Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Power of Friendship


Last weekend, my girlfriends (CR, KE, VB, and CH) and I hit the road for a "girl's trip" to North Carolina. CH and I were college roommates, CR and I met in college when we dated two guys who were best friends, and I met VB and KE around that same time. We started counting back and realized that we've been doing girl's trips for 27 years. It doesn't really matter where we go, (and we've been to a lot of places: Gatlinburg, Ft. Lauderdale, Destin, Orlando, Boca Grande, Acapulco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Memphis, Asheville, Lake Toxaway, Myrtle Beach, West Palm, Los Angeles...and probably more places that I can't remember right now) we always have such a wonderful, bonding, relaxing, laugh until your stomach hurts, fun time.

We're getting older, I guess. Our laugh lines are a little bit deeper, but I treasure each one. I love these girls. We don't see each other as often as we used to, because we are all married, with kids, and live on opposite ends of town. But it's
funny, even when we don't see each other for a long time, whenever we're together we pick up right where we left off.

CR is the party planner. I can put together any group of people, throw CR in the mix, and it will be a great time. She is so beautiful, but has no hesitation in making herself look ridiculous. In our single days, when a guy was being obnoxious, she'd rummage in her purse, find an eye pencil, and black out her teeth. Worked every time!

I know, with VB, she will always tell me the truth...about anything. "Esa, you're hair color is too dark", or "Esa, those pants are a little tight, don't ya think?" She is the "supermom", "super-friend" and "super-organizer". She works full time, has three incredibly busy kids, and volunteers for EVERYTHING.


My college roommate was CH. She loves to be the center of attention, and always says whatever comes into her mind (which has gotten her into trouble a few times), but would stand up to anyone to defend a friend.

Look up "pure goodness" and you'd find KE. She is truly the sweetest person I know. I have never, ever, heard her say anything negative about anyone. She knows more about the bible than anyone I know, but is never judgmental or preachy. She's a business owner, and is raising her niece, and I admire her so much.

This group of girls, along with a few others that we've met along the way, has been a source of laughter, support, encouragement, cheap therapy, stress relief, and comfort.
Studies show that having a network of friends, especially girlfriends, will help you live longer, have healthier bodies and reduce stress.

More than one study has proven that social connections decrease the risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. You can cut your risk of death by 60% just having a greater number of friends over a 9 year period. These findings are so incredible that studies have concluded that not having close friends or confidants was as damaging to your health as being a smoker or overweight!

I'm so thankful that I have these girls in my life. We've been through college, dating, break-ups, career changes, children, illness, surgeries, marriages, divorces, and through it all we always find time to be there for each other. I know that some so-called "friends" can actually add more stress to your life, but not these women. Even though everyone has families, responsibilities, and crazy busy lives, we have maintained a special relationship that just keeps on giving back. I came home from this trip re-energized, focused, and ready to take on the world!