I’m lying on a beach sipping rose’. Lake Michigan is sparkling. The sun reminds me of a warm soft blanket on my bare skin. I am still on a high from my kayak trip yesterday where the land to my right seemed to open up like a curtain for the Mackinac Bridge -perfectly framed by its surrounding land mass.
The sun is hot. But I feel myself smile without really meaning too. My current company is a breath of fresh air.
I’m with four amazing women. One of them I’ve known since middle school.But to be honest – neither of us could have guessed we would be sharing this moment. The five of us did not pick each other. Some of us have hung out several times but never all together like this. I notice that we are all laughing – real laughs. Deep gut laughs. I think to myself that THIS is a pretty cool thing to be a part of. All Together Now.
In many ways we are nothing alike. Three of us are married. Two are not. Two have two children each. Three of us do not have any. Our worlds are miles apart (most of us literally – all of us figuratively). We remind me a little bit of an exotic bouquet of flowers. The carefully groomed entertwining with the wildflowers. All of us from completely different environments built to survive – PROVEN to thrive – in very different types of storms and ecosystems. We are individually strong and impressive. In ways the others simply do not understand and cannot relate to.
Yet somehow we work well together. We are fitting together quite naturally. It is a very surprising and beautiful thing.
This is the first time all of us ladies have been here like this though. One of the ladies grew up with these guys but even she is suprised that we are all together like this right now. And really this trip has little to nothing to do with us. This trip is about a group of boys who found themselves becoming men. They choose – intentionally and on a regular basis -to stay friends.
A reocurring topic of conversation for us ladies is the level of annoyingness and simultaneous sweetness that comes with the constant buzzing of our mens’ phone because of their group text. Sports Talk. Drunk Talk. Girl advice. Politics. Friday selfies. And of course random inappropriateness. Its all in there. It keeps them close. Every day. It never stops. It’s EXHAUSTING.
But we are curious. We hate it. We love it. We know its good for them. We are also kind of jealous. Its actually kind of cute and great. The whole thing is actually kind of awesome. Damnit. We all admit it though.
Speaking of the guys, they bocce-balled down the giant hill and found their way to the beach from our current home. Which by the way is a 24 person bunkhouse at the back of a campground.
Its hard to make too much fun of them though. These guys have been friends for as long as they can remember. This is their 10th anniversary of an annual camping trip that started right after high school. They keep moving on with their lives – but they always remember to make time to come back together. It is a gentle and admirable aspect of their otherwise goofy and quirky friendships.
After about 7 hours the sun feels more like a stove my nose got too close to than a nice warm blanket. The sun will be going down soon and we could all use some food. Plus – that rose’ is gone and so are the jello shots. (NOTE for the record: I’m not talking college level jello shots here. I’m talking about deluxe, over-the-top delicious, jello shot recipes. After all – we are adults now right!? But jello shots are still awesome.)
We go back to the campsite. There is some well needed food.
Some showers. Some relaxing. And the night goes on. There is a lot of great conversation. A lot of old friends catching up on their friending. A lot of new friends becoming better friends. Couples coupling. Taste reminders of booze. A giant projector set up for the big Mayweather and McGregor fight. That of course draws in all sorts of “friends” from other campsites/bunks – including the DNR who makes us turn down the volume even though most of the campground is congregating around to watch.
To be honest though, I didn’t care about the fight. But I do love what’s happening around me.
Which brings me to my point.
I started this #Mess:30 Time idea a month ago and almost quit it today. My Summer has been absolutely insane since I first decided to start a new writing endeavor. Before this camping trip I just described, Chad and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, before that I was “theater summer camp mom” for a few weeks (which by the way – was totally worth it), before that we had a wedding in a different state, and before that we had a wedding in a different town and a baby shower for one of my very best friends!
Not to MENTION that work has been absolutely annoying and outrageous on an daily basis.
You get the point. So back to mine.
My life is BUSY (but I shouldn’t be complaining because everything I’m doing is a blessing).
All I wanted to do today was relax and write. But when I looked at the #Mess:30 post, I felt like a failure. I joked in the post about it being a couple times a week. But that first post was A MONTH AGO.
So when I sat down to write tonight, I was planning to cancel the #Mess:30 challenge. Start a new one. Do something different. Or just avoid my blog in general for a while (or forever) so nobody would be disappointed in me. I was so annoyed.
But then I just started writing. And didn’t think about what I was writing at all.
And what came out was the simple story above about appreciating and falling in love with my husbands friends and the beautiful women they adore. And as I started to read what was pouring out in my writing, I realized something…..
This could have been a fucking disaster of a mess. Like really truly messy. What if I couldn’t stand my husbands’ best friends? What if this “bouquet of different flowers” I just described couldn’t stand to be in the same vase with each other a few times a year? What if all of our very species just killed each other?
The fact that I genuinely and truly adore all of these people is a gigantic blessing. The fact that they are open and accepting of me – with all of my many quirks and flaws – is a gigantic blessing.
And so I re-read #Mess:30 Time with a new perspective and and realized 2 really awesome things:
- My opening line of that post was from the first time that I went on this annual camping trip with Chad and his friends. It was a very different stage of life but that silly Time conversation was one of my first bonding experiences with Chad’s friends. Weird coincidence. Or is it….?? 🙂
- As I read through my own definition of Mess:00 and Mess:30 I realized that I am living an actual Mess:30 moment right now. Case and point:
- I’m 31 (aka post Mess:00 of turning 30 because that sucked).
- I’m exactly 2 years into marriage (aka post Mess:00 of “OMG I just got married-ness” which was a little – ok a lot – scary and mind-boggling for my relationship-based but (sometimes overcompensating) independent self to accept).
- The reason we haven’t camped all together like this since Chad and my first year of dating is because people got married! So for the guys – annual camping trips became bachelor parties. Life, circumstances, and relationships changed drastically for all of us in the last 5 years. This was a Mess:30 moment for all of us.
And I think we did pretty good. There have been imperfect moments. Awkward moments. History we don’t know how to face. Clashing of personalities and lifestyles. But what we would expect, right?
And we’ve also ALREADY been there for each other in some ways. Which is kind of incredible. And I think that can continue. I actually think it can grow.
Basically what I’m saying is I trust this group of people. Whatever we may look like and function like in the future, I think it is the kind of group that can get through all bullshit (aka messes). We can expect it. We can prepare for it. But we can also see past the messy unknown our futures might throw at us (and between us).
I could be wrong – I mean who really knows. But I feel blessed. And I feel optimisitc.
That can’t be such a bad sign right?
We are in this life All Together Now.
~Be Gentle. Be Beautiful. Embrace the Mess.
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