Last week was a first for me. At age 53, this was my first-ever, week-long girlfriend trip.
If you’ve read my Better Together book you know that finding my mom tribe has not been easy for me. Growing up I had far more guy friends than girlfriends. I just found guy friendships to be a bit less….complicated, you might say.
My sophomore year of high school I decided to try out for the school musical, Fiddler on the Roof. I ended up getting the role of Hodel…one of the daughters. That was when I met Jody, Lora, and Julie. Jody and Lora were my “sisters” in the musical, Chava and Tzeitel. Julie played our “mother,” Golde. Those three girls were seniors…two years older than me, but we became fast friends. When they graduated several months later, I was left behind to navigate two more years of school without my newfound friends.
We stayed in touch over the years, Jody serving as the maid of honor in all of our weddings! To celebrate their 55th birthdays we started planning a girls trip last year (this is where being two years younger is a benefit–my 55th birthday is still two years away!). We set our sights on a week on Okaloosa Island (near Ft. Walton Beach, FL) in my parent’s beautiful condo that they rent out.
Two weeks ago, we drove down to Florida…a 14-hour one-day drive. We discovered, by the way, that when you’re traveling with four mid-life mamas, a longer rest area stop may result in at least one of you needing to go to the bathroom once again (like 10 minutes later!) before piling back in the car!
With my introvert personality, I was a little worried about being in a group setting all week, but we talked about those kinds of needs right up front so nobody would misread any of our needs for space.
We laughed, talked, cried, and caught up with each other’s lives. Relaxed conversations with no time limitations were plentiful, opening the door for a depth of conversation you just can’t have when you meet occasionally for coffee.
Personally, the theme for the week was rest and I read three books along that theme. Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton, An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling, and Come Closer by Jane Rubietta. The Ruth Haley Barton book is one I’ve read several times. It always reminds me to stop doing for God and focus on being with God. Such a good reminder for my high-capacity-achievement-oriented personality!
This was a first read of An Unhurried Life and wow, I love this book! Such a powerful reminder of the need to put “hurry” to rest for good. Jane Rubietta’s books are always favorites of mine! She takes you by the hand to sit at Jesus’ feet.
I’m a huge advocate for getaways. I believe it’s valuable to do a personal getaway every once in a while. (My friend Julie told her husband she wanted 24 hours alone in a hotel for her birthday–Go Julie!) I think it’s incredibly valuable to do marriage getaways. But my recent week in Florida really helped me to see the value of getting away with girlfriends in some way. Maybe it’s attending a conference together (ask a friend to join you at one of the upcoming events I’m speaking at in Springfield, IL, Atlanta, GA, or Chicago, IL!). Maybe it’s just hosting an overnight with a girlfriend while your hubby is out of town. Maybe it’s a long-planned girlfriend week away.
Taking care of yourself is never convenient. It takes effort, sacrifice, and planning to make it happen, but it’s definitely worth it!