Last November, I took my first "real" girls' trip since having kids. Sure I'd gone on a few weekend getaways, but the destinations were always within a two to three-hour drive. This time, my friend announced that for her 40th birthday, she'd be planning something bigger and more fun! After a few hundred group texts were exchanged—including destination ideas, movie clips from Bridesmaids and messages taunting those who were on the fence, it was game on. We were heading to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun.
Why are vacations with the girls better after 40?
You're not as tired.
If you have kids, by the time you're 40 there's a good chance they are finally sleeping through the night, which means you are, too. When you have little ones, your dream vacation is more likely to be a night alone wearing ear plugs at the local Best Western.
You're good with just chilling.
I'll never forget my honeymoon in Jamaica. All I wanted to do was sit on the beach and read, and my husband was literally bored to tears. "Are you seriously OK with just SITTING there? Like ALL DAY?!" he asked. It was then and there that I knew that if I ever wanted a relaxing vacation in the next 50 years, it would have to be with someone else. Otherwise, I was destined to vacations of doing shots with the locals and cliff jumping.
You're comfortable in your own skin.
Like I've said before in my 364 Days of 40 blog, when you turn 40 something magical happens and you don't care as much about the stuff you used to. You've come to accept you'll never have a perfect body and you choose to honor what you do like about it. And if you can't let it all hang out with a group of women that you love and trust, then when can you? For our trip, we made it a rule that everyone had to bring at least one swimsuit they wouldn't normally wear. It felt like we were back in high school ... swapping tops, offering advice for what looked best and dishing out compliments. It felt fun and liberating!
Speaking of letting it all hang out, when you spend more than four days with a group of women, you inevitably get talking about some pretty deep shit: your childhood, your relationships, what you fear most about for your kids, your career aspirations and your hopes for the future. At a time in our lives when many of us are consumed with taking care of everyone else, you are reminded that you do have a voice, you still snort when you laugh hard and people are actually interested in what you have to say.
You deserve it.
I saved the best for last. Hear me out, ladies! Unless you're sitting somewhere with no job, no kids and zero responsibilities, you are worthy of a break—a break from your whiney kids, the stress of meeting deadlines at work or the needs of a demanding parent. It's way too easy to come up with excuses why not to do it: busy schedules, finances, work demands. But when you take the time to let go of your daily routine, let loose and have a little fun, you recharge. You return home to kids who are more self-sufficient than you gave them credit for, a spouse who appreciates you even more, and a fresh perspective on your life and how much you have to be grateful for.
And perhaps most important, you're reminded that a life without girlfriends would just plain suck and it's never too soon to start planning your next getaway.
Feeling inspired to plan a vacation with your friends? In the next couple of weeks I'll share some destination ideas and planning tips. In the meantime, text the girls and get a date on the calendar!
Written by Jill Carroll, marketing manager at Serendipity Media, LLC. She is an avid supporter of the girls' trip, and sees many more in her future!
Photo courtesy of Jill Carroll.