I am so grateful that I have slowly gained a few friends over the years who make my life a little better and brighter. I'm not the most social person in the world anymore - as time goes by I seem to find large groups (especially large groups of women) a little intimidating. I feel bombarded in all directions from too much noise and too many half finished conversations.
What brings real joy in my life is those friendships that have come into their own and grown stronger over the last few years. I have a friend I see every week, one I see every month, another every few months and still more that I catch up with when we can both manage it. They are all different women who impact on my life in different ways, but they all make me feel better for having spent time with them.
These are women who have experienced ups and downs in their lives too - not like my more casual "friends" who are cruising along without a care in the world, but who have less and less that I can relate to. My real friends have gone through sickness, family upheavals, issues with their children, and many other little (and not so little) hiccups along life's journey. They have weathered the storms, grown stronger and wiser and can share on a deeper and more "real" level.
I love it when we cackle away over some silly anecdote, or enjoy looking at some photos from a newly married family member (while still remembering that I don't need to see all 750 pictures!). I also like it when we have those moments when we are honest about how we are going, or when we share the hurts that the other friend happens to be feeling at a particular time. With maturity comes the understanding that you can't fix everything, you can't just brush it under the table and pretend it isn't happening, you can't minimize it and gloss over it......no, sometimes you just need a friend by your side who understands, and I am so glad I have a few of those in my life. They are truly a blessing to me.
So, with mid-life comes the celebration of true friendships - I will remember to tell these friends how much I value them. I will remember to give back into the friendships as well as receiving so much from them. I will remember that these friends are a true gift to me at this stage of my life and I will make sure that I always have time for them.