“They came to sit & dangle their feet off the edge of the world & after awhile they forgot everything but the good & true things they would do someday.” ~ storypeople
I have just returned from a lovely weekend at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, where my dear friend R hosted 6 other friends to help celebrate her 40th birthday. We all stayed in a house called “Walden Pond” (how perfect is that?!), made our meals together, and laughed the weekend away. I had a wonderful time getting to know R’s friends, two of whom we found to have mutual friends in common from other points in our lives.
I came from weather in the 90s and 100s and very humid, so the first thing I did after landing in Pittsburgh, even before collecting my suitcase, was step outside into the cool air. Heaven!!!!! I rented a car and enjoyed the drive to the resort, listening to my favorite radio station and admiring the changing leaves and the green expanses of rolling hills. I could hardly contain myself from getting out my camera, but I would have been very late and I didn’t want to be rude. 🙂
Of course I will share my pictures here soon, but first I want to say how nice it was to be unconcerned about who the other 6 women would turn out to be and if I would have fun this weekend. Since they are all friends of R, I knew I would love them all, and I DID! Over our homemade Italian dinner on Friday evening, R explained how each of us came into her life. We laughed and shared stories as if we’d all known each other forever. Then we ate chocolate birthday cake, of course.
I am so blessed have a handful of very close girlfriends, but I rarely pause to appreciate them and the value that they add to my life. So dear friends near and far, thank you for being you and for affirming me, loving me, and encouraging me. I love you.
I’ve mentioned before that I learned there are no accidents or coincidences. I know now that the purpose of this trip (from the moment R brought it up I never once doubted that I would be there no matter how impossible it seemed to get away) was to pause enough to learn how to better proceed through the next couple of years of my life. I listened with every cell in my body as my new friends shared wholeheartedly their stories about their children, their marriages, and their passions. I shared some of myself as well, but I feel that I came away with so much more than I gave to any of them.
One reason I love to travel is that it is an opportunity to step outside of the usual routines and tasks and it leaves me open to new experiences, new people, and new ideas. Once I have quieted my rather OCD-like internal voice and can let myself relax, I find I enjoy my own company.
From one person I was reminded how an optimistic outlook and an active lifestyle can lead to pure enjoyment and also that we can design our days to best suit us; from another I was encouraged that our parenting philosophies are similar and that my photographic eye is unique and expresses my “me”-ness; from yet another I was reminded to slow down, be myself, and be less rigid. Being with R, the reason for the trip, I felt proud of our long friendship and that we have truly supported each other on the big life issues through phone calls and e-mails even though we no longer live in the same city.
Revelation #1: My daughter is still very young and full of needs and it is completely normal that I don’t have enough time for myself and that I feel I’m in a whirlwind most of the time. Apparently it will just keep getting better and better until I feel like Naomi again.
Revelation #2: I am way less judgmental than I thought! I can be very nice to myself and generous with friends. OK this isn’t really a revelation, but I’m pleased it’s still true.
Revelation #3: Specific aspects of my life that I previously didn’t think much about are now top of mind. I have reprioritized my list of what’s important for the coming year and my marriage is at the top.
Revelation #4: Landscape photography lights me up and fills me with joy. I learn about myself and am most myself when engaged with nature in this way.
P.S. For those of you who I did not have time to visit with on this trip, I apologize for its brevity. I would have loved to see you, I hope you know.