Welcome back to the Fall Bucket List Challenge!
We’re three weeks in, and hopefully you’ve been checking things off your bucket list and making memories with people you love.
If you haven’t joined yet, it’s not too late. Enter your info below to grab you free Fall Bucket List Guide, including the instructions for this week’s challenge!
This week, the Fall Bucket List Challenge focuses on something we can all use more of: spending time with our girlfriends. I’m going to be sharing a few easy tips with you on how to plan a fun, low key girls night. But first, I want to explain why this matters.
A Letter To My Best Friend
If you’re reading this… I have something to say to you.
I’m sorry I’ve taken it for granted that you’ll always be there.
I’m sorry I haven’t been a better friend to you.
I’m sorry I’ve gone months without calling.
I’m sorry I’ve been so wrapped up in my own comings and goings that I’ve forgotten to ask about yours.
I’m sorry I haven’t initiated more coffee dates or cocktail hours or spontaneous afternoons at the park.
I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you.
The funny thing about friends like you (true friends), is that you don’t require much. It doesn’t matter if I talked to you last night, last month, or last year. We’ll pick right up where we left off. We won’t skip a beat.
Kids and work and marriage… those things seem to require so much more of me. And so when it comes down to it and I’ve had to choose, I haven’t always chosen you. I’ve always known you’ll be there waiting just the same.
This season of life has been messy. Young children require so much, and free time for my personal needs has felt like such a luxury. As those years start to stack up behind me, I realize that I should have tried harder.
I should have met you for a gym date and checked my guilt (and the toddlers) at the childcare door. I should have showed up at your door with coffee and muffins the day you moved into your new home. I should have committed to a weekly phone call at the very least, just to see how you were doing. I’m sure, like me, you were wrapped up in your own struggles and triumphs. I’m also sure, like me, you could have used a friend to talk to.
I sometimes hear about friends who drop into each others’ kitchens often and unannounced just to hang out. Although I’m not sure if that is realistic for me to have at this stage of my life, I must admit that I feel envious of people who have those kind of relationships.
When we get together it always fills my bucket. I always walk away saying “I need more of that in my life.” And then another month passes. Sometimes two.
I’m sorry for that. And I just wanted you to know.
On this year’s goal page I wrote “Cultivate Your Friendships”. Although I built some new friendships this year (for which I am extremely grateful), I did not make as much headway as I had hoped in terms of strengthening the ones I already have. In fact, I may have regressed.
Sometimes I wonder if this shortcoming is just a part of my personality type: somewhat detached, highly internal, introverted. Maybe I’m just not wired to experience friendship the way others are? But then when I back up and look at it more objectively I think that this is probably more of a fact of modern motherhood.
I’ve read articles espousing the idea that we are no longer a part of the “village”; we are instead raising our young in relative isolation. I can’t help but think that this impacts our friendships as well. Instead of reaching out to each other, we think that we should be able to do it alone. So we do.
But here’s the thing. I need you. I need to hear that my children aren’t the only ones who do strange things. I need to hear about that article you read on Facebook explaining why my kid still needs to be in a booster seat. I need to hear about that embarrassing thing that happened to you. And I need to tell you about my days too. Because it reassures me that I am not alone. I have an ally. I have you.
I know it can be hard to leave our families to focus on ourselves. I still feel guilty when I leave my family for a few hours to spend time together. I have zero idea why this is true (and I’m working on it), but I know that the self imposed guilt is not a good enough reason to stay home anymore. I need that opportunity to connect, and so do you. Our friendships are one of the most important gifts we’ve been given, and it’s time to give them the attention they deserve.
I’m busy, you’re busy. We’re all busy. But not too busy for each other.
I’d like to think that years from now, when our kids are grown and we have a little more time on our hands, we’ll be more apt to schedule time together. We’ll meet for birthdays and take girls’ trips like we always have (just with more frequency), But I know enough to realize that that isn’t a given. It’s not a promise. We may have another 50 years together. But we may not.
I want to love you and share my life with you and support you NOW.
So do me a favor. If you drive by my house and see my car out front, will you stop by? If there’s a movie that you know no one else would want to watch… will you meet me for a late night showing? I don’t always stop to make a connection, but I need you in my life. And I want to be there for you when you need me too. If you’re sad… call me. If you’re happy… call me. Just call me! I promise to be better about calling you too.
I’m so grateful for you.
If, like me, you want to spend more time cultivating your friendships, the week 3 Fall Bucket List Challenge is for you.
Here is this week’s Fall Bucket List Challenge: Plan a Girls’ Night
Nail down a date
This is usually the hardest part of the exercise. With my group of friends, someone usually throws out a couple of dates through a group text, and we have some back and forth conversations until we land on a date that will work for everyone. Advance planning is always good with busy schedules, but very short notice sometimes works surprisingly well.
Sometimes, especially going into this busy time of year, it can be hard to find a time that works for everyone. If someone can’t make it, one idea would be to schedule a 1-on-1 time that works for the two of you to get together later. Don’t let scheduling stop you from accomplishing this important goal.
Don’t have a large group of friends? That’s ok! Even choosing one friend to invite over for some focused, quality time is time well spent. In fact, you may choose to go this route even if you do have a larger group that you typically meet up with.
Pick a Theme
When you hear theme, you might think of elaborate decorations and too much work. But stick with me… that’s not what I’m talking about here. I find that choosing a loose theme for any get together is a way to make it feel special and purposeful. Some ideas might include:
- Sweatpants + Scary Movies
- Making Dinner Together
- Spa Night
- Caramel Apple Making
- Game Night
- Holiday Planning
None of these require much prep work, but setting a purpose for the night gives your guests something to be excited about and gives them an idea of what they can expect.
To get you started, I have included a blueprint for a fun and easy wine tasting girls’ night in the Fall Bucket List Challenge Guide.
Get some food
Don’t overthink this one. Get a veggie plate and some fruit at the grocery store. Make a small tray with meat, cheese and crackers. Buy some take and bake pizzas or a pot of soup and call it a day.
I’m the QUEEN of overthinking the menu and I want you to learn from my mistakes. Don’t overdo it. Your friends don’t care what’s on the table! They showed up to see you and spend time with you.
That being said… if you want the night to feel a little bit fancy with minimal effort, I created a short video about how I create an interesting visual presentation for simple food.
You can check out my 3 step process for building a tablescape by clicking the button below.
This last step is the key. Often when I entertain, I’m stuck in the kitchen working instead of enjoying my time with the guests. Don’t be like me… and especially don’t let this happen on girls’ night!
Set it all up before they arrive, then let it go. Pile the dishes in the sink while you talk and take the time to be a part of the party (not just a hostess). Focus on the quality of your conversations and enjoy the connection.
I know it seems like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. The beauty of doing something with true friends is that it’s ok if you all show up in your sweats having not showered all day. In fact, that should be encouraged, because it’s exactly the kind of real friendship that we need more of in our lives.
I hope that you’ll find time this week to make a plan to connect with a friend (or two or three).
Do the wine tasting if you can (it’s so fun!). If you hate wine or don’t drink or think it seems overboard… just call a girlfriend you haven’t talked to in awhile and make a plan to connect.
I’ll be doing the same. And we’ll all be happier for the effort.
Thanks for stopping by. Glad you’re here.
Did you see last week’s challenge to schedule ONE fun fall activity with your loved ones? Check out my list of !0 Fun Fall Activities in Colorado for some ideas to get you started.