How to create amazing memories with midlife friends

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Midlife gals…are you having as much fun creating amazing memories with your friends as you could be?

My guess is that you’re not.

I had an interesting airplane seatmate last week while flying to California.

I was settling into my window seat as a group of middle-aged men walked on and began taking their seats in my row. There were four of them.

I sized them up and decided they were golfers. They looked like they were straight out of central casting.

Two sat in my row next to me, and the other two sat across the isle from them.

They were having fun. Before long I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me.I asked him if he was travelling to Palm Springs for business or pleasure.

“Golf,” he said. “We’re celebrating our 20th year of taking our annual golf trip together.”

Now he had my interest!

I was suitably impressed that this friend group had been doing this for 20 years.

Something else crossed my mind…I noticed I was surprised that MEN had prioritized it. I’m not sure why I thought this; I guess I assumed women valued their friendships more than men and would therefore, be taking these kinds of trips.

I had to know more.

I asked how they organized all of this.

I loved what he told me.  After some trial and error in the early years, they decided that they would rotate the planning responsibility every year. There was a bit of a ceremony and a “passing” of the special golf towel once a year.

The newly appointed person did all of the research as to where they would be playing golf.  They didn’t have a tight budget, but the idea was that it would be a nice place and a seven day vacation.

coach_age_shakespear_pinterestWhen the destination and plans were announced, the other friends couldn’t question anything. Basically, the concept is that they just pass over their share of the expenses and go. No fuss, no muss.

And here they were. On a plane with me on route to an awesome golf destination.

A few of them had become divorced over the years, but they still managed to prioritize this special week of “guy time.” At times, there has been discussion of additional people joining them, but it sounded like they love the groove they’re in.

Sometimes they share rooms; sometimes they don’t. To my surprise, snoring didn’t seem to be a problem.

Complaints about the venue are also not allowed.

I enjoyed hearing all of this. Twenty (20) years of a beautiful tradition is simply fantastic.

I’m also part of a wonderful group of friends who have been socializing together for 28 years.

My group of midlife gals all met professionally. We were originally on an inter-agency council dedicated to tobacco prevention, each representing different organizations.

Because of our work association, we affectionately call ourselves the “Smokin’ Gals.” We’ve tried to change the name a few times since then because we’re so anti-smoking but nothing ever stuck.

We typically get together about 2 – 3 times a year, usually for dinner at someone’s house. We have ventured farther afield on occasion too.

We also have to work at shutting people up.  We pass a feather around when we get together. When you have the feather, you speak. Your buddies have to practice the art of not talking when they don’t have the feather.

I went to the Grand Canyon recently saw a talking stick! Looks like we weren’t the first to see the need to gently guide  decorum during group conversations (or politely tell people to shut up).

Of course I bought it and couldn’t wait to bring it to our next gathering. We had a good laugh and felt connected to our Native American friends.

The Smokin’ Gals have been to a variety of cottages and Niagara on the Lake for a spa weekend. We’ve been to comedy evenings and shows. But we haven’t gotten on a plane and started an annual tradition like the golfers.

Yet….that is.

Midlife friend groups and traditions like this are invaluable.

Our group has been through marriages, births, retirements, cancer and sadly, death. We are now a group of seven instead of eight. We miss our friend Mary terribly. Mary knew how to live a rich life and we think of her always as we continue to plan together and create new memories.

One of the gals, Anita, seems to take the lead most often on planning our next rendezvous. We love that she’s so great at it. But I must say, I’m going to suggest the idea of formalizing things a bit more and sharing the planning responsibility. I love the way these golf guys organized themselves.

Now it’s your turn. Here’s how to create amazing memories with midlife friends.

  1. Make creating memorable experiences with your friends a priority. Do not say you’re too busy. Try to take that phrase right out of your vocabulary. When you think that thought, notice how you feel? Try a new thought: I’m learning to prioritize more time with my friends. Notice how that makes you feel. Big difference.  Thoughts are optional.
  2. Decide how to plan. What would work best with your group of friends? Should someone just take charge? Or would rotating work best?  Put it on the agenda and make it happen! If you don’t do it, it may never happen and you may have regrets.
  3. Have a blast! Decide how you want to spend your time together. Really, think about it. Within the next 5 or 10 years, what types of experiences do you want to have? Think of this topic as part of your effort to live more intentionally. Woohoo!

Looking to have more fun in midlife?

I actually think the whole exercise of making time for your friends more of a priority is a great idea. But seriously ladies, let’s get you going. Life is short. This FREE download lists 10 surprisingly simple tips to help you bust out of your midlife funk! It’s there for you. Let’s go!

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