I sat around the lunch table today with ten women from 24 years of age to 64 — single, married, separated, divorced — business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, artists — newly graduated, just engaged, new mother, empty nester, grandmother. Each of these women living intentionally — all a part of something bigger than themselves. It was exhilarating to be in their presence. We cried together, laughed together, shared our victories and what we were anticipating. Everyone walked away enriched — better for having been at lunch.

We even took a moment to talk about why we needed to be in the company of women. Our answers: trust, freedom to be fully ourselves, ease with emotion and rapid, radical change in emotion (yes, this made us all laugh too), community and deep understanding. Women need each other for deep connection, healing, accountability. It was a place to be true to ourselves and yet be challenged to become more.

The youngest at the table recently graduated from college, accepted a marriage proposal and took on a new job. In the middle of all that transition and the accompanying angst, she had been asking for wisdom. Finally, just that morning before lunch, she asked, “What does wisdom look like?” Looking every woman around the table in the eyes, she said, “It looks like this?”

Experience and diversity commingled is priceless. The knowledge that comes from a different set of struggles is pure wisdom. Exposure to people who are dissimilar from me brings fresh insight and understanding that I cannot get any other way. We came to lunch. We left with wisdom.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

In the New Year, find a table and fill it with wisdom. Wisdom looks like women of all ages, stages, stations, backgrounds, struggles, and realities who are willing to be transparent, desire to become more, and want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

May your table be filled with wisdom.