In the world of R.W. bonding, the need for women to get together socially starts early in our lives. I remember as a young girl, playing with my girlfriends, we spent hours pretending to be actresses, dancers, or even horses, making up games in the backyard, or doing arts and crafts. As we grew into pre-teens, then highschoolers, our gatherings became more about bike rides to each other’s houses, social outings, sports, going out for ice cream, going to movies, and of course, long discussions about boys. Moving into college and early adulthood, we entered into the phase of parties, concerts, clubbing and shopping. That basic need to connect with other women, our best friends, our sisters, seems to be as vital to us throughout our lives as the air we breathe.
Fast forward to this past weekend. I had the luck and pleasure to spend time away with my Personal Board of Directors, made up of my sister and four of my BFF’s. We try to pull together “Board Meetings” on a fairly regular basis, but this was the first time we’ve succeeded in having all six of us together for a full long weekend. It was likely the most effective and beneficial four-day “meeting” I’ve ever had.
We happily enjoyed our mini-vacation in the Berkshires (for those in other parts of the world, it is beautiful countryside on the border of Massachusetts and New York – most famous for ski centers and Fall foliage). As we talked, shopped, laughed and ate our way through our time together, I started thinking about how these bonding gatherings have changed since our younger years.
- Rather than feel the need to be in the center of a booming metropolis full of noise and excitement, we were thrilled to be nestled in the country, with an off-season view of a mountain and ski resort.
- Rather than go clubbing or looking for the bar scene, we chose to BYO, enjoying a glass or two of wine to relax, or cheat the diets with homemade chocolate martinis.
- Rather than “shopping ‘til we dropped” in designer boutiques and giant malls, we explored quaint shoppes and dug for discount treasure at an Outlet Center, pausing for lunch and beverages and to enjoy the spring sunshine.
- Rather than venturing out in search of the excitement of extreme sports, or going wild and crazy by getting tattoos or make-overs, we took walks, talked about our anxieties over our children getting tattoos, and changed into loungewear every night by 9pm.
- Rather than dishing about recent dates and hotties, we shared stories about our husbands (which ones snore, which ones hate meatloaf, which ones want to retire early), and compared our concerns and woes over our children’s dating habits. We also reluctantly agreed how in many movies now, instead of being attracted to the 20-something lead, we find his father’s character to be more appealing and sexy.
- Rather than compare cosmetic tips and diet plans, we commiserated about the challenges of our mature bodies, shared fashion thoughts for mid-life, and tried to decide if 50 is the new 40, or the new 30. We took group photos, and instead of being overly judgmental about how we looked, we all agreed that “damn, we look GOOD.”
To those in a younger age bracket, this description of the weekend likely sounds deathly dull. On the contrary, it was fabulous. It was relaxed, it was fun, and oh, boy, did we laugh. We laughed about muffin tops, word loss, caring for elderly parents, stories about our histories together, technology, lack of sleep, career challenges and changes, the men in our lives, exercise, travel, inappropriate photos, and eating. Oh, and we spent a few hours playing Cards Against Humanity. Best done only with the closest of friends.
When we gather as R.W.’s during our mid-life years, there is a level of comfort and happiness that has replaced the anxieties, competition and stresses of our youth. Sure, we miss the energy, vitality and beauty of our younger years. But absolutely nothing compares to the appreciation and enjoyment we squeeze out of every moment spent together now. As young girls, we excitedly band together to look to the future and eagerly anticipate “what’s next”. As mature BFFs, we are happily fulfilled with what’s “right now.”
When was the last time you got your Personal Board of Directors together?
Tiime to call a meeting. And enjoy.