Last week, one of my closest friends found herself going through a difficult time that left her emotionally drained. I wished I could teleport myself across the globe and be there in an instant to support her. We opted for checking in via text and What’s App instead. It was a great reminder that no matter where we may find ourselves, true friendship can withstand the test of distance.
Years ago, after the birth of our son, I was struggling in a new city, trying to figure out the balance between motherhood and climbing the professional ladder. Women who chose to focus solely on motherhood questioned why I would work. Women without children, able to focus solely on their careers, didn’t understand the balancing act that came with trying to do both. It was through no fault of anyone, it was simply their own experience. Hell, I had no clue about motherhood or balancing career and family until I had one of my own. I chose to be a mother and a career woman, navigating my way through both worlds. The constant juggling act left very little room to pursue a social life. It was simply the season we were in, but it was a tough one.
I remember crying one night, talking with my husband. I was lonely. I needed an outlet that allowed me to feel like me – not just someone’s wife, someone’s mother, or someone’s boss. Shortly after that conversation, I marched into the office of one of my coworkers – someone I respected and adored – who was also navigating her way through both motherhood and her career. We sat there, cutting through all the bullshit and put down our superhero capes, being honest about the struggles of trying to balance it all.
There was something in that conversation that reminded me of my best friend from college. The two of us could get to the heart of any issue within moments of talking with one another, never sugar-coating anything or worrying about choosing the right words. We were just honest. Sometimes brutally.
In that moment and during that conversation behind the closed office door, I realized that was where my own tribe started to take shape.
There were those that had traveled with me through all of life’s seasons and those I was finding then, at a new stage in life. There were others I had met along the way. The common thread was an understanding and acceptance, friendship based on true connection rather than expectation.
Whether it was a phone conversation from miles away, a lunch date where we solved all the world’s problems over a glass of wine, or a weekend trip away – little by little that night of crying to my husband about needing an outlet to feel like myself faded and morphed into a life filled with friends and relationships that allowed me to be exactly who I am.
When I was struggling in my own marriage and life had brought us to some low points, both personally and professionally, I found myself turning to my friends. It was then I realized that while my own strength had gotten me through many things in life, there was more strength in numbers. I realized it is okay to ask for help and to learn to lean on the people who love you.
I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be where I am today had it not been for the love, support, and encouragement of my friends.
Now, a world away from our old life, I have realized the value of finding my tribe and that while we may be geographically challenged, distance can’t hold a candle to true friendship. Real connection.
In a world riddled by divide, it seems even more important to find people who love and support you unconditionally, but who also realize that strength in numbers doesn’t only pertain to our individual lives and circumstances. Sometimes it is coming together to do good in this world. A great reminder as headlines made way across the globe.
This week, let’s all challenge ourselves to identify someone in our life who may benefit from inclusion, who may be looking for their own tribe, a place to call home. By reaching out and offering someone a sense of belonging, we all gain. We strengthen our tribes and our ability to create a world united by connection as opposed to divided by differences.
Here’s to a new week and cherishing the relationships in our lives that have helped shape us into the people we are today.