I celebrated a milestone birthday this past February. I guess there’s no reason to be coy, I turned 40. Birthdays and aging had never bothered me before, however this year was definitely different. It wasn’t so much the wrinkles or the sagging in new places that was freaking me out. Turning 40 forced me to be honest and reflective about my life choices, and about how I wanted to spend the next 40 years of my life. Okay, maybe just the next ten years but you get the point. As the year of being 40 comes to an end, I’ve realized that as much as this year was about pushing myself and trying new things, it was more than anything the year that I came to appreciate and understand the friendships that have so enriched my life. Some of my friendships have endured since the early days of university, and others are relatively recent. However, the thing they all have in common, the thing I want my children to learn about their own friendships, is that I call these people my friends because I know they always have my best interests at heart. Full stop. I have therefore decided, as a means of public service, to list the top 5 friends that every woman should have by the time she turns 40. If you don’t have these friends, then I urge you to go out and make them. No excuses. Girlfriends rule.
- The Has Known You Forever Friend
I have a few of these friends. These are the girls that I met during the early days of university. These are the girls who have seen me through every major break-up, every career milestone, marriage, motherhood and all the heavy stuff that comes along with becoming a responsible adult. These are the girls who know the stories behind every nickname and every scar. They were probably there. I grew up with these girls, we have a history. These are the girls who remind me that behind the serious, responsible wife and mother I am now, is a girl who used to do some really cool stuff. These are the girls who remind me that I was my own impressive person before I had children. These are the girls who when I told them I was thinking of going back to work full-time, they said hell yes lady. You can do this!
- The Tell It Like It Is Friend
You know the friend I’m talking about. This is the friend who can tell you that the outfit you’re wearing is grounds for What Not To Wear nomination. This is the friend who listens to you complain about the argument you had with your husband/mother/sister and then knows how to tell you that you’re actually in the wrong. She knows how to tell you these things, because she says them kindly and with love. She says them because these are the things you need to hear sometimes. We all need these friends even though they can be super annoying.
- The Sister (Brother) Friend
I remember as a child my mother telling my siblings and me that we should be kind to one another because we would grow up to be best friends. I remember rolling my eyes and thinking she was so off-base. How could I be friends with a little sister who followed me around and constantly argued with me? My little brother was cute, but he was a baby. I was already away at university when he started high school. As much as it pains me to say, my mother was right. I speak to my sister almost every day. My brother and I text often – the introvert’s preferred method of communication. We’re all married and have children of our own. It’s impossible not to be friends when we share a common upbringing and a pretty specific sense of humour. No one else is going to understand your family’s unique crazy like a sibling. No one else is going to love my children like my siblings do. Also, no one else is going to have my back the way my brother and sister do.
- The Mom Friend
Raising children is hard; rewarding, but hard. There have been days where the only thing that has saved me from crying into my ice cream has been the support of other moms. Other moms have been where you are. Other moms understand that it’s perfectly normal to feel frustration, joy and sleep deprivation all at once. You can’t be friends with every mom you meet, but I’ve been lucky to meet a few great ones that I now consider my close friends. Other moms are also great resources. They are usually more than happy to share information. Except when it comes to good babysitters, they usually keep that information to themselves.
- The Work Friend
I know that it’s been a few years since I’ve held a full-time job. However, no matter where I’ve worked, I’ve always maintained at least one friendship that has endured even if the job has not. My husband and I were set up on a blind date by a former co-worker of mine. When you spend at least 8 hours a day with people you’re bound to bond over your common experiences. Obviously this can’t always be the case. I know of people who like to keep their private lives and professional lives separate. I agree with that to a certain extent. However, life is short and you spend a good chunk of it at work. Be nice and friendly. Otherwise that can make for pretty awkward lunches.
There you have it; my top 5 friend list. As a final word I think it’s only fitting that I include a shout-out to the people who inspired my list. You know who you are. I am proud to call you my friends.