Sunday, June 1, 2008

Friends and Good Health

Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive. ~ Anäis Nin

All good things must come to an end. Isn't that what they say? My 15-week beginning quilting series is over. (sniff!)

Pictured above are my classmates and teacher (and literally, the teacher's pet: Zoey, the quilt shop dog.) Eileen (our instructor) is seated, holding the flowers we gave her on the last night of class. Standing behind her, left to right, are Carole, me, Sue and Heidi. We really bonded through this class, sharing family stories and tales of sewing woes. I think it's what women do best: talking, sharing, and providing a nurturing environment by really hearing what other women have to say. I don't believe we ever discussed anything earth-shattering during our time together. But I know that I always walked away from those weekly lessons feeling a bit more cared for and certainly more connected.

I was also usually exhausted from all we had learned about quilting in one evening!

I found an interesting article online called The Healing Power of Female Friendships, by Kathy English. Here's a small excerpt:

Actually, our girlfriends may play a far greater role in our lives than even the glam gals from Sex and the City -- today's poster girls for female friendships -- might imagine. New studies on women and stress provide strong evidence that those long gabfests with your girlfriends are vital to your health and may well help prolong your life. In June 2001, the renowned Harvard Medical School's Nurses' Health Study concluded that women's social networks play an important role in enhancing our health and quality of life. The study went so far as to conclude that not having at least one good confidante is as detrimental to a woman's health as being overweight or a heavy smoker [emphasis is mine].

Wow! I think that's a pretty powerful incentive for us to make sure we allow time for other women. We spend so much of each day working, caring for our children or grandchildren, keeping our houses clean and our partners fed, running errands, etc., etc. It's easy to put our female friendships on the back burner. After all, our friends are just as busy as we are, so who better to understand when we need to cancel a lunch get-together or a movie date?

But if we truly want to live a healthy life, we simply must make time to spend with our friends.

My oldest and dearest friends (including my sister and a cousin) are scattered around the globe: Boston, Georgia, Salt Lake, Idaho, and even Japan. The closest one is over 800 miles away. We keep in contact via emails, letters and phone calls, but I miss each one of them dearly. So having the opportunity to spend time with other women locally through classes, volunteer work or my weight support group is vital for my health, both emotionally and physically.

The same is true for you, don't you think?

I'm hoping that I'll see my quilting buddies again soon. We may take more classes together, and Carole is planning a barbecue for sometime in July. But even if our paths never cross again, my spirit has been fed by these wonderful gals. That's just what we women do for each other!

Until next time...


Anonymous said...

Thank you Patie for the kind comments about our class. We all signed up to learn about quilting and left belonging to the sisterhood of quilters! I look foward to continuing our journey into the world of the quilt.

Kathy said...

Pattie...I'm sure you are so much fun that being your friend would be a great pleasure. I love being around people with positive attitudes!

The Indianapolis Star ran a feature probably 30 years ago in their Sunday edition where they featured a different quilt square each week and I was able to keep up with doing 1 square per week to make my first and only quilt.

Susie said...

Hi Pattie,
Lovely post on the value of friendship in our lives. I agree completely with what you've written here.
It sounds as though you truly know what's important to keep good friendships nourished and new.

RunningNan said...

I think it would be great if you all took another class together! intermediate, here you come!

Needled Mom said...

This was such a wonderful post, Pattie. Friends fill a slot in our lives that nothing else can do.

It was such fun to have lunch together today and to actually see all of the wonderful blocks that came out of the class - along with all the friends that you made while constructing them.

Have a great week.

Lora said...

I agree with you so much about the girlfriends. For a long time I neglected nurturing the relationships of my old pals from high school - but a few years ago we reconnected and it has been great. I feel young again - and whole!

jillytacy said...

I agree having other women to bond with and chat with is vital! When I first started to be a stay at home mom I really missed connecting with other women. I promptly joined a playgroup with my 11 week old baby and starting connecting and making friends in my community. I still look forward to opportunities to meet and connect with new people. Blogging works for that too but there's nothing like a day or night spent hanging out with the girls! I'm glad you made a connection with the ladies in your class. It is a vital part of health and wellbeing.

Kathy said...

Pattie...could it be we are at the same fork in the road? I've been doing this for 2 1/2 years and I'm in a rut! I wake up wondering if I should count points or go Core or just pretend I have no problem that needs addressing today at all! That's why I am in real need of defining what my immediate goal is and just what steps I need to take to get there. I need clarity!

Erin said...

awww, I'm so sorry your class is over, but so glad you have met some great people.

Have a great week!

Cammy said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed your class so much! New friendships are so exciting!

dadivastreet said...

It's always good to learn something new, It's awesome to gain friends in the process!

Irish Mom said...

That sounds like so much fun!! I think when my kids are in school I'll take up quilting. Have a great week!!

Midlife Mom said...

Great post Pattie! I think my gal pals are one of the greatest support groups I have. We talk about everything under the sun, bemoan our weight gains and laugh like there was no tomorrow! Continue your quilting endeavors as the projects are endless! :o)

NanaKaren said...

Hi Pattie ~ This is my first visit to your blog and I'll be back! While visiting Needled Mom's blog, I came across your name.

I LOVE your positive attitude...that will take you far!