Over the weekend, I had the honor and privilege of spending a Sunday afternoon with a group of women some of whom I had not connected with in over 38 years. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, and I was feeling happy and excited all at the same time. Who would be there? What if I didn’t recognize someone? What if I had inadvertently said something 38 years ago, I didn’t remember?
You might be wondering how we knew each other – a little background. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and, in High School, I joined a Jewish youth organization called B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO). The girls were divided into sorority like chapters of B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) and the boy’s fraternity like chapters called Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA). Every Sunday afternoon, we congregated for chapter meetings, sporting events and dances at the community center (or “the center”) in mid-town Atlanta. It was a special place and one that I believe had a huge impact on my life because it gave me a real sense of belonging. We were the class of 1981.
Entering the front door holding my potluck dish, I had no idea who would be in attendance. Instantly, I was greeted with warm hugs, big smiles and it felt so amazing! The food smelled delicious, there were scrapbooks of old pictures, some TAB soda on display, and the most amazing Bloody Mary Bar. The conversations just started to flow. Mostly 1:1 catching up and hearing about what life had transpired since we last saw each other. Surprisingly, most people still lived in Atlanta. A few traveled from Boston and New Jersey.
After we talked, ate and took some pictures, we gathered in a circle. One of the women set the stage – “tell us your name, about yourself/your family and what is your inspiration for the coming year”. (Oh boy. lots of pressure there… no worries, I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, so it gave me plenty of time to gather my thoughts.).
I was so intrigued by the honesty and authenticity of the discussion that took place. There was a comfort level with each other that I had not experienced in so very long. Was it because we experienced those form-able years together, because we simply have a unique bond or because we are all yearning for sisterhood again?
While I don’t have the answers, I can say that it was a very impressive group: social workers, leaders, managers, medical professionals, teachers, entrepreneurs, college counselors, jewelry designers, mom’s, caretakers, lawyers, wives, consultants, accountants, partners, real estate developers, recruiters, travel agents, and so much more. We shared details about our families, partnerships, marriages, children (and grandchildren), hobbies, interests and desires to experience life to the fullest going forward. Most of all we set the intention of seeing each other again and staying in touch.
It lasted around 4 hours and I was shocked when I got to my car and realized a big part of the day had passed. During the time, I must confess that I did check my phone a couple of times and took a bunch of pictures, but I was in no hurry to leave, get back to my day or even thought about what was else I should be doing. I was present, engaged and connected. It was glorious and I loved the feeling. So that is my inspiration for the coming year – be present, engaged and connected!
Thank you, my friends for your trust, honesty and shining lights.