Girls’ weekends. Who doesn’t love time with their girlfriends? Time with the girls who knew you when… who can put you in a place that you haven’t been for years, remind you of things you don’t remember, don’t choose to remember, or have completely blocked out. Ah yes, the reminiscing of all things from high school, many, many years ago.
Girls’ weekends not only remind you of your past, but allow you to forget the present. They allow you to put your daily routine in your back pocket, even for a short time. They give you the attention you need, without the interruptions that typically fill your days.
Your oldest friends accept you unconditionally, through goodness and bad, in sickness and in health, just like a marriage, like your family. They recognize the differences in tastes in food and drink, so much that when you’re together, you buy three different types of wine so that everyone is happy. You buy an excess of food to please everyone. Like close family members, unwilling to compromise, you prefer that everyone is satisfied. Everybody is happy, everybody wins and nobody is uncomfortable. In fact, you are so much like family, that you talk over each other or interrupt to share something that is related, to agree with the other’s way of thinking, or to disagree wholeheartedly, and confidently. But nobody is shaken, as it’s not a criticism, just comfortably discussing with those who know you so well.
These friends understand you, or perhaps they tolerate you, but whatever it is, it’s a comfortable feeling. In their presence, you are your shoes off self, loose and open, sharing effortlessly, knowing that nobody will judge you, regardless of the content of your conversation. You listen to their advice, which they share freely, whether or not you want to hear it. It’s okay, they’re your sisters, advising in a sisterly way that only they can do.
You talk about many things, but the past always comes to the surface. It can be as benign as the music you listened to when your were in your teens. You participate in a game that involves not name that tune, but name that singer from your past, music blaring, as you prepare dinner, fragrant and strong, wine flowing generously. It’s relaxed laughter, and a concert of activity, all in synchrony.
You talk about family members, because you knew them, care about them, and are interested in how they are today, years later. You listen attentively and empathetically to what the other has to say. It’s your family, too, you feel. When it’s really time to listen, when it’s really important, one person talks and the other listens. There is no advice at this time, just the opportunity for the one who needs it, to talk openly, to vent, to take the floor with confidence and to let the words come out freely, nothing holding her back.
Old friends put you in your place and ground you, no matter where you are today . They know your background, that you once lacked confidence and made mistakes. They don’t forget, but remind you of your vulnerability, whether you want the memory or not. In doing so, they give you strength at a time when you need it. You can depend on them, without conditions. Spending time with friends who “knew you when” reawakens your old self. It reminds you that your past experiences, whether or not you remember them, whether they were painful or carefree, have contributed greatly to who you are today. You are richer because of them and the friendships you hold so closely.