I have lived in the mountain community of Asheville, NC for almost one full year. The year has been a wonderful transition from full time work in my sales and marketing career of 30+ years to retired. I’m still working on the retirement “thing” because it takes time to go from a full roaring engine to what some days feels like a puttering generator.
What this year has given me is time to slow down, to stop in for a cup of coffee any time during the day, to shop for special cookies in a many of the unique local bakeries, to taking rides on the Blue Ridge Parkway with the convertible top down – raking in the breeze and sunlight; to mellow times to read or take up my writing again.
During the way, I have bonded with several women in our apartment complex - I see them somewhat regularly, but not so regularly to call them family. Yet, they have truly become girlfriends.
What a myriad of personalities, hair color, sizes and shapes we are, but we are all mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and in some cases wives or significant others. We are baby boomers with the mindset of millennials – searching for what feels good and right in our lives.
Heartache has visited most of us through the death of a loved one, a divorce, a betrayal, less than hearty retirement investment accounts and some physical aches and pains.
Often we find ourselves gathered around one another while sunning and swimming at our community pool. We admire each other’s bathing suits and sun hats. We peel out laughter when one of us breaks into the water, somewhat lacking athletic skills as we swim laps. We each bring our cell phone or IPad so that we can share pictures of children and grandchildren, beautiful flowers, the mountainside, local events that have been advertised and even, recipes. We are girlfriends and all this matters in small smatterings called life.
In just three short weeks, I will be moving out of state. Another of our group has built a house and will be moving out of our complex. Another is waiting for a subsidized apartment that will permit her to walk all around the city, popping in and out for tea or the local downtown library. The other three will likely stay in the complex for the time being. It just seems to fit them well, but there is no guarantee with the changes life brings about that it will last forever. We age, our children move away, rent goes up beyond what makes financial sense, the community shifts and everyday life looks and feels differently.
But we have each other’s phone numbers, e-mail addresses, have connected on Facebook and can Messenger at any time.
We may lose proximity to one another daily, but we have no reason to not stay connected. Keeping in touch and showing that you care for one another is the very core of friendships among women.
We will look a bit different in a few years, but you will always be able to recognize the smile in our eyes and on the lips…. Girlfriends. Women who have shared one another’s lives. People who have cared for others their entire life and won’t forget you as you journey on. It’s just what women do.
Gezil (Kristin) Andrews is new to blogging, but not new to writing. She first wrote a poem for her mother at age 12 and is still working hard to get the dangling participles, pronouns and adjectives in all the right places. Welcome.