“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends…”
I am one of the luckiest women in the world. To have one close girl friend makes you blessed, so to have a group of incredible and diverse women in your life…well, it’s kind of like Nirvana in the friendship stakes. If peanut butter is really like crack cocaine for chicks (Ooooh, I so love it), then hanging out with my girls is like an all time natural high!
You know the true value of a friendship when you find yourself in times of total crap. When life hits the dirt, and your friends are calling you with soothing words of advice and wisdom, or popping over with a bottle of wine in one hand and cheese and crackers in the other; or dragging your ass out for a night on the town because they are sick of you being such a sour puss.
I grew up with an amazing group of girls. I have known them since my first day in High School. As the saying goes, if a good friend is happy to hear your memories – your best friend has lived them with you. My girls and I went through everything together – our budding breasts, the first sprouting of pubic hair, our periods, puberty, pimples, first boyfriends…all the firsts – holding a boy’s hand, kissing, losing our virginity; we shared make up tips and did each other’s hair; we raided each other’s wardrobes to go on dates. We watched each other grow up and evolve.
Kids, mortgages, career changes, births, illnesses, deaths, engagements, marriages, separations and divorces. We have supported each other though a lot of stuff. Through it all though, we’ve stayed friends for the past 30 years which is a beautiful thing.
I look at their photo that hangs above my computer even as I write this (I have framed pictures of the group where I live, and where I work) and realize that this amazing group of women has been instrumental in the person I have become now.
We are a fascinating group and probably backing up statistics, in this country and others. There are ten of us still friends from high school. One is single (not married but has had long-term relationships); 2 of us are divorced and currently single; one is divorced but now in a relationship with her new man; four are in long-term first marriages and two are happily married for the second time around! Out of ten friends, five of us have gone through divorce. Not surprising when you think that we all married at a very young age and in some cases to child hood sweethearts (we all know that it can work, but it certainly doesn’t always!). I love the partners of my friends, and I think we all feel lucky they are with great men who just get along with everyone. Paradoxically, that also means that when someone breaks up, the whole group feels the loss.
I have made many other beautiful friendships along the way, outside of the group. Beautiful, strong, sassy women in their own right who have brought their breadth of life experiences to my world. Some of these incredible women are single. Most are not.
I’ve changed and I’m not afraid to say it. Being single does that to a person. Being single in your 40’s really does that to a person. I had lived half my adult life with a partner. My life was caught up with my kids and my partner and we had a routine. That’s what happens in coupledom. Being suddenly single, and in my case the kids were with their dad almost half of the time, meant I suddenly had a shit-loud of time on my hands.
As a working mum I had sometimes dreamt of more time for myself. Sure, who hasn’t…but this was craziness. You realize very quickly that while your life has changed, the lives of coupled-up friends continue as they always have. Their time is consumed with their family and their routines as it should be.
I was so grateful for my single girlfriends. Firstly they understand what you’re feeling and going through and secondly, they have more time and inclination to go out with you on a Saturday night! My gorgeous friend Bella, as I have said before, was instrumental in the re-education of my single self. My other long-standing blonde friend, Jennifer, was also an inspiration to me and an incredible example of how to deal with a divorce with grace and dignity. She shared her stories with me of how her life changed dramatically when her long-term marriage ended after his affair was discovered. She balanced children, her home and a corporate career through it all. In her willingness to confide the best and worst of her truths to me, I realized there is a commonality in all suddenly single women. Pain is pain. Experiences though unique, unite us as people. I also discovered that one should never underestimate the true strength of women.
All of my gorgeous single chicks friends were great! I’ve had many a fun night out with them, individually and sometimes in groups. Through being single I have discovered a whole life I may not have known if I was still married. I’ve discovered night clubs and bars I previously didn’t know existed. I’ve been to some very kitsch little restaurants, cafes and cocktails bars because I’ve been single and out of dates. In my previous married life I’d be following the lives of my single friends with great interest. They were always up to interesting things. Now I have friends telling me they are living vicariously through me!
Going out and having fun though really came down to having some pretty amazing a diverse single friends. Instead of sitting home on a Friday night alone, I was out checking out Melbourne’s live bands at awesome pubs. Saturday nights I’m finding brilliant new restaurants and going to fun clubs. Sundays I’m having late brunches (occasionally hung over) and strong coffee with gorgeous chick friends. Quite often my girlfriend, Rose (who has been off the single market for 6 months now), will meet me for breakfast on a Sunday for a catch up on the latest adventures in our lives.
Single friends are texting me when I am on a date with anyone new to make sure I’m okay, and vice versa. It’s nice to know that they simply get it. It’s not always easy being the single chic in a sea of couples. It’s more expensive because in order to fill the time, or to actually meet anyone, you need to be out there and living your life. That’s just a truism.
We are all looking for it…the L word…and I’m always thrilled when my friends find it. Love is a beautiful thing.
I am always aware though that as time goes on and they couple up, there are likely to be less nights out on the town.
I adore my partnered friends and they deserve all the happiness in the world. I thank you too for your lovely support! Oh, and for your willingness to still be hilarious and drink a few glasses of bubbly with me!
In life though, as a single you really need to have some single friends. When your partnered friends are snuggled up on the couch with their sweetie, someone needs to be painting the town red with this single girl!
So I say thanks to the sisterhood, and viva la single chick friends!
My naughty, funny, cheeky friends who have shared many hilarious nights with me! My wing-girls! I appreciate you teaching me that life as a single is not always terrible. It is sometimes brilliant!
I’ve come to love and cherish my own time and sometimes I simply turn down invitations in order to soak in a long hot bubble bath and reflect on my life.
Thanks for nursing me through some hilarious hangovers! Thanks for being my wing girl under all circumstances; for pretending to be my lesbian lover to get rid of creeps in bars (Grecian, you crack me up)! Thanks for telling me to show more cleavage, or for being honest that my ass really did look big in that! Thanks for looking at potential on-line dating profiles with me, and reminding me of my own mantras. Thanks for not taking no for an answer when I should be saying yes! Thanks for disecting really bad dates with me, or for making me hit the treadmill when I needed to. Thanks for letting me make mistakes and loving me anyway!
I thank you for your courage and your wisdom and for your ability to drink champagne with me on the shiny paved streets of Single Town! It would be a whole lot less fun without you!