Happy New Year Girlfriends!
Tomorrow starts a new year and a new slate. Resolutions will be made (some broken, some not) and we’ll start a new year with optimism and hope.
Before we move on to 2009, it’s a wonderful time to reflect on 2008 and what lessons we can learn to take into the New Year for a better 2009 to come. Personally, I have some definite wishes for what I would have done differently in 2008:
- Yep, me. The (old!) girl who started Girlfriendology. I wish I would have spent more time with my girlfriends. While I try to ‘walk the talk’ I still struggle with my schedule and finding time for the special women in my life as much as I would like. I have mentioned before, I am in no way claiming to be a model girlfriend. I just have a commitment to be a student of friendship and to learn and inspire along the way.
- If you look around you, you’ll probably see what I see - girlfriends who bless your life on a daily basis in ways that no one else (no husband, boyfriend, casual friendship) could. My girlfriends support me in my dreams, they give me grace in missing their birthdays or not being available for lunches as much as I’d like. My amazing friends encourage me, even when they don’t always get what I’m doing. (Girlfriendology and social media aren’t common commitments so I don’t expect them to understand why and how I spend so much time on them.)
- A difference in viewpoint between a girlfriend and me caused some serious damage to our friendship. We both were hurt and, although the healing is taking place, I would have avoided that subject all together. I can’t bring back the months that it has taken to get past the pain and fear of losing that friendship. I so regret that it happened and pray that we can make our friendship even stronger from ‘weathering this storm’ together.
- Quitting my job and committing to Girlfriendology full-time caused a financial strain on my family. We no longer have insurance provided or a steady paycheck (my husband does freelance writing – he’s great – hire him!!). In some ways this financial shift made us a little more prepared for the economic downturn that happened in the final quarter of 2008. We were already cutting spending and bills as much as possible. However, this new level of ‘frugality‘ continues to impact my friendships. I can’t go to dinner or lunch with friends. I haven’t had girlfriend celebrations nearly as often as I would love to do. I’m limited on buying any gifts or having the joy of giving surprise girlfriend gifts, buying their coffee or treating them to dinner. In a very humbling way, my girlfriends have over-compensated for this and, for that I am so grateful. Becky has brought me lunch or breakfast for our Friday girlfriend coffee dates (and a book that she knew I wanted). Cath, Jill, Barb, Deana, Joan, Ellen and other girlfriends have provided lunches, dinners and great conversations. Terri, Penny, Patty, Carole, Allison, Bridget, Paula, Lynn and Rhonda have had us over for dinner and/or shared their home with us. Lucrecer shared a room with me at BlogHer and other fellow Cincinnati Women Bloggers (like Shannan, Amy, Laura and Susan) who chipped in for our recent Holiday Social without making me feel bad for not being able to contribute for the food. Jody shared so much helpful information and great ideas with me from an expensive seminar that she attended just yesterday. Anne generously offered to help and is bringing coffee to our New Year’s Day brunch tomorrow – and so many more acts of girlfriend generosity. 2008 has taught me the lessons of humility and frugality – and sheer joy for girlfriends and the support, encouragement and love they provide.
Who knows what 2009 will bring? Sponsors, partners, opportunities for Girlfriendology? (I hope so!) Or a different path for me or my husband? Will the economic situation continue to intensify or will we correct the financial path we’ve been on? What will the New Year bring as far as our health, happiness, comfort level, stress, the loss and arrival of loved ones, new technologies and new friends?
One thing I do know will continue to be a major impact on my life will be my girlfriends – the dozens of women who care about me, challenge and support me, who teach me lessons that no one else could. Those friendships I look forward to growing, appreciating and celebrating. Those girlfriends I know will continue to inspire me and make me a better person. That’s enough hope and optimism to override all my other concerns and worries. How can 2009 not be GREAT with my girlfriends by my side?! I can’t wait to spend the New Year with you all!
HAPPY NEW YEAR (and THANKS!) GIRLFRIENDS!
The following article offers even more thoughts on lessons learned in 2008 from Linda Lowen of About.com. (Linda was kind enough to feature Girlfriendology on About.com for National Women’s Friendship Day – check it out!)
Linda’s Women’s Issues Blog
By Linda Lowen, About.com Guide to Women’s Issues
What I Wish I’d Done – Or Done Differently – In 2008
Monday December 29, 2008
Two steps forward, one step back. Do any of us stride confidently into the new year without a backward glance (tinged with regret) at the year that was? It is human nature, after all, to ponder the road not taken. And maybe this end-of-year self-tally of ‘what might have been’ is akin to throwing salt over one’s shoulder — a way of keeping the devil at bay in the year ahead.
Here’s what a diverse group of women revealed about their own glances backward during 2008:
* New York Times healthcare reporter Jane Gross expresses regret over how she managed her mother’s care in her final years. (It’s an eye-opener for any woman dealing with an aging parent.)
* Presidential VP candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wishes she’d done more media interviews.
* Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, who late last year emerged as a ‘love yourself no matter what your shape’ body image advocate, says she should have spent more time naked.
* Carrie Fisher, promoting her new book Wishful Drinking, told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show that she wishes she’d turned down the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars.
* Small business owner Anita Campbell shares what she should have done when launching her startup — tips that she offers with the wisdom of hindsight.
* Entrepreneur Leah Woodward, who previously owned her own business but had to return to ‘being an employee’ in 2008, created a laundry list of “14 Lessons I Wish I’d Known Before Going Back to Being An Employee.”
* Albany Times-Union blogger Naomi Selden expresses regret over a ‘Stolen Christmas‘ present.
What do I look back at with regret? Several things:
* I wish I’d stayed on top of the ‘stuff’ coming into my house; my family has inherited much of the contents of both sets of parents’ homes (mine passed away, his downsized to a retirement community) and now we don’t quite know what to do with it all.
* I wish I’d been stricter about grades with one daughter and more generous with praise for the other daughter, and made more time for both.
* I wish had been better at returning phone calls and making time for ‘girls night out’ with those women in my life who often get ignored but still consider me a friend.
* And I wish I could have had twice as many hours each day to share more links, articles, blogs and stories of women’s lives here.
Our forward momentum is always slowed by the friction of past regrets. That’s the condition of the human spirit, especially with regard to women. And perhaps that’s what keeps us from flying too high or sinking too low.
Past experiences are the stitches that hold the fabric of our lives life together. It’s to be expected that we may pull at a few loose threads now and then as we tidy up another year. If that’s what you’re doing in these final hours of 2008, that’s okay. As you can see from the examples above, you’re definitely not alone.
So, girlfriend. What do you wish you’d done – or done differently – in 2008?
Image by Atomische.com via Flickr
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