As women, we love to connect with other women. It starts when we are young. The bond of the "girlcode" begins as soon as we start interacting with groups.
We started whispering in each other's ears, sharing toys (or not!), and our mums started scheduling 'play dates', as soon as they connected at the local mothers group, childcare, Kindy and school.
Throughout our schooling years, we form friendships, end friendships and move through different groups. If we are fortunate, we will form some lifelong bonds.
Last weekend I attended my thirty year school reunion. It was a great day with many stories being shared about our school days and life since then for each of us. The fact that our secondary schooling was in a single sex environment meant that strong connections were formed, lifelong in fact. Every school creates the same, but being all girls, and some of us living on the grounds in the boarding house, meant that we did not have the distraction of boys and only had each other. Close friendships are inevitable in an all-girl environment.
This also meant there were some clashes, as with any family living together, and as we navigated through our teenage years we relied on each other heavily. Especially those of us who were living away from our own families.
I don't remember a lot of those years, just snippets here and there. My Mum was sick through all of my secondary schooling and died three months into my final year.
At the reunion, as we shared our stories, some of those bonds were still felt. We all reconnected, individually and as a group. It was a surreal moment in time, with the last 30 years feeling like a blur. At one point, after a few wines, we even sang the school song!
Fast forward through the next thirty years and they have been filled with friendships with some amazing women, all of whom have played a part in who I have become, and indeed am becoming.
Through school and the early years following there was always drama. That's just what girls do! We are hormonal, emotional and at times irrational while we are young. There were broken hearts, broken dreams, broken promises and plenty of broken rules! But through it all, those true friends were riding the waves with me.
Then there were the girls I lived with, girls I have worked with and girls I have met through business and in the social media space. It never ceases to amaze me how new people can arrive into your life in unexpected ways. Many of these women are still my very close friends.
I have life-long girlfriends who I have grown up with and am still so fortunate to have in my life on a daily basis. My oldest friend and I are only three days apart. We were inseparable as young girls and our mothers were best friends. To have that history with a dear friend is a special thing.
Then there is that special friend who knows all my secrets! We met on the first day of secondary school. I had forgotten my glasses and had been moved up to the front of the classroom next to a blonde haired girl named Louise. I had also forgotten my essential items to write with and spent the entire day asking Lou if I could borrow items out of her pencil case! I had my braces and bobby-pinned hair and shiny new shoes on. She still reminds me of this day and remembers that she was annoyed that I asked to use her belongings all day and ignored her at the recess and lunch breaks! But I was just going off to the boarding house for my meals with the other boarders!
To be able to call a friend and have a good old offload without judgement is a blessing. To absolutely know that I don't have to hesitate to pick up the phone and call when I'm having a bad day and know that I will hear 'it will all be ok', feels safe and reassuring. To also know that I can call any time to have a laugh, tell my stories of failure and success, or chat about my dreams and aspirations, fills my soul. It heals me.
I have an incredible husband who makes me laugh, and we have wonderful male friends in our lives who bring much to our friendships, but my bond with my girlfriends is different. It is gentle, it is light, it is like your favourite song playing on the radio and you can't help but dance. That connection raises your vibe, and can make an ordinary day turn around in a matter of minutes. It can fill your soul.
I see my daughter at 14, in her first year of secondary school, starting to develop some of these bonds of friendship now. She and her friends are now of an age when they are starting to appreciate the special place that they hold in each other's lives. I see her life long friendships blossoming and new friendships forming. They spend a great deal of time chatting to each other about the issues that come up in their lives. I love watching that happen. I love that they are valuing each other and acknowledging their connections.
I love that I can have a deep conversation and talk with my girlfriends about life, love and lessons. I love that we can be so captured by our chatting that we aren't aware of what is going on around us. I love laughing at the memories of stupid things we have done. I love it when they say to me (through love)… "get a grip"! I love that I have been able to call a friend and say "can I just come and hang on your lounge today"… and you can ask the same of me. I also love that many of my girls are also loved by my kids.
I'm sad that several of my closest friends live interstate and across the ocean, but I love that we can be in contact in an instant. I love that in this day of modern technology I can be talking in real time across the world, or sending crazy Snapchat photos to each other, or we can video call and see each other's faces. We can make the effort to keep these special friendships part of our daily lives if we want to.
As Phil and I sat at our favourite spot in the sun yesterday drinking our coffee, I was observing the different groups of people walking past. There were families and partners, the fellas who had met a mate for a run, and then there were the girls. Groups of girls chatting, laughing and sharing stories about their week. They were in their own little world in a state of joy.
I have huge appreciation for the different types of girls in my life who are my friends. I have attracted smart, empathetic, creative, wise and amazing women into my world, all of whom have a no BS approach to life! They are different nationalities, have different backgrounds and upbringings, different interests, and sometimes different opinions.
I am so proud of them all, and so incredibly grateful that they have chosen me to be their friend. I also love them dearly…
Nurture your friendships with the girls in your life. Treasure the special moments, be grateful for them and show them love.
Do that, and they will walk beside you through your life and all that it is and will be…
With love, Ali xx