For Ax’s spring break I went to Esalen in Big Sur, which I recommend. I quickly met up with a handful of fabulous babes also traveling on their own. In the cliffside retreat setting, with tasty communal meals provided from the organic garden, we women had nothing but time to share our life stories with each other.
On the surface we were all so different — different backgrounds, life stages, economic circumstances, professions, education levels — and yet we could all relate to each other so well.
We each of us had certain dreams, some filled, some not, certain needs, some filled, some not, and certain situations, family members, ambitions, immediate concerns, and transitions we were navigating with all the emotions expressed and unexpressed that humans tend to have. The happy, the sad, the angry, the scared, all of them, all together, and the ones that don’t categorize so well — the hopeful while being scared to be hopeful. The disappointed and devastated while determined to carry on while smiling. The tentatively, skeptically, relieved. The bewildered: How did I let things go so far? Is there enough time to change what I want/need to change?
And we all gained strength from sharing those details with each other, relating to each other, feeling, somehow, less alone, clearer, more connected, just by sitting and talking with each other over food, enjoying the intimacy of strangers thrown together by circumstance.
And when I came home what I realized is that I could use more of that, in my normal, non-retreat center day-to-day life. More girlfriend time. Not just chatting at pick-up and drop-off or catching up on information and charming each other at Moms Night Out type things, but real, long, deep, vulnerable, being there for each other time.
Real friendship. Having the courage to ask someone to come sit at my kitchen counter and keep me company while I wash the dishes. Volunteering to make that Ikea run with someone. Helping with the school garden even though I don’t garden. And of course, chatting and eating, or coffee-ing, tea-ing, juice-ing — my sphere of excellence. Now that my foot is a bit better, perhaps hiking.
I can make more space for these kinds of girl time connections, be more conscious about prioritizing that. And I’m picking up that phone, not waiting for them to call me then wondering why I haven’t seen so and so in so long. She’s busy, I’m busy, it’s way more fun to be busy together. Or to be less busy together. I’m gonna keep going.