bff2015 was a year of life changes. I turned 50, got a divorce, watched my only child go off to the military, and left warm, sunny Arizona and moved back to my tiny home town in central Illinois. 

Oh, and I broke my nose and had a hysterectomy thrown in there somewhere, too.

Although it wasn’t exactly the easiest of years, I was happy to realize I could endure a heck of a lot more than I ever imagined. And believe it or not I still have my sanity…I think!

As I reflect back on my year of life-altering changes, I realize what an amazing group of close girlfriends I’m blessed to have, and how without their support and encouragement I very well may have lost my sanity.

I believe having a good core group of strong, open-minded, compassionate and smart girlfriends is what held me together. My girlfriends were right by my side with words of encouragement, truth and unconditional love.

They told me what I needed to hear, whether I liked it or not, and showed me that me being happy wasn’t me being selfish. They reminded me it was necessary to live a good, productive and satisfying life.

Women today feel the pressure to have it all, do it all and be it all. And not just to everyone else, but to ourselves, too. I’m amazed we’re still thought of in some aspects as the ‘weaker sex.’

Guard rail along the east sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. A permanent marker inscription reads "Best friends forever ♥".

The women I’m blessed to call my friends are anything but weak and have shown me the beauty in having strength, confidence, and how wise it is to take chances and following my heart.

Taking stock of the things, or in this case, of the people you have in your life when you feel you’re losing everything, even if it is by choice, was quite eye opening, and these experiences led me to realize that my girlfriends are by far my best asset!