I arrived at the annual writing retreat and texted the group, already settled in, to confirm I was at the correct house. Within minutes, several of them stepped out the door into the snow. One recoated the sidewalk with salt to prevent falls. A couple grabbed some of my things to carry inside. One took me on a tour so I could see everyone’s rooms and the layout of the house, and I could choose in which of the remaining rooms to settle. I was a day behind schedule because of weather and work, so I wasn’t settled in long when we joined each other for dinner and our first evening meeting, sharing our goals for the week.
We write our goals on large sticky notes, then hang them around the main living room walls to keep updated and motivated and to encourage each other with accountability. The familiar sound of the markers on the paper made me smile. We’ve done this ten years in a row. Despite missing a couple years, the retreat feels normal, regular, comforting. Being around these women feels reassuring and inspiring. The time apart seems short and insignificant yet far too long. I value and appreciate them.
We didn’t instantly have the rapport we have now. We had a shared interest. But years together, with intentional effort and authenticity, has provided a space where we can share, struggle, fail, heal, and progress.
If you want some 10-year friends, you’ll need to start today. You might have some false starts and some disappointments along the way, but if you stay engaged with others on a regular basis and let them see you as you invest in each other, 10 years will go by more quickly than you imagine.