The weekend had been planned and paid for months ago … four days of adventure with seven women carefully curated by Robin — the friend who probably had the least amount of free time.
It sounded like a good idea. I even got excited. But the closer the date came, the less enthusiastic I became.
It’s not that I didn’t want to spend time with friends from high school and college. I’ve known some of these women since elementary school. I just didn’t want to leave the comfort of my home. It’s like wanting to get in shape for an event, signing a three-year contract at Gold’s Gym, never using it, then feeling left out when your friend loses 15 pounds because she used her gym membership.
We are all busy women in our (very) late 40s. We no longer have the energy to burn the candle at both ends. We are responsible adults who understand that a burning candle is a fire hazard and not made to be burned at both ends.
Time changes people. In college, I was all, “I’d rather say, ‘I’m glad I did instead of I wish I had.’ ” It’s easy to say that when you’re in your 20s with very few responsibilities. Now, I’m more like, “I’m glad I can stay home, but I wish I had better snacks.”
There are so many things in life that get more challenging as we age. Maintaining friendships with these ladies is not one of them. We do our best at everything -work, raising children, caring for aging parents, taking vitamins, exercising, and somewhere in there, try to fit in sleep. It feels like you’re on a hamster wheel. It’s exhausting and boring. Sometimes, you need to step off that wheel to get the necessary fuel to “just keep swimming.” So, I stepped off the wheel for three days and drove four hours for a long overdue visit with friends.
It was easy, just like I remembered. There were no expectations. We are different in so many ways, but still connected through the shared experience of growing up in a small southern town. We laughed, ate, talked about hot flashes, and just sat in each other’s company. That’s what friendship in your 40s looks like. You’re not trying to fix each other’s problems. You’re just there to listen.
We talked about how confusing this phase of life is turning out to be, saying, “How can my son be 23? Up until a few months ago, I was 23.”
While our kids need less of our attention, our parents need more. My friends are feeling that same pang I’ve been feeling since hitting my mid-40s ... that pang that begs the question, “What’s next?” Instead of trying to figure out the answer, we opted for a question we could answer. “What’s now?”
If the last three years have taught me anything, it’s that you never know what tomorrow brings. Eat the cake, take the trip, say what you need to say, stop and enjoy the moment with your family, do all the things with all the people who mean the most. Somewhere between breastfeeding and menopause, I lost sight of what was worth my energy. And four days with old friends was most certainly worth it.
Have comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Becky Andrews and Angel Kane.
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