“For the first time in my life, I didn’t have any friends.”
This was the opening sentence of a magazine article I read last week.
I could totally relate.
Having just moved to a new state, I literally, have no girlfriends here.
Not one. Nada. Zero.
When you’re pushing 60 and aren’t in school, no longer have kids at home with parents your age who become friends through association, attend a church or have a job you commute to and spend hours with other adults – you really have to put yourself out there to meet “girls.”
Some mornings I see two women outside from my kitchen window, about my age, who walk by talking and laughing and I longingly pause in my coffee brewing routine to watch them.
Some afternoons I go to the pool and see a couple “girls” lounging together and although we exchange a pleasant hello, they’re too intimate for me to feel comfortable inserting myself. Yet.
I’ve moved enough to know making friends takes effort, observation, initiative and patience.
It’s a combination of factors aligning organically and actual effort on my part.
The article’s author, Ruth Whippman, said she treated making new friends in her new location like a job.
I know that job and I’ll get to it.
I’ll start or join a book club (love to read), I’ll volunteer, I’ll find where I can teach in my community (love to teach), I’ll see what’s going on at some local quilt shops, take a class or two here and there, lead a meditation group in a designated space, find a writing group, linger by the pool and do more than say hello. I’ll find a yoga studio. These things, for the most part, will connect me with like-minded people.
There are three “F” words, the article said, that are key to maintaining happiness, especially as we age:
So, my life has been overflowing with the other “F” words, since moving here.
Family? It’s hard to believe what’s transpired with my family since our move here just a few short months ago. Do believe me when I say there’ve been comings and goings, death and birth, joy and sorrow. I now have two daughters living here and five grandchildren close by. What a pleasant turn of events this has been in the family arena.
Fun? My husband and I have been having so much fun with our first winter in Arizona; hiking, riding bikes, landscaping and decorating our new home, entertaining guests, exploring the area and making travel plans to retreat from here in the summer, when, apparently it’s really, really hot here. I read that God spends the winters in Arizona and Hell visits all summer.
So, friends? I’ll make them here.
In the meantime, how great is it to have email and texting and instagram to keep in touch with old friends? Blogging friends you’ve corresponded with for years?
And of course, girlfriends from out of state who come to visit when they’re tired of winter where they are. Like a dear one who is coming very soon for several days. Although we have a fun (there’s one of those “F” words) itinerary full of places we want to see, the best thing to see, of course, will be each other.
Friends, Family and Fun – three healthy “F” words to keep in mind and surround yourself with for good health.
I wish you plentiful doses of all three.