The morning meeting was rough. 174 page report to discuss with various stakeholders in three different countries. Next door a construction site’s loud pecking noises adding to the stress and making the conference call inaudible. I drank too much black coffee on an empty stomach; hoping to gain alertness instead I become more aware of the breakfast had I missed.
1:13 pm after the meeting and on my way to lunch, I entered the lift and there she was standing all by herself, Susan — my gal friend. We hugged like long-lost sojourners that never thought would see each other again. We made happy noises in the lobby on alighting from the lift, attracting a few curious looks. We chatted a bit and promised to have lunch together the following Sunday. Meeting her had lifted my spirits.
I am a gal’s gal. If I was a man I would be referred to a man’s man. I enjoy time with The Gals. I plan on it, look forward to it, save money for it, shop for it and sometimes bake for it. They add flavour to my life. They convey colour and an array of gifts that feel like a spectacular sunrise and sometimes a glorious sunset — bringing in the light and making peace with the dark.
If I were to categorize them further this is how I would do it:
Just the Gals: The women who keep my x-files to themselves and laugh at them over food and drinks. We met as adults and formed a special bond. We meet regularly to catch up on our rainbow lives and careers. If I would choose one word to describe them it would be: Loyalty. A colour to describe them: Emerald Green
Gal’s night In: These women’s friendship transcends time; 30 year old relationships from high school. We bear witness to each others lives; up mountains, in the plains or down the valleys. We meet indoors every other couple of months, on a Friday evening. Eat yummy desserts with tea or wine, in warm pajama like clothes and tell our stories — a safe place, no judgement, no topic is off-limits. If I would choose one word to describe these gals it would be: Resilience. A colour to describe them: Blue Sapphire
Chama Gals: Diversity, experience, increase, business and social, are what these women are about. We have been investing together for about ten years. Made some, lost some and decided it is not just about business it is also personal. We meet on special occasions to celebrate; babies, kid’s graduation, and so on and also to offer comfort when a loved one passes away. We communicate often and keep tabs on one another. If I would choose one word to describe these gals it would be: Expansion. A colour to describe them: Silver
Gym Gals: These women inspire ones well-being, in and out. I meet them frequently, sometimes daily. The locker room stories are of various assortments, however we keep them brief and to the point. In this space there is no room for shyness. I am devoted to them for their positive affirmations and encouragement. If I would choose one word to describe these gals it would be: Confidence. A colour to describe them: Royal Purple
Gals on a Mission: Whenever I am involved on a community activity, these gals are there too, on their own volition. Be it a charity event or women’s seminar. Our bond is our commitment to service. One engagement we make annually involves a three month prepping period for a concert in aid of Cancer patients. We share moments in time that are unforgettable. If I would choose one word to describe these gals it would be: Service. A colour to describe them: Warm Orange
Gal Cousins: These ladies keep my x-files of another kind; they know me from a time when my mum called me Polly. They stitched my names on my school uniform when I went to boarding school. They set the pace for my life’s markers; academics, religion, adulthood and global outlook. They set a high bar, however it is our love and friendship that binds us with a forever bond. If I would choose one word to describe these gals it would be: Inspiration. A colour to describe them: Sunny Yellow
My Mum & Sister: They are my foundation, core and heart. Our love for each other is true and unconditional. Our best hangout is shopping. Penny wise mum makes and packs the sandwiches and sis maps out the locations. I bring good cheer and enthusiasm — serious business. On shopping days we are out from mid morning till late evening. At the end of the day we may have bags of shopping or none at all because it is about so much more. It is about the company, the honest conversations, the sharing, and the catching up, the checking in, the laughter. If I would choose one word to describe these two it would be: Anchor. A colour to describe them: Ruby Red
A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill emotional gaps, and help us remember who we really are. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. The study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.
The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends’ women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight.
And that’s not all. When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate. ~ Excerpts from UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women.
Study or no study, I eagerly await my lunch date with Susan. Sun-dress and cute sandals… tick,venue located… tick, calendar slot blocked… ticked.