Years ago, I was on vacation with my family when I noticed a group of ladies nearby who appeared to be in their fifties, or sixties. With a quick glance, I knew they were on a girls’ weekend. All the signs were there: coolers and cocktails, matching pink t-shirts, straw hats, umbrellas in the sand. Most telling of all was their laughter. Lots and lots of laughter, the kind that draws attention and curiosity from anyone in earshot. I loved watching these women enjoy each other and wondered what brought them together. Although they were older than me, I could imagine being in their shoes one day, enjoying old friends who still made me feel young again.
Later that same day, I saw two of them in the elevator of the hotel. When I commented on how much fun they seemed to be having, they smiled and nodded. One replied, “Oh, we do have fun. We’ve kept this scrapbooking retreat going for over twenty years and have been through everything – divorce, cancer, unemployment, death. Don’t ever lose touch with your girlfriends, sweetie. The older you get, the more you’ll need them.”
The conversation left a lasting impression on me. While I’d always treasured the few relationships I did have, I’d never thought about needing them more with age. As many of you know, after my first deployment to Iraq as an Army Medic, I knew I needed to seek out new friendships to make my life more complete. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’m seeing how real divorce, cancer, unemployment, death, and other major life problems are. I fully understand what those ladies meant when they emphasized the importance of girlfriends as my age group faces hardships we couldn’t imagine when we were young and carefree.
I have been with Close To My Heart for over 7 years, and have developed treasured relationships by attending scrapbooking retreats, crops, and conventions. I have a large network of fellow Consultants that are willing to stand by my side and lift me up at a moments notice. I have learned that having great friends is largely a matter of being a great friend. I hope this little story comes as a friendly reminder of why girlfriends matter in good times and bad, laughter and tears, and through the highs and lows. When we’re laughing again at the scrapbook convention, there will be a history that makes the laughter sound richer and stirs the attention and curiosity of anyone in earshot.