Updated: Jun 13
As a nod to the passing of another week in #LockdownUK, marked by #ThrowbackThursday coming around again, I thought I would take a moment to consider one of the things that is proving invaluable during these strange times. I am, somewhat indulgently, posting a past blog, written a way back as a way of celebrating friendship: 'Friends and Frivolity.'
Friendship mattered to me then and now, when we cannot actually relate to our friends in all the usual ways that we are accustomed to, friendship is making a difference and a significant impact too.
Friends have checked in with each other, arranged group calls or other virtual events. They have dropped off much needed shopping supplies or little treats that they know will brighten each other's day. They have listened and supported, posted pictures of shared memories and basically been a hand to hold - obviously metaphorically speaking and from a distance. Friends reaching out, waiting until they can be together again, in the same physical space to share their highs and lows and to create shared experiences once more.
Below is my original blog piece, written just before a girls' weekend away in Brighton to celebrate my 50th birthday. That's almost two years ago now and a lot has happened since then - both for me personally, and at this strange time, for everyone worldwide. In reminiscing about this lovely memory, I want to focus upon the hope that we will someday get the chance to do silly, madcap activities again. Perhaps you have a memory of a moment with friends to treasure, to hold on to within this difficult time? I hope you enjoy reading about the one that is resonating with me...
Friends and Frivolity
It is often said that friends are the family that you choose for yourself. As it is with family, friends come in all shapes and sizes and move in and out of your life, as circumstances dictate. Some friends are regular participants in your life and others may be more sporadic but true friends, the people who really matter and make a difference to you, are always ready to listen, to meet up, to be a presence when the need is there - even if you haven’t seen each other for a long time. It is a blessing to me that I have a strong group of friends that I can call upon when I need them and who, I would hope, would do the same to me as and when they needed support.
I am about to spend a weekend away with 6 friends - an eclectic bunch who have agreed to join me in a girls adventure marking my birthday. Each one of them has their own busy life and family commitments, yet they put it all on hold to indulge me in a madcap, frivolous weekend and spent a year saving up to be able to do so.
What is it that draws people together to become friends? Often a shared interest perhaps and we are all partial to a bit of drama, this is true. When in the playground, choosing friends, you pick from similar aged peers. Now there’s 20 years or more between the youngest and oldest of our group, yet it doesn’t seem to figure in the relationships. We can all laugh together and support each other, as required, without limits.
It seems like I should return to this blog, when the impending weekend is done and I no doubt will have a wealth of experiences from it on which to comment. Yet is that necessary? I’m thinking of the old adage of “you needed to be there.” Indeed, trying to relay anecdotes of something that a group found completely hilarious to a dumbfounded looking individual, after the event, is never a fully satisfactory pastime.
I know that we will laugh, drink, eat and do silly things and perhaps that’s all that needs to be said. Over a year saving, several months planning events during the weekend, copious amounts of messages back and forth fine tuning details of outfits to wear, times to meet and catch trains and one central space set up for all of us to post our photographs during the weekend- all culminates in a shared experience that, with a bit of luck, we’ll all look back on with fond memories for many years to come.
And that is surely the crux of it? Making memories with the people that matter to you, isn’t that what life needs to be about? I’m sure, when the curtains are about to fall upon your final life’s performance, it is not the items you have bought or the jobs that you completed that come into focus in your mind. Memories are etched into your mind from sharing experiences together - with friends or family, or friends who become family. It is not how long you have shared a pathway with someone that matters, it’s who you jumped in the puddles with, who climbed a tree with you, who ran giggling with you to hide behind the bushes.
So, I’m not sure that the seven of us will be doing those things this weekend but we are booked into a dance workshop, an afternoon tea, an evening of relaxing chat with a tipple or two thrown in and who knows what else may transpire? As the theme is vintage, we’re all dressing up accordingly - I did say it was a madcap adventure! Within that context, we have our feather boas ready and are so excited that it’s akin to being schoolgirls again. It’s so lovely to be giving ourselves time and space to be silly, be pampered and to make memories together. Onlookers may not ‘get it’ but we’re all up for the nonsense of it and if you can’t have a bit of nonsense from time to time, then life’s a bit dull.
Perhaps we all need to be daft from time to time and we certainly shouldn’t just keep things on a bucket list and never get round to doing them. Choose your bucket list items carefully but share the experiences with those who are significant in your life, be that friends or family. I’m off to pack now and I’ve made sure I’ve got my bucket with me!