Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but you know they are there.Old saying
The six women came from different walks of life.
They lived in different hemispheres. Two were in the northern half and the other 4 in the southern half. They lived across multiple time zones.
Most were retired but they were still active and had a lot to offer the world and weren’t afraid to share their life experiences.
But it didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter that few had ever met in person, it didn’t matter that they had different backgrounds, had lived different lives. It didn’t matter that some were grandparents, and some were not, that some still worked a day job.
They had a common outlook on life, and they came together to share their thoughts in a safe and non-judgemental place.
They were all midlife bloggers.
What they weren’t, was the archetypal image of ‘invisible’ midlife women.
They had found each other through their ‘midlife’ blogs; reading, following and commenting on each other’s posts. They each had a different voice, but they resonated with each other.
It started during the global pandemic in mid 2020.
The idea was put to a few bloggers to see if they’d be interested in connecting via a weekly Zoom meeting, chat about their highs and lows for the week and to discuss a set question. The bloggers would take it in turn each week to be the leader with a question for the group, a conversation starter, to help learn more about each other. The group was limited to six bloggers and a name was sought.
The Six Stunners was decided upon as an apt and highly fitting name. A Facebook group was set up with regular updates from members and discussion after each week’s zoom meeting. Photos were shared and friendships forged even further.
The women grew in confidence with each other as the weeks turned into months; they supported those who were suffering; encouraged those who needed it; rejoiced when things were going well; and provided a simple, but lasting, friendship.
The women laughed and cried with each other, shared personal stories and learnt more about themselves in the process.
They continued to grow by sharing their thoughts, ideas, hopes and fears.
Women’s Circles aren’t a new thing, but this was a new thing for me. I have friends all over the world and am quite a sociable being. I like being with people, I like sharing stories, listening to others and hearing about their lives. I appreciate being supported when I need it and I try to support others when they need it.
After being made redundant one of the things I missed was the daily chit chat that goes on in an office situation. The snatched conversation between work, the comments on a new hairdo or new glasses, the family updates and the knowledge that your work colleagues/friends had your back at all times. The camaraderie, the support, the daily drama and the friendship. Yes, I missed my rewarding workload, but I missed my work colleagues far more. We have stayed in touch, but it has a different feel when we get together these days. We have lost some of that connection but thankfully we hold on to that shred that once held us together in the workplace.
It can be lonely once you are retired, you don’t have the continual contact with people, and if like me you thrive on that, then it can be a very hard transition to make. And when that is pushed on you, in the form of a redundancy, it’s extra hard to adapt to. You feel like you’re grieving for your loss of work, your purpose and your loss of social network. Unlike some managers, my work team were my friends and although I was the boss, I had an excellent relationship with them all. They knew so much about me and could tell what sort of mood I was in before I walked in the door, my tip-tap footsteps would alert them if I was full of vim and vigour or if I was feeling down. My face has always been an open book too!
The group of bloggers, the Six Stunners, that I’m a part of, has that similar feeling which I’ve really missed. It may only be an hour or so a week, but it brightens my day and puts a spring in my step. We know what’s going on, to some extent, in the lives of our friends and know when a supportive word is needed or simply a kind word. There is no judgement and it’s a safe place to be ourselves.
Some of our wide ranging discussion topics have included love languages, favourite books, music choices, shoes, travel stories, dreams, meeting your partner, mentoring, writing our own euology…..and we have never had a disagreement.
Every week we all bring something different to the table, we learn from each other and we learn about ourselves, that we’re not as shallow as we thought, that we may not think as deeply as others but we still have valuable insights on a subject and we all have something to offer. Sometimes we don’t think we have anything to offer but it turns out we do! We listen to each other with respect and no-one hogs the limelight, we share it around.
I admit to looking forward to our conversations far more than I probably should. I value the friendships and the shared wisdom. I think it came at a time when I really needed it and so I am in debt to these women. They just ‘get’ me.
I love logging on each week and seeing their smiling faces, I love the support that radiates from the group, the fact that we’re not pushing our own blogs but simply enjoying a friendship. If one of us can’t join in for some reason we miss them but still get on with the conversation, and surprisingly the same amount of time is used up whether it’s five or six of us. If need be, we change the day of meeting to suit what’s going on.
We are flexible and we are friends. We value our special friendship and that helps keep me grounded in these scary times.
MOJO November 2020
I wrote this the other day, before my first cup of tea, as part of a course I’m doing with the Australian Writers’ Centre. It’s a daily course for November aimed at improving our MOJO and getting those creative juices flowing.
I am really enjoying it and my mood has picked up considerably since starting the course. It gives me a daily focus and helps me to see things differently. I’m learning and enjoying the process greatly.
The course has daily challenges and interesting insights, built around the initials MOJO.
- M for Mindset
- O for Online
- J for Juice
- O for Operation
Some of the random things I’ve done so far are – I’ve planted sunflower seeds, written a letter to my future self, checked what words were introduced in the year I was born, written 1000 words (on any topic) and found out how many days have passed since I was born, played a game of I Spy while out and about, (taking note of 10 suggested items for creativity purposes) – as I said it’s been very interesting. Each morning I wake up looking forward to what each day’s MOJO will bring and where it will take me. There are inspiring quotes, ideas for writing and interaction within the group. So much fun!
This particular challenge was on Day 4 with the task simply being, Write 1000 words on any topic, carve out time today and just let the words flow…
And I came up with these 1000 words in one go!! I was very proud of myself and shared these words with my blogging friends, asking their permission to share as a post on my blog. They all agreed 🙂
Women’s friendships are like a renewable source of power.Jane Fonda
I won’t name who is in our group as we are keeping it private but if you are keen to start your own circle of friends, as we have done, I would highly recommend it!
I usually do a ‘Wordless Wednesday’ post but I’m thinking I will mix it up by adding a ‘Wordy Wednesday’ post every week or so. It doesn’t hurt to change things up a bit every now and again does it?
Let me know your thoughts, as always, I love hearing from you.
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.
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