the music and get ready together for a festive night on the town. At times, choosing the right attire, helping one another to apply our make-up and singing to the tunes added up to more fun than the evening out. A big event, like a break-up or new job, did not seem real until shared with one another. We celebrated, confided, supported, healed and grew together through the years. The magical feeling of endless possibilities for our lives, coupled with the unconditional support and love from “the girls” added up to strength within us all. Much of our cultivating self-awareness about our individual strengths and capabilities were done in those formative years together. I do not think we would be who we are today without one another. We knew that no matter what life presented, we would survive – even thrive – because we always had one another.
Countless choices later our little group left the Big Apple one by one. Fast forward through marriages, babies, divorces and unfolding life challenges we all live in different States. The four of us created very different landscapes in which to live; one married, two divorced and one remained single. Yet, that remarkable group of women who stepped up to the plate to know me, see me, and unconditionally love me will never know the effect that lingers on within. Like a mirrored ball, the light of our friendship reflected and illuminated aspects of one another that I still use to light my path today. So, when our lives sweep us away and the days turn into weeks or even months without talking, I feel the pain inside of isolation. It is like water to a thirsty desert dweller when I finally reconnect and remember my soft place to land within the friendship. Despite my deep appreciation of romantic love, there is nothing quite like the feeling of connection, understanding and trust amongst women. Waves of men have danced through our lives but we remain the constant.
I have to stop and reflect on all the energy women put into romantic love; Yearning for it, finding it and keeping it when there is an amazing opportunity to appreciate the love staring at them right in the face. Perhaps one of the greatest surprises in life is that one of the greatest loves of life is true friendship and sisterhood with girlfriends. Unfortunately, women often take the gift and blessing of that relationship for granted or think of those connections as second place to a romance. Big mistake. Sometimes I want to reach back in time and experience that cocoon of friendship all those years ago in Manhattan but then remember that it is still very much alive within me today even if we are no longer dancing on tabletops but wiping them clean after our families have finished dinner.