Hard to believe, but I was always anti-social. I am an introvert and I try to avoid social situations because I don’t quite know how to talk to people for the first time. Or, once that conversation has started, how to sustain it.
This is why I do not have many close friends from my youth. The few that I have from high school and college remain special (even though we rarely see each other) because they’re like family. We grew up together and we learned to accept each other for who we were. And no matter how much we’ve changed since then, they’ve accepted that that’s part of your evolution. They still love you no matter what you’ve become.
In fact, during a recent trip to Singapore with them, I realized that I was wrong for thinking that ours was a not-so-deep connection. It was there that I realized that they see the "me" hidden inside the “lost” girl I've always been. As I went through a very painful event in my life, they hugged me and cried with me. I realized, then (and even now as they express their support for me through my depression), that no matter how rarely we meet, their concern is genuine and unconditional.
|In the honors section all, nerdiness brought us together. We may|
have morphed into new beings but our shared history binds us.
In my midlife, though, with the added self-confidence and decreased self-consciousness, I have gradually made new, deep, meaningful friendships. It didn’t take a lot of effort, really. I was ripe for new connections that would help carry me through to the next stage of my life.
Surprisingly, I found out how the friendships I developed in my midyears could actually be the anchors that will keep me grounded and sane. Maybe it’s because I am already formed. I know who I am now. I am comfortable in my skin and am not ashamed to be me. I have come to a point where I pride myself in knowing that I am a good, loyal, honest, supportive, loving friend. And if these new characters in my life don’t appreciate who I am right now, I can move on without the pain of rejection.
Luckily, I now have friends who accept me as I am. Flaws and all. History and all. Scars, deficiencies, quirks and all. I am not perfect. And they have willingly expressed that they themselves aren’t. We are all just people trying to make the most out of our lives. We want to be happy and have the unconditional support of sisters to help us get through whatever challenges we are going through. Funny how I found that support from my Seoul Sisters.
|Initially, I hung out with them for laughs and beauty advice.|
Nowadays, I don't need a reason to. A month without seeing
them is just not complete.
They were my high school schoolmates but we were never close. I was always nerdy, in the honors section, and I was never their classmate. So I rarely spoke to them. After knowing them better in my 40s though, I’d like to say that we’ve more than made up for lost time. I often run to them for ears- about my passions, my weaknesses and my insanity. Who would have known that the women I once thought of as “landi” (flirtatious) would be my major support system? They might have influenced me somewhat on the “landi” front, but if only to assure me that I am beautiful and I should not be ashamed to flaunt it.
Then, thanks to my indoor cycling classes, I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet women who inspire me in different ways. My dearest Ting is like my Ate- she is a role model, she inspires and guides me (she is also my favorite cycling teacher :) ) The rest of my spin sisters come from a wide range of ages, one as young as 38 and then there’s me at 46 (!). We are in this circle to share different perspectives, different experiences, different passions but one motivation- to be there for each other when needed. Who would have thought? Me? Friends with my exercise classmates? Unheard of in my 4 decades, but real now. And worth cherishing for as long as I live.
|Whether we hang out over Happy Hour or in cycling class,|
seeing these girls always lifts me up! (missing Donna and
46 years old. And only now am I planning nights-out, sleepovers and out-of-town trips with my girls. I feel like a teenager again! Secure in ourselves, we are not afraid to show each other who we really are. We are secure in each other’s love. I am grateful.
For so many years, I kept my guard up with other people. I was cautious of making friends for fear of being judged. Not anymore. I love and feel their love because I, myself, no longer have those judgmental cobwebs in my head. I am ready to trust and am willing to be vulnerable and lean on them for support. No matter how late in my life. ESPECIALLY THIS LATE IN MY LIFE!
|No more solitary emoting! In my 40s, I realized|
that I didn't have to carry it all alone.
I have friends!!!
Like I always say, “labia” girls. I’m looking forward to growing old with you!