When was the last time you had fun with girlfriends? I mean the laugh out loud fun that only girlfriends share. Whether they be old friends or brand new, a recent study by Stanford University says “One of the best things that a man can do for his health is to be married to a women whereas, for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health is to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.”
The challenge comes when we don’t have enough girlfriends that we can identify with. After 50, our lives are in a state of flux for a while. There are so many situations. Look at the list and find yours:
- You have become an empty nester and the way you made friends with Moms of your kids friends has come to an end.
- You have retired and your work friends don’t have the time you now have.
- You’ve moved to a new city or state and you all your girlfriends are now long distance.
- You’ve divorced, gotten out of a long term relationship or become a widow. You have much more time and your “couple” friends don’t necessarily meet your new needs.
- You are partnered up, but your partner travels frequently, doesn’t like to go out much or do the things you want to do.
- You work all the time and never make time for yourself.
My situation was #4. After I left my 20 year marriage at age 50, I needed new girlfriends to go out and have fun with. That’s not to say that my married friends are not still near and dear to me. They are, but they are rarely available to get together one on one. Being the creative starter that I am, I started my own girlfriend group called Wild Boomer Women. I figured there must be a few other women out there like me. I posted the group (on meetup.com) on a Monday and by Friday I had over 100 members. That sure was validating. I crowned myself Queen of the Wild Boomer Women (no one else was going to make me a queen so I took matters into my own hands) and embarked on an adventure that would change my life.
At the first meet and greet there were 30 women from all over the greater Phoenix area. We laughed about our commonalities and bonded in ways only baby boomers can. The best way to get women talking is to give them a topic to discuss. Their task was to talk about the wildest thing they had ever done. Talk about a conversation starter! Within minutes there were shrieks of laughter coming from every table. The small groups had to pick the story they deemed wildest and those winners came up to the front, repeated their wild story and the group voted. The wildest women earned her tiara that night. Best of all, everyone in attendance made new friends.
I know how hard it can be to go somewhere by yourself where you don’t know anyone. I always challenge women to come to our monthly happy hour where we have our own private area. When they walk in with that “deer in the headlights” look, I immediately take them to a table of other women, introduce them to the group and the next time I look over, you could swear you were looking at a group of long lost friends. This happens every time.
I have met my best friends in this group. Women I have traveled with, shared triumphs and losses with and consider my chosen sisters. In 2012 I launched The Bucket List Club. By the end of the year we had over 400 members. Every month we have a happy hour, a “learn how to” event and a Bucket List Adventure Day. Events have included learning to ride a motorcycle, hot air ballooning, how to shoot a gun, indoor skydiving, and burlesque dance. We also have spa days, theatre outings, cooking classes, wine tastings, a book club, two bunko groups and often we just get together for a meal. Some of us spend holidays together because our families are far away.
Nine of us took a two week trip to Italy last October and had the time of our lives. Just like at the happy hour, many of these women did not know each other before we arrived in Rome. By the next morning we were all fast friends and now we get together as often as we can. We have a special bond, sharing an experience like that. This year our trip is a Wine Immersion Cruise to Europe (England, France, Spain and Portugal) September 29 – October 12. If you’ve ever wanted to travel but have no one to go with, consider going on this trip with us. Whatever you do, get on our mailing list by signing up for our newsletter or get member benefits for only $10 per year by being an online member (for women outside the Greater Phoenix Area). That will also help us to determine where there is interest as we open chapters around the country. Please visit our website at www.wildboomerwomen.com and join the fun.