By Sunny Simon

    It’s January and I’m on my annual epic purging and organizing mission. In my quest to clear up clutter crowding my closets, I came across a little brown book containing sincere heartfelt writings of The Sisterhood of Traveling Hearts. Who are those sisters? A diverse group of friends who developed a deep bond during early morning hikes here in the Coachella Valley. We gave ourselves the name and the assignment of writing about what being together meant to us on an individual level.

     Regarding my personal contribution, I did not write about how immensely difficult it was to keep up with these strong vibrant women. (Yeah, leave it to me as a hiking novice to join a group of serious athletes.) In fact, I still have the book Cathy gave each of us deeming it required reading, “Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond.” I smile remembering being so wiped out from hiking I could barely turn the pages.

     Getting back to our written words, there is a common theme. Most pages contained the phrase “life changing,” and reference the fact we each hold a special place in our hearts for our fellow sisters.


     Well, advance the clock eight years to 2019. Since our hiking days, life events occurred and the group no longer hikes together, or has many get-togethers, but I can assure you the deep bond remains. And even if it didn’t, the time spent together sharing our triumphs and sorrows was truly “life changing.” 

     Yes, I’m am taking a long time getting to the life lesson of this article, but you might have guessed, it’s about the importance of forming friendships. It’s no secret that friends increase your sense of wellbeing and purpose. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, friends play a significant role in your overall health. (Especially the Cathy’s of the world.) But developing and maintaining friendships takes focus. If you’re new to the area, it takes some effort to find you’re tribe. You know, those people who care about and really “get you.”

     So, if you’re looking for a groups to gather with, whether is over coffee, book clubs or fitness events, be present. Reach out and join groups, attend community events and volunteer.  Indulge in new interests, like art, drama and Zumba classes. Join a church or synagogue. Make yourself available and be ready to open up and share your life. Time spent with friends will make your 2019 one of your best years yet. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at

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