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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Something Blue

Hello dear grilfriends. Another week gone by. Are we smarter? Are we more fulfilled? Are we fashionable and self actualized? Hell no.... and yet we rage on. Last month I celebrated 14 years with the boy know as Brackman and last week I caught myself watching my wedding video over again.

Make no mistake, I am not a sentimentalist. YES, I have a heart, but I prefer to use it to pump blood to my organs. I believe in being nice (when warranted) and telling people how you feel about them (you know who you are). But I would argue that "Mushy" is really not my colour.

So there I sat reviewing the ceremony and the reception and found myself second guessing my fashion choices. My wedding dress WAS a large meringue.It had a sweetheart neckline and a skirt that Scarlett Ohara would have killed for...(Think civil war in white satin- not my finest fashion moment)

I had nine- yes count them NINE bridesmaids all of whom could have easily fit underneath the very large poof of a skirt that was my wedding dress. Of my nine bridesmaids- I think I am still in touch with three of these women.

It got me to thinking about relationships and how we as girlfriends age. How many of us still speak to the girls we went to high school with? How many of our "Besties" can we still tolerate as the years go by?

Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable, perhaps I want my friendships, like my Louboutins.... to last forever. But I could not help but wonder how many of us cybersisters have albums full of friends gone by?

Furthermore, is this such a bad thing? We change our hairstyles (thank heavens) over the years, we change our addresses and our jobs. As our roles in life change would it not be safe to assume that our interests and our relationships should shift focus as well?

Surely I was not the only one who still had a relationship with only 30% of her wedding party 14 years later? (incidentally- if the other 70% are out there- no hard feelings... do give me a call!)

And so I searched the evidence to see what the numbers told me. How many cybersisters like me had friends gone by?

According to an article in the New York Times, 30% of women reported being friends with their bridesmaids twenty years after their wedding.

Make no mistake- I have been very fortunate in my life to count on the company of other women. I don't necessarily think that these friendships have to last a lifetime. Sometimes I am just fortunate for the time we've had together.

It's not a bad thing- it's a part of life.

It turns out that friendships really are a big part of life.

Researchers are only now starting to pay attention to the importance of friendship and social networks in overall health. A 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends.

A study published in Pain Journal in 2004 examined the relationship between social networks and pain threshold in 5234 adults between 62 and 80 years of age with osteoarthritis. The study showed that people who lacked close friends were twice as likely later in life to experience significant pain from their arthritis as those who had close friends.

Then there is the Nurses Health Study out of Harvard University. This is the mothership of all female research and a cohort of over 120,000 women ages 30-55. The study showed that women with close friendships were 20% less likely to develop cancer and mortality among widows with good friends was 30% less than among widows without good friends.

I could not help but wonder if this friendship effect was due to lifelong friends or perhaps could this be from friends one makes later in life?

Do I need to call up my locker partner from 1987 and take her to lunch in order to prevent my health from declining?

I know we have drifted apart over the years but I always thought this was a part of getting older. Habits change and interests drift. I never thought that letting my friendships lapse a little was as bad for my health as taking up smoking.

Yah. It's a little sad dear girlfriends but do not stress out.... ever the optimist, I figure the odds are still in my favour. After all, let's be real. I had NINE bridesmaids.... that by my estimation too many women for even the best of us to maintain. I'm still friends with three of them and as for one of them.... I'd give her my kidney if she needed it. That will have to be enough to let me live a little longer.

And so life goes on. Fashions can change and friends come and go. Even red soles will fade over time. All we can do is count our blessings and keep our shoes in their boxes. Love the ones around you and don't over accesorize. Yes, my cybersisters... the prophet has spoke. Now go forth and be fabulous.

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