My mom texted me the other night inviting me to the Ritz in Marina Del Rey (*insert Kristen Wiig’s voice here*) to grab a drink with a girlfriend who happened to be attending a conference at the hotel. It was Tuesday night, I had no plans and had been working my ass off relentlessly – why wouldn’t I go? To the Ritz!
It was 6:30pm – sent my last email and shot mom a text: “Yo ma – who’s all going to be there? Leaving work. See you soon!”
She responded: “Remember the friend we had a party for on Saturday night? Same person – she was in your hood at a conference today and we thought it would be fun to see her on her last night in town.”
My mom and her friends live in Long Beach – approx. 45 mins from the Marina. My first thought was – Wow, that’s pretty cool. They just got together a few days ago and are willing to drive at least an hour north to see their friend again. My next thought was – I’m super down to hang with some ladies who appreciate each other. And lastly I thought – I feel like I am going to witness something special.
I parked across the street from the hotel and ran through the intersection – almost got nailed by a car or two, but hey, I live for that shit. Some of you might ask why I didn’t valet and avoid killing myself? And my answer is: why waste $20 on valet when I can buy wine instead? There are always options all around us, right? Always save your money for wine ☺ Anywho – eff the valet.
I entered the lobby and walked towards the patio where I saw an animated group of ladies bouncing around in their seats. It was my mom and her crew. This is going to be fun.
I introduced myself by hugging all the ladies, ordered my drink and started observing my surroundings (that’s what I do – study the dynamics of relationships because I am a weirdo, infatuated by the way people function).
The conversation died down and I decided it was my time to engage: “So guys, what’s the special occasion? What brings you up here?” My mom chimes in: “Bev was attending a life coaching conference. She used to live in Long Beach but now lives in Miami. Shae – you should hear alllllll about it! It sounds right up your alley!” Love you mom. Also side note – becoming a life coach, or just helping people on a bigger scale really, is my dream.
“Bev,” I inquired, “You’re a life coach? That’s awesome (I meant it). What got you into that profession?”
She responded: “Well, I used to be a tennis coach – that’s how I got to know all of these women. I was really good at helping people become better at a sport and wanted to apply the same skillset towards helping people with their lives.”
“Was it hard to switch your career path at the point that you did in your life?” I asked.
Bev: “Not really. Our journey never really ends. We are always trying to improve. Instead of helping people in tennis, I decided to help people in life.”
I dig it.
She continued: “In this profession, I have to understand my niche and who my audience is – mine is the mid-life, yours are the millennials. We are different and the same. Regardless of generations, we all are seeking help in some capacity. I’m trying to help the designer turned empty nester to start designing again – because that is her gift and what gives her purpose. She could probably turn her talents into her own company if she wanted to! You all can! With purpose comes happiness. Sometimes we forget the greatness that lies within us and we need to be reminded. If people are coming to me to remind them – I am happy to do it. If people are seeking guidance – my work is validated.”
I looked around and noticed my mom + her friends nodding in agreement – no wonder why these ladies drove 45 minutes north to see their friend before she left.
“You should think about empowering your peers if you feel like you have a voice to do so. We all want to be heard by someone. I think all of us here can relate to that and that is why we’ve been friends for so long and can give that to each other.”
The women nod again.
I sat for hours listening to these mothers, soon-to-be mother in laws, grandmas (sorry!) aka very accomplished women whom I thought, from a daughter’s perspective, have the entire world figured out talk about their struggles and insecurities, and I realized their issues were no different than mine. One of the friends expressed how she felt like it’d been so long since anyone had given her attention when she walked into a room; a void she never felt in her younger years. I also worry that I won’t be noticed when I walk into a room or people will dismiss me. It gave me perspective that no matter where you’re at, you’re always trying to be somewhere else (developmental wise) or wishing for a life that once was; it’s a perpetual cycle that really has no end but you find meaning every step of the way for the better.
Let me try to bring this story together full circle because I often think of 23891810 different things a minute… I forgot to include the context of my state before my mom texted me earlier that Tuesday night. All day I found myself questioning my life per usual – working but wondering what was next and what have I become; who will I be and I am I in the right place? Feeling like everyone in the world has it all figured out and feeling like I’m unsure of friggin life in general, but pretending like I know everything. (I think this is called surviving… or living… one or the other, maybe both)…
I didn’t know what to expect when I met up with my mom and her friends, but the time spent with them helped me. What are the odds that I’d meet a mid-life woman on her way to being a life coach – providing insight to her peers but also hitting home to my entire existence? Could this be me? I felt like I was looking into my future. What are the odds that I’d meet a group of women who shared my struggles, despite their age? I learned that we are all the same. They are an extension of me. I am a part of them. Their problems are my problems and the struggle is real for everyone.
Do not let the weight of the world drag you down. If it does, call your mom and ask her to coordinate some drinks with her friends to help you. Trust me, it’s special.
Post is over – thanks for your 3 mins or however long it took to read (I appreciate it!)
In case you wanted to read more, here’s a few lessons I jotted down when I got home that night… I didn’t think it fit in the above but wanted to share:
1) Appreciate the friends that are willing to drive an hour to see you because they love you. Recognize the effort. Recognize all efforts!
2) Everyone has problems – they never go away. You’d be surprised how many problems you have are exactly the same as the stranger you saw on the corner this morning, or the barista who made your coffee this am, … or your boss.
3) If you feel passionate about changing your life in order to live your purpose – please don’t neglect your vision. Procrastinating drives misery and you’ll be stuck until you decide to unstick yourself. (I’m constantly dealing w this – who isn’t!)
4) It’s never too late for anything. (Except expired meat)
5) Listening goes a long way. Everyone wants to be heard – few are able to listen. Learn from everyone.
6) Empathy is the root of emotional intelligence. Try to give a fuck once in a while because you’ll be a better person for it.
7) Have drinks with older women.
8) Have drinks with anyone (except pedophiles or creepy men).
9) The world is not against you. Make the world work for you.
10) Stop whining.
11) Wake up in the morning and keep going. You’ll never find what you’re looking for if you stop.
12) Use your voice to help people. Especially if you feel like it’s your gift.
*If you have any thoughts you’d like to share here or questions to ask – feel free to email me at shaelenb at g mail dot com