When I was a young mom, I had little time for anything other than sleeping and an occasional warm meal. With four kids running around, time was no longer my own and nurturing friendships was out of the question.
But here I am, I survived toddlers (I had four kids in six years), middle school, high school and college. My kids are all grown and living lives I’m incredibly proud of. However, over the last few years I’ve realized that now more than ever, it is my friends (old and new) that make this next phase of my life incredibly full.
I have read a number of studies citing the importance of having friends and the impact on health, especially as we get older. They say that for women, having a circle of close girlfriends makes the idea of getting older inconsequential. When you have good friends surrounding you, you laugh more, love more and share more. And surrounding yourself with friends that fill you up versus the ones that suck you dry (we’ve all had ’em) that too makes those relationships all the better.
There was a time in my life when I tolerated those around me that spewed venom and never had a kind word to say. Only two things can happen with relationships like that, either you fall into their negative way of thinking or you move on. I chose to move on. My motto,”Never let anyone steal your joy. Life is too precious to waste time on negative people.”
I have the privilege and gift of some incredible friends, and from them I have learned so much. Here are just a few things I’ve learned.
1. Although there m ay be times when you’re needed more often, it’s important to note that if you’re constantly walking away empty after time together, move on. Your health will thank you.
2. Friendship is laughter. Trying to catch your breath after friend induced laughter is the best. The belly laugh that causes you to say out loud, “OMG, I think I’m going to pee my pants!” is unmatched to any other laughter. That kind of a laugh can only come from a friend who understands your humor and you theirs.
4. Friends support and encourage you at every turn, unless it destructive. At which point go back to #1.
5. Friends don’t care if your house is clean, you’re having a bad hair day, if you didn’t get the job and so on. Ultimately, friends see you through the good, the bad and the ugly but always with a smile and a reassuring hug saying to you the things you never tell yourself like, “You’re great, things are going to work out. ”
6. Friends laugh with you, not at you. Unless it’s really, really funny and then they might. Like the one time I had to tell my friend (without losing it) that she had her yoga pants on inside out (the cotton white crotch was on the outside). Downward dog gave it away. We both still laugh at that one.
7. Friends tell you when you have something in your nose, your teeth or hanging out of a dress (those annoying hanger straps that I’m not sure to cut off or tuck in).
8. A good friend is always a joy to be around. You’re happy when you see them, sad when you leave ’em and always think about them with a smile on your face.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to believe that true friendships are the glue that puts the difficult parts of life back together. Good friends also hold the magnifying glass to all that is great about you. My friends- good for my heart, my mind, my soul and yes, even good for my health. How grateful I am for them.
Do have friendships you’re grateful for?
Life is too short and I’m Portuguese. I’d rather eat bread, laugh out loud and drink wine than be a size 0.