New Friends, Two Wineries, Great Day
As time goes by, I have come to appreciate the value of friends so deeply. In the midst of raising family and being immersed in career and the responsibilities of life, sometimes you just forget to come up for air. Most of my friends at that point in life were the other moms at school and in the neighborhood, and they were truly a lifeline.
As my husband and I have become empty nesters, many friends have either moved from the neighborhood or we have drifted apart as life circumstances have changed. I miss them. It’s easy to take many things for granted during the busy years, but now I have begun to be more aware of life passing by, and am taking stock. As we get older, I think we all fear becoming more isolated and lonely. I certainly do. Making new friends is so very important, I am considering it a priority, and arranging life accordingly. A few days ago, I believe I made some new ones.
Here’s how it happened. I belong to a networking group here in Richmond called Synapse.
There are 30+ Synapse “Hubs” around town, separate meeting groups that each support a non-profit organization. It is a great model that allows business people to network while supporting philanthropic endeavors. What a win-win. I love it and I have met some of the greatest people.
At one of the Synapse meetings I saw a familiar face, tried to place where we had met, and when we began talking, we realized our daughters had been in a youth theater organization together years ago. Monica Davis is a Realtor in the area, and we had a great time catching up. We decided to meet for happy hour. Then we were surprised to see each other in the same yoga class a few days later! At Synapse, Monica heard me speak about my love of writing for this blog (www.boomerconnections.com) and how we were always looking for an adventure. I mentioned to her that my husband had I had recently joined the Wine Club at Veritas Vineyard a fabulous winery in Charlottesville. It’s one of my favorites, and we soon decided we had to make the trip out there.
The plan was put in motion. Monica asked if it would be OK if she invited a small group of her friends who she felt sure I would connect with, and of course I was. New people! One of the ladies graciously agreed to be our designated driver, and we all piled into her SUV with a bag of roasted almonds for the road and no shortage of conversation among 5 women of similar age and interests.
Being the newcomer in a group of ladies–who are already friends–can be awkward. I admit I felt a little wary, because in my experience, women can be a bit tough on each other, sometimes even judgmental. The three women Monica invited were strangers to me, but not for long. Perhaps things are changing as we get older. Perhaps we are just easier, less competitive, more interested in connecting, in finding common ground. I would like to think so, and that is what I found this day.
Interestingly, each of Monica’s friends was born in other countries before settling in the US. Amy is from Taiwan, Ilse from Germany and Maria from Austria. All of us were conversationalists, all curious, all genuinely interested in what each had to share. What was especially engaging was that Monica had come prepared with a list of conversation starter questions. Using this list, we went around the group, all talking about our memories, our experiences, and our take on various issues. This was a great idea and one I am going to steal!
Some of the things we talked about: what was our most embarrassing moment, one major regret in life, what we learned about parenting and what we might have done differently, how we could be better wives, the one thing we loved most/least about our husbands. The conversation was great, it was fun, it was enlightening, I really got to know these ladies. By the end of the day I felt we were friends. We had so much fun, we went to a second winery, driving from Veritas to Flying Fox, a newer winery along the Virginia Wine Trail that has a great vibe.
We also went out to lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery with a beautiful view of, yes, blue mountains. We even were able to sit outside on the patio on this unusually mild, sun-drenched mid-November day.
Now that the “busy years” are mostly in the rear-view mirror, it feels important to me to expand my universe, to find commonality, to have good conversation. To drink wine. To go places. And how lucky we are in Central Virginia to have so many incredible choices of venue.
At moments like this, you can’t help but think that life is really, really good: new friends, wine tastings, good food, a day in the gorgeous Virginia countryside. https://www.virginia.org/winetrails/
Making new friends takes effort and it requires reaching out, which isn’t always easy, but the rewards are great. Here at Boomer Connections our goal is connecting, and I felt like I had truly connected.
Here’s to new friends!