I miss playdates. When I was having my babies, two co-workers (now lifelong friends) were pregnant with me. Once we became stay-at-home moms, we’d get together regularly to keep each other sane in the middle of the crazy muddle.
In assembly-line style, we’d prepare, cut, plate and serve nine little lunches to our collective nine sweet children.
Then we’d talk...and talk…and talk. Until the wheels eventually fell off and we headed home to regroup before dinner.
Those days were full and exhausting, but so happy. I felt incredibly supported. I belonged to an amazing tribe.
I crave that uninterrupted girl time. Actually, it was constantly interrupted, but we’d just pause and pick right back up after finding a toy or wiping a nose.
The playdate was the perfect excuse to spend regular, quality time with my closest friends.
I want that again!
Authentic female friendships feed the soul.
My kids are teenagers. Playdates are over. Their time with friends requires no planning from me. I no longer have that built-in reason to get together with my friends.
Moving across the country three years ago has made it impossible to spend face-to-face time with the women I've known for decades.
Impromptu lunch dates at Terrain and annual birthday celebrations sadly aren’t possible given the distance between us.
Relocating to a new town is lonely and hard. As a mom of three, my priority was not on finding new friends for myself. Instead, I spent most of the first year making sure my children were happily settled into new friendships.
And, due to some personal circumstances, I built a wall that prevented new friendships from really developing. Not feeling secure enough to dive deeply into a new circle of friends, I stuck with breezy work friendships and polite connections with neighbors.
It's been three and a half years. I need a circle of friends.
I long for a welcoming group of women who enjoy one another enough to spend time together somewhat regularly.
So...I’ve decided to take action.
Recently, I devoted three afternoons -in the same week- to friendship.
I met two funny friends for an easy lunch and lots of laughter.
I drank the perfect tea in the newly renovated home of a special lady.
I shared a spicy take-out birthday lunch with a treasured soul.
Wow! My friendship cup was overflowing!
I smiled all week. My spirits were soaring. My mind quiet and peaceful.
I felt loved and inspired and truly blessed.
What took me so long?
Why haven't I made time to cultivate deeper friendships?
Lots of reasons, but what matters is that I’m determined to make friendship a priority.
I understand that my joy depends on it.
So, I’m taking matters into my own hands and starting a girls’ club.
A circle of wonderful women.
Playdates without the babies.
We all deserve some dedicated time to be enriched by the presence and energy of others.
No matter how busy we are, there must be at least one chunk of time every four-six weeks when we can meet up for an hour or two and just be. Together.
I’m ready to dig deeper with some amazing women and grow our friendships into something even more beautiful.
The invitations go out this week...I’m hoping for a whole lot of ‘I’ll be there’ responses:-)
How do you keep your friendships strong?
Have you made any new friends lately?
I'd love to know your thoughts on friendship. Thanks for following along.
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Have an amazing day!
P.S. I foolishly thought the work of Simply 50 - refining life for the next decade was in the writing of the posts every day last October. I’m now realizing that the real work has just begun.
I’m currently trying to put into practice all of the changes and tweaks I wrote about in the challenge. Friendship was near the top of the list.
Each word/topic is close to my heart and something I strongly believe in...so I remain committed to making the changes...but, wow, it’s not as easy as I’d originally assumed.
Stay tuned for more refining...
I decided it’s time for a little self check-up. A mid-winter assessment of how well I’ve been doing with mindfulness...and by doing it here, I become much more accountable.
Eckhart Tolle has been getting to me. I read The Power of Now in October and then promptly read A New Earth.
Once I finished with the ‘research’ phase, I eagerly set my sights on mastering the art of staying present.
I fully realize this is not a skill to be mastered, but actually something of a lifelong practice. Thankfully, the human condition allows us to continue learning and growing (even as we stumble and fall) on the way to becoming more awake and conscious.
Here’s a review of my Now’ness.
First off, please know I’m no guru. I certainly don’t have all (or really even any) of the answers...but I’m seeking.
And I promise to always share what I’m learning along the way.
The methods I’m using to find the present moment are simple. I rely on the common practices of those who’ve been doing this way longer than me. Thankfully, they’ve made it pretty easy to begin.
Whenever I tune into the present moment, I have a strong sense of returning.
I instantly realize that I’m back - as in, I become conscious of the fact that I was lost in thought and become aware of the voice I hear in my head -
I then pay attention to my breath. Sometimes counting each inhale and exhale and sometimes just feeling the air coming in and going out. I become centered.
Feeling pretty Zen. I think ‘Wow, this is awesome!’
And then, 4 hours pass before I become aware that I’ve been completely consumed by thoughts again:-)
My mind took over and I was just along for the ride.
In theory, staying present is a simple practice. Yet, the degree of difficulty is astonishing! I am constantly blown away by how incredibly hard it is to stay present for more than a few seconds!
A few seconds!
On any given day, how is it possible that my mind can’t be still for more than a few seconds at a time?!?!
Here’s what I’m noticing as I work to stay present…
1. This is hard.
I spend a huge part of each day in complete oblivion. Every day there are surprisingly (and embarrassingly) large chunks of time when I’m totally ‘gone’. My mind is in total control and I’m not aware in the slightest.
Until, I am aware.
All of a sudden, I’m back. Feeling my breath. Observing my thoughts. Present.
2. Less stress.
The more often I operate in the Now, the easier life becomes.
When I’m present and aware, the big scary worries seem manageable and the nagging thoughts dissolve away completely. It’s as if the bright light of awareness eliminates most of the shadowy-stresses.
The problems don’t consume me. The constant worry stops. Little things stay little.
3. More joy.
It’s almost silly how much happier I am when I stay more present. I hear myself laughing freely. I notice the good stuff.
I feel more like my authentic self when I'm present. I guess this is kind of the whole point, huh?
4. More clarity.
I recognize my resistance.
This might be the biggest ‘aha’ for me.
Oh, boy do I see this with more clearly lately. It’s as if the things I resist are lit up in flashing neon!
When I’m having an issue or problem, it always comes back to me resisting what is. I want the present moment to be different. As obvious as this may seem, once I recognize that I’m resisting, I’m able to step back and decide to stop. I can choose to let go. What freedom!
See? It’s simple, but certainly not easy. Or without constant effort...at least in the beginning.
I’m hoping that with practice this whole Now thing becomes the new normal.
Are you aware of the voice in your head?
Do you have an internal roommate who never stops talking?
How do you find and hold onto the present moment in the fullness of everyday life?
I'd love to hear what works for you and what you struggle with regarding staying present. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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While I partially agree with the popular notion that Valentine’s Day is a holiday designed to sell cards, flowers and chocolates...I do smile at all of the pink and red hearts on display in February. I am a true romantic. I’m fine with pulling out the stops on February 14th, if that’s your thing, but I do believe that a great romantic relationship should be nurtured and celebrated all year long.
Since I’m feeling all the feels of this sappy season...this post is about love:-)
My daughter and her boyfriend are celebrating their one year anniversary today. She’s a high school senior and he’s a (far away) college freshman. Their relationship is nothing like my relationships at that age. They have an emotional maturity that I lacked until I was almost thirty.
Sure, they face some typical young love struggles and the distance is difficult for both of them, but they've stayed together for 365 days.
At any age, I think that’s pretty cool.
My in-laws are rounding the corner to 50 years of marriage. At only 68 years old, they’ve essentially been married since they were kids. They’ve raised four children and have eleven grandchildren and they actually still like each other. They have staying power.
Today, Matthew and I have been married for 7,573 days.
I’m often asked to share our secret. How have we managed to keep our marriage so solid for so many years?
I guess I can think of a few things that have worked for us, but there’s one that we both believe has been some serious glue.
What's Second Dinner?
Quiet. Meaningful. Alone time.
Matthew and I eat dinner at 9:30 every night.
Our teenage children eat around 6:30 with us fully in the mix, but not really eating with them.
We often have a small taste of what they’re having, but it’s definitely not a meal...it’s more of a snack.
We all talk and share the news of the day, but Matthew and I have our dinner alone, later.
Second dinner always includes candles and wine.
Our big kids sometimes filter through the dining room while we're eating. We chat briefly and they head off to bed.
How did we get here? Sort of by accident...
When Matthew and I began living together, we worked in a restaurant. I planned events and he managed the restaurant. My role was to get the party started and then quietly exit once things were smoothly underway. Matthew was there until the end. Locking up and heading home, often after midnight.
Back then, I’d eat something small when I got home and then wait up for Matthew so I could eat dinner with him. This continued until we had our first baby.
Then, Matthew took a day job so he could be home in the evenings. We’d put Greta down and then we’d eat dinner.
As our family grew, I think we assumed that we’d begin having traditional family dinners once our kids were a little older.
That never really happened.
Well, for a few reasons….
When Greta was three and a half, Henry was born (he's our third:-). Dinnertime with two toddlers and an infant was challenging.
As the kids got older, even relatively peaceful dinners were chaotic.
Mayhem. Lots of food to cut up. Mouths to wipe. Meltdowns to manage. We were teaching manners and setting ground rules, but Matthew and I needed time to be adults. I missed having time with him.
And, then there's the wine problem.
The few times I tried to include a glass of wine in the early family dinner mix...I wanted to go to bed before bath-time. Wine and toddlers didn’t work for me. A few sips and I was too tired handle the busy bedtime routine. I was often exhausted from the fullness of the every day...a glass of wine and I was useless.
But I love wine.
I quickly discovered that after everyone was safely tucked into their beds...I could light the candles and have a glass of wine with my husband. I gained a second dinner-second wind and was ready to connect with Matthew.
We could sit like grown ups and remember what we liked about each other. It was our time. And quickly became sacred.
With rare exception, we always eat a second dinner.
On vacation...it's out for an early, small meal then home for a second dinner alone. At the beach with the whole family (22+ people) we still make second dinner work.
This practice has strengthened and sustained our marriage.
We recognize this is an unusual arrangement. We've gotten some flack and resistance about our method over the years. But, we've stopped apologizing for it. We relish our time together every evening.
Twenty years in...this works for us.
Just to clarify....we do have a few family dinners every week with our kids. Traditional mealtimes where we all sit around the table and eat together...but Matthew and I eat light, knowing that we'll be back at the table together later...with candlelight and wine.
If you’d like to give second dinner a try...
Pick an evening next week to have dinner alone. At home. Keep it simple and make is special. Then, please share your thoughts!
Every happy couple has their own secret for success.
Need a Valentine’s Day gift?
I recently purchased Table Topics for Couples.
It's a Lucite box containing 135 cards. On each card is a question for couples. Matthew and I take turns sharing a question while we eat. The answers spark interesting conversations and offer a unique way to stay connected.
A great marriage does take some work, but if you want a great marriage...it’s worth the effort.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’m researching lots of fun and informative topics for upcoming posts.
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Thanks so much for being here. Questions? Please ask! Email me at email@example.com or comment below,
I’ve mentioned before, I'm what marketers consider a Late Majority Adopter. Or possibly even a Laggard (though that sounds dreadful). If I’m ever the first to try something new, it’s purely by accident. I don’t rush into purchases and I usually take a while to warm up to a product I’ve never tried before. I wait until there's conclusive evidence that the item is 'worth it' to me.
Today, I’d like to thank all of the Early Adopters out there.
Thank you for doing the dirty work and testing out the latest thing and the newest craze. Your efforts allow me to delay until I’m absolutely convinced that the purchase or experience is deserving of my time, money and energy. I never intended for others to do the research and testing for me, it just worked out this way.
I imagine that the Early Adopters are quite happy in their role. Eager to continue to be first. At least, I hope so.
Sometimes I dream about being one of them...
Brave enough to try the next big thing long before it becomes the next big thing.
For me, this concept actually reaches beyond the clothing and products in my life to experiences.
I’m thrilled that someone decided to climb to the peak of a 14 thousand foot mountain. And I’m super thankful that lots of someones after continued to make the trek...so that by the time I reached the summit of my first 14er last August, I was able to benefit from the wisdom of all those who went before me and shared their experience.
That hike, in a word...
I always listen carefully as the Early Adopters around me rave about a new item. I’m fascinated by their boldness and commitment to stepping outside of the box. Their bravery has led me to discover personal favorites that I certainly would have otherwise missed.
Currently, I’m grateful to the masses who’ve been wearing and loving Frye shoes for over 100 years.
I’ve heard about the incredible quality and comfort of this brand for years. I’ve also known of their high price tag and was never quite ready to take the leap.
After a recent, exhaustive, unsuccessful search for a pair of classic, menswear inspired shoes, I looked to Frye.
I stepped out of my own box and purchased a pair of Frye oxfords.
I finally see what all of the fuss is about.
Truth be told, here's the full story...
I purchased the shoes on Amazon (best selection and price...for basically everything). They were on sale a little, yet still expensive.
When they arrived, I tried them on.
My first thoughts...
Back into the box.
Embarrassingly, I kept them in the box in my closet for months. I was afraid to wear them for fear I wouldn’t like them as much as everyone else does. Worried that I’d be the exception to the “I love Frye shoes” rule.
And mostly concerned that they wouldn’t be comfortable enough to wear to work in retail during the busy holiday season.
So they sat.
Every so often, I’d take them out and try them on. Wanting to actually wear them, but not being ready.
It seems I’m not even an Early Adopter once an item is in my flipping house! Still waiting for the right time. Still not quite convinced. Ridiculous.
Finally, I figured I’d probably missed my chance to return them so I should just wear the dang shoes!
I was scheduled for a short shift at Anthropologie. I figured my feet could endure any shoes for 4 hours.
I took the plunge.
I wore my new (but months old:-) Frye oxfords.
Are you kidding me?!
These shoes are like slippers only with the most incredible support. Like a strong hug for your feet.
I’m sold. I’m a follower.
This will not be my only pair of Frye shoes. Is it too soon to start searching for a pair of perfect fall boots?
Have you been wanting to try a pair of Frye shoes?
If compared to you, I'm the Early Adopter, let me assure you that these shoes are the real deal.
(and please know that this is not an affiliate post. I'm not paid or compensated at all by Frye:-)
They're reminiscent of good old-fashioned, back-to-school shoes. The kind that remind your feet what structured shoes feel like after a summer in flip flops. The shoes that smell like polished leather and bring to mind new pencils. I love them!
My gratitude also extends to Converse wearers. I did the same foolish thing with flat-top Converse sneakers for far too long.
I resisted for years. I decided they couldn't be that comfortable and even if they were...my size 10 foot couldn't possibly wear that looong white shoe! Well, I’m now on my 5th or 6th pair. I’ll never go back:-)
So, my deepest thanks to all of you who take risks way up in front so that I can follow along...sometimes years later, and reap the benefits.
Okay, please share…
Which one are you?
Early Adopter or Late Majority Adopter?
Is there a category where you tend to take the most risks? Clothing, experiences, foods...
Just an FYI...
February is going to be a full month at our house. We'll be celebrating my husband's birthday, finishing up some scholarship stuff with Greta, spending family time working on our live list...and just hunkering down to get through this notoriously cold and snowy month.
I appreciate your patience with me if I miss a post or two in the coming weeks.
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Thank you for following along. Please email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Happy February! Make it an amazing month!
If you missed the Wake-Up Your Wardrobe course back in November, enrollment is open for a limited time. Click on The Together Act Academy tab above for more information. This simple three-day online course is designed to help you discover your personal style so you can start loving and wearing your wardrobe!
And stay tuned...I'm going to be revisiting my Wear Everything I Own challenge very soon!
Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,