I met with two old friends this weekend in a bid to catch up before Covid-19 restrictions increase for the winter. It was such a needed tonic. Why had we left it so long to do this?
These particular friendships were formed when having our first babies, 13 years ago 😵. Like most new parents, we navigated those first years together in cafes and each other’s gardens in a semi-delirious state reassuring each other we were completely normal and that, one day, all would be okay. Then life did get more okay and we started getting back into our careers, moving house, getting dogs and becoming busier and busier… too busy to really nurture those friendships properly.
Yesterday we ate, drank, laughed, and talked crap in equal measures. It felt so good. Such a release. Space to blurt things out and think without the eye-rolling of our judgemental teenagers. We openly discussed our worries, fears, children, husbands, careers, money issues and body changes. I felt comforted and validated. Once again, I felt reassured that I was completely normal, I was okay. More than that, I was valued, wanted, appreciated, and loved.
I wonder how our friendships change as we age? Is there something about hitting middle-age or parenting teenagers that means we need our friends again more than ever? Isn’t middle-age a bit like adolescence? We need our peers to find courage, care and a sense of normality in the middle of big changes. I am going to take a leaf from my teenager’s book and start prioritising my friendships – I have a feeling I am going to need them.
My mate left me a bottle of her lovely Neals Yard Remedies oil that she pours everywhere. I am sure the aromatherapy oils it contains will be soothing but I think it will be the powerful connection with her kindness, loyalty and humour that will do it for me. Stand clear, I will be smelling a lot of Bergamot!
Can you give yourself permission as a parent to nurture those relationships that give you the strength, courage and care required to stay steady as a parent or as a carer for ageing parents?
For those who need a bit more than friendship to navigate midlife troubles I highly recommend taking a look at Dr Becky Quickie or follow her on Instagram (The Menopause Psychologist).