Barbara: I know this is easy for some people and not-so-easy for others. As one of the latter group for most of my adult life, I want to take a moment to recommend it: take a couple of nights away with some good women. I know it’s hard to get the time off, especially if you have kids. But do whatever it takes. Offer your husband or sibling or another girlfriend a reciprocal weekend off.
Find some place to go that fits your budget. Plan it so that you don’t have to cook all the meals: ie, you divide the duties, including wash-up, so some meals you get to laze while others toil—and vice versa, of course. Bring lots of guilty-pleasure food (in our case, chips, kettle corn, and chocolate) and wolf it guilt-free, washing it down with yummy cocktails. Bring a few really fine meals to savour with fine (or cheap) wine.
Do not bring expectations or judgment or recrimination. Bring joy and honesty and open arms. If you’re enjoying your sojourn in nature, do as our Mohawk friend suggests and listen to the creatures you come across––because each one is there to tell you a story (and each of you may need to hear a different one). If you can’t get to the wilds, I’m sure every place has some kind of story to share, even some good ones.
You will feel a million times better (and wiser) afterward. If someone had told me this even ten years ago, I would’ve argued that the work involved planning a weekend away without the family wasn’t worth the stress and trouble. My older self wants to tell my younger self she’s an idiot. My younger self would’ve argued I couldn’t afford it. My older self would say you don’t have to go anyplace exotic to have a good time––sleeping bags on floors will do for a weekend. My younger self would’ve asked which girlfriends would fit the bill, would fit together, would be fun. My older self would say that any good friends will do … as long as no one brings expectations or judgment or recrimination. They will fit together—maybe not perfectly or seamlessly, but willingly––because they need it as much as you.
Deb: Barb does sing the praises of a beautiful thing. I love my gals getaways. I am sure Barb was inspired by the weekend we just had at a friend’s farm. It was glorious. Barb has recently joined the group of us and is now lured by the getaway siren-song of too much food, booze, laughter and food. Food. Had to say Food one more time because well ... Food! We are so excited to get up there and see each other, you would think we just got out of prison. And yes it is easy and sweet, we chitchat about nothing and sometimes we explore our innermost thoughts. The whole weekend feels like a big blanket of estrogen draped over our shoulders. But I’m thinking we better get busy and make a quilt because the estrogen is in short supply as the years wear on!