Ages and Stages of Friendships
Ages and Stages of Friendships….
I’ve written a lot about friendships and how important it is to have friendships. I read a blog earlier this week by a man who for most of his life claimed to be a loner. He saw no need for love in his life. It was his opinion that he was better off without a lot of the distractions and complications brought on by excessive friendships and love relationships. But somehow the right woman slowly crept into his life and he realized that he really didn’t want to be alone and has since surrounded himself with not only an amazing woman to share his life with but with friends who enhance his life and make it beautiful. I believe that we are meant to be in relationship with other people. Do I believe that we need a large quantity of friends who take up most of our time? No. What I believe is that relationships that bring beauty, fulfillment and an improved quality of life are necessary for a well-rounded happy life.
The beauty of friendships I believe is that they come in various forms and levels of impact or importance in our lives. The amount of friends one has really does not matter as much as the impact or importance they have in our lives. To say that I have a lot of friends could be accurate to some degree, but the level of those friendships vary; not that one is more important that the other but rather in degree or depth. For example, I have a rather large number of friends via social media, work and community and I enjoy each and every one of them but my inner circle of deep rooted friendships is much smaller. What I am finding is that the older I get the smaller that circle of deep intimate friendships becomes. While I don’t know why it is that my circle has shrunk I do know that the quality of those friendships is top notch. However, that does not discount the importance of those friendships that may not be as intimate and personal it just means they have another purpose.
During a social function at my church recently I noticed that I was in a unique position. I am no longer in the young adult group and yet I am not quite ready for the older (senior) adult group. I am smack dab in the middle. The beauty of being in the middle is that I get the benefit of both groups. At 45 I have pretty much raised my kids who are now 20 and almost 15. Being able to spend time with some of the younger mommas in the group who may be struggling with certain ages and stages of babies and toddlers I am often asked “what did you do when….” allowing me to share my experiences as a “seasoned” momma. On the flip side being the parent of older children I find that I am faced with certain issues that often boggle my mind and push me to new levels of uncertainty at which time I refer to my older friends who have been through those ages and stages and provide their loving guidance and support. I have concluded that I am in the perfect spot. I am not young. I am not old. I am middle aged and it ain’t that bad.
Surrounding ourselves with friends is essential to an overall healthy lifestyle. Surrounding ourselves with those who bring joy and meaning to our lives is also important. Keeping in mind that sometimes friendships change and often cease because of lifestyle changes that simply just happen and that is okay. As we mature so should our relationships. Being blessed with that circle of friends who stand by you through time, distance, age and adversity is a gift. I encourage you to evaluate those relationships and hold onto those who leave a footprint on your heart. For example, I spent 25 years separated from my dear friend Trudy. Life took us in separate directions for many years and when we found our way back to one another we realized that our hearts remained connected and the bond never broken. Today, as middle aged women with older children we find ourselves holding onto the memories of our childhood and cherishing the renewed relationship we have as adults. Life separated us physically but it was the deep connection within our souls that kept us forever connected.
Cherish the relationships you have, know what it is that you want in life and surround yourself with those who can walk with you along the journey. Life is short. Life is precious. Live it to the fullest giving meaning to everything you do. Like Christopher Robin says to Winnie the Pooh “Friendship is a very comforting thing to have”.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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