Stronger Together

Stronger WomebnI have the luxury of spending the weekend with girlfriends from high school – a very rare thing for me. We came together to do the Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon – and this is where my major disclaimer comes in – I am not against Disney, but I am Universal Studios loyal.  But to hang with my friends, down I drove yesterday to Anaheim.  How people drive in the LA traffic I have no idea.  It took me over 9 hours and became increasingly painful through LA, barely moving.  Once I got here, all that was forgotten and we fell into the same easy conversation as the last time we were together.  Plus we have the bonus of my friend’s sisters and college room-mate being here too.

But this isn’t about that, per se.  I have a lot of friends around my age, which is slowly creeping up on 50.  What I’ve decided is that there is so much…and I can’t emphasize that enough, SO much… that as women, we are not told about what it’s like as we get older.  I look at my friends, my girlfriends at home, at we look great.  We’re in shape, active, healthy, all good stuff.  But the tricks our bodies play are insane.

Is it 150 degrees in this room? No, hot flash.  Did I sleep in a waterbed that exploded? No, night sweats.  How did that black whisker get on my chin? Where did my energy go? And don’t get me started on the female junk.  Why did I put the eggs away in the cabinet with the cooking spray?  Why do I cry all the time?  Having kids was great but leaves a mark on the body, just saying, especially at this age. Seriously, there is some hardwiring that goes sideways.  The funny thing to me is that most women go through it,  to some degree, but we don’t talk about it that often.  When we do, we always talk about how it seems to be some big secret that the women who came before us pledged to keep.

It makes me wonder why we don’t talk about it, for camaraderie and to normalize it.  I know that a lot of women, ok, me, believes that you have to be strong, have to persevere despite what’s thrown at me.  I don’t think I’m alone in that.  Women in general know tend to hold it together pretty well.  So I suppose it stands to reason that many don’t talk about what they’re going through except in close circles. I’m not suggesting that we embark on a free-for-all of over sharing, but wouldn’t it be interesting if it more common for women to come alongside each other to share and for support? Not to brave it out alone?  I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I realize I’m not alone, that others go through what I do.  And it doesn’t make us weak that we go through physical or other struggles, I think it probably makes us stronger to talk about it so that we can process and move forward.

What I’m learning is that women need women.  I think for me I’m realizing that more and more as I get older.  It’s a support system that I never realized would be so helpful and it was there when I needed it.  I think we need it.  So today, as I sit lounging by the pool at the VRBO house we’re staying at (super cute – despite the Disney theme), I am thankful.  Thankful that I have my friends, thankful for these friends and this weekend to enjoy our time just being and relaxing.  We may not be thankful for the tricks our bodies play on us, but we know each other, we can be real with each other – I think we all need people who we support and who support us.  Our lives are better for it.

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