Rest and relaxation…Another day of fun.

Today I was able to hang out with some of my oldest and dearest friends. It’s been so nice, being able to get to spend time with them. I’ve known them for 25 yrs+. We had a great Mexican dinner that A cooked for us. Then we spent the late afternoon and evening by the pool. Laughing and joking, just like we did at 16.

It’s so much fun because these people know me better than anyone else. Our high school adventures gave way to one of us getting married and having a child. The rest of our tight group spent the next 10 years experiencing life. We were there when we fell for the guy and when that inevitably crashed and burned. None of us went to college-we couldn’t afford it so we all went to work.

We made our rounds on the bar scene. Threw incredible parties and helped nurse a friend through her divorce. We each took different paths in our lives. My bestie T had her second child with the husband she’s been together with for over 20 yrs. I married in my late twenties. A went to school and a J&K them moved away. K lived in Europe for a few years before settling down in Cali and J to the west coast where she eventually married and started a family.

We are all in different places even today. My T’s kids are adults. My kids are teenagers and J  has 4 young ones. Some of my friends have really wonderful careers, while some of us were stay at home mommies and daddies.

The best part is that even though we are in different spaces when we connect it is like we’re immediately transported back to our teens and 20’s. We laugh until we cry, we remember all the funniest times we shared together. We are a small tight knit group and while other people floated in and out of our world, we have always remained.

There are no parties now. No bad, drunken behavior. We do things like have dinner, go shopping, spend really quality time together. Our political and spiritual opinions are as varied as we are and we can debate things without our feelings getting hurt because no one agrees with you. We sit in awe together sometimes and talk about getting older and how differently we see the world now then we did back in high school and we find ourselves asking the question “Did you ever think we’d get here?”

As diverse as we all are, we still have things in common. No longer worried about boys and the bars, we’ve discovered the other things we love to do. At this point in our lives, we all enjoy the small things. We all keep our lives simple. We enjoy the happy moments, celebrate who  we are and truly appreciate what we’ve been to each other. You need your friends,  friendships forged through time and experiencing the ups and downs together. They are the real meaningful ties that everyone should have. These kind of friends are the ones that stick with you in your darkest hours. They can tell you exactly like it is. And because of your shared history, you can listen to what they say and understand that these are the people who are there no matter what.

We may not agree with the decisions we make and we offer up our opinion but we don’t try and tear each other down. We accept all of who we are. The good, the bad and the really fucking bad. We called each others parents mom and dad. We were immersed in each others families and now we find ourselves the same age as our parents were when we hung out together. The process from teenager, to young adult, into our 30’s and now the second half of 40. We’ve come full circle.

As I sat down to dinner, I realized how awesome it was to still be together. Everyone should have what I have. Not a room full of friends, but a few who are now your family. The importance of friends can’t be underscored enough. It’s been proven that people have strong connections with their friends are happy,healthier and live longer. That spending time away from family and with your friends lowers stress and blood pressure. We don’t waste precious time going to places where we can’t laugh as loud as we want. No champagne and caviar for us. Give us a barbeque and a bonfire, some good home cooked food and sweet desert.

By the time I get home I’m relaxed and lighthearted. I’ve just spent hours laughing and talking and listening to the stories of our misspent youth. We argue and disagree but better still  feel safe in our group. Protected from those who claim to be your new friends but it never is the same as those you’ve grown up with.

I think it’s sad when you fall away from these people in your life. Whatever the reasons really no longer matter. But we all know that these are the people who we can be vulnerable with. We don’t have to pretend to be someone else. We can take off the mom hat, the keeping up with the Jones mentality, we don’t have to appear to be anyone other than who we are.

We don’t sit around trying to prove who is the better parent, who has the better “stuff”, we feel no pressure to be more than who we are. We can’t bullshit each other because you will be called out. My time spent with easily the best people I know is some of the best times. They are real moments of pure enjoyment and freedom. The pressures of life erased.

At this stage of my life, I couldn’t imagine not having my friends. And as we age, we are able to spend even more time together. Experiencing this part of our lives with each other. Do I think what we have is pretty special and kind of unusual, yes I do. Why? Because we are at the point where we don’t have any pretense, we aren’t filled with self doubt. We are safe and secure in each others company. We don’t have to drag our kids around, we don’t act in ways that I’d consider obnoxious and disrespectful. I am who I am.

My DH understands how close I am to my little circle. And he’s fine with it. He’s glad that I get out. He knows I will come home with a smile on my face and some wacky story or another.

Yeah, I’m definitely lucky and grateful for the people I choose to spend my time with. They represent all that can be right in this life and at times like these I remember that I wouldn’t trade my friends for anything in this world…Money, Status, Fame or Fortune aren’t your friends. Those things can’t hold you when  you’re world is falling apart. The superficial things aren’t wanted or needed in order to have fun together, they don’t matter a bit when you’re laughing until you snort.



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