Retirement Resolution:
Make New Friends

by Wendy

Retirement Friends: Phyllis, Donna, Karen & Wendy

Retirement Friends: Phyllis, Donna, Karen & Wendy

Do you know that Friendship can keep you healthy and help you live longer? It's true!

Just ask the Mayo Clinic, Harvard University, Brigham Young University, and many other senior research institutions.

If you think about it - I'm sure you'll agree!

Local friendships - Help you to get out more! Expand your world. Get a little adventure into your life. Exercise your bod a bit while enjoying the company of others.

Internet Friendships - Senior Pen Pals or Group Email Friendships - Keep your mind active and bring a smile to your face!

Consider this: If you are well, or ill, the longer you sit there in your comfy chair, watching tv or reading a book, the more your body starts to slowly break down. It needs some action! Remember the "Use It or Lose It" theory.. it is true!

Humans were made to be active. Humans need interests... hobbies, friendships, new adventures at any age!

PLEASE do not just sit there - don't give up on your own life! There are no second chances, you have only one life on this earth. Don't watch out that window... watching the world move along without you, watching the activity of others.

We all KNOW we should keep busy.. but we don't DO it!

For thirty plus years, I worked and really had few friends. Who had time? Certainly not me...

In retirement, I am so thrilled to have retirement friends. Phyllis, Donna and Karen... all gals I worked with in the 70s! We've never lost contact, though for many years weren't close -- heck, I was too busy working!

Now -- we do breakfast, lunches, dinners... and I thoroughly enjoy the chit chat that I once didn't have time for (and quite honestly, never really enjoyed). Now I love the sweetness of friendly relationships... they are the honey of life!

Phyllis and Karen have forced me to get out of my little world here at home... we go to a new restaurant for every lunch or dinner we share! What memories they are! Who knew that "socializing" could be FUN... not ME! I never wanted it, preferring to sit behind snail mail letters or the computer screen! Yep, the introvert hiding behind her little home wall... but now I am having more fun!

Phyllis is truly an inspiration to me. She has major health issues for many years now, but never ever ever lets them stop her. She lost her husband a year ago, nothing ended... she refuses to stop go-go-going. I learn about flower gardening, the niceties of life, and so much more from Phyllis. She recently hosted a Christmas dinner in her home for Karen and I. The table beautifully set, the food scrumptious -- for just the three of us! Amazing! Phyllis lives life like we all should -- Full Steam Ahead!

Karen runs a family business, with her husband Ed, for many years now. When she left work, to have kids and work the business, we lost touch. Little did I know that we'd still have so much in common! I admire her strong faith! I *love* talking about business, having worked in government all my life. I love watching her entrepreneurial life. The details of her business life are so mind-boggling, I find it all amazing! Karen is a strong woman with great values. You Go Girl!

Donna, unknowingly, encourages my writing. Donna is a "thinker" -- I recently called her a Brainiac. She doesn't get it, doesn't know how clever she is! Her ideas, her odd way of viewing the world, and her own writing and speeches (Toastmasters) truly inspire me! Donna is a supportive friend for the brainy side of me... which doesn't even come close to her Brainiac side! Now - in retirement, she is loves the Gym -- Hmmmm, obviously nobody ever told her that brains and physical abilities don't mix! Grin!

My point is: We all come from different lifestyles, different backgrounds, and we are friends. Each brings something new and thoughtful into my world - something my life would not have known if not for this friend. Every friend might bring out a very different side of your personality:

Phyllis - courage, strength, antiques and the finer things of life

Karen - hard work and multi-tasking, faith, family, creativity galore

Donna - reader/writer, living well w/less stuff, solid (unlike flighty me!)

I am reminded of this quote that I love:

“Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting
that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

I also love the following as reason to look for some new friends different from you!

God could have made us all Expressives.
We could have lots of fun but accomplish little.
He could have made us all Analyticals.
We would have been organized and charted
but not very cheerful.
He could have made us all Dominants.
We would have been set to lead,
but impatient that no one would follow!
He could have made us all Solids.
We would have had a peaceful world
but not much enthusiasm for life.
We need each temperament for the total function of the body.
Each part should do its work to unify the action and produce harmonious results.

-Florence Littauer in The Gift of Encouraging Words

OK -- Reality Check here! Another reason we need new friends: Retiree friends die, it's just part of life. Others move out of your community or neighborhood. Others get ill and move to Assisted Living.

My parents knew every couple living around the pool at their condo development. They swapped desserts, had lunches together, went out to dinner, or simply met for chatting right in the neighborhood. Little by little, one after another, they all died. Mom will say "Ray lived there, and Betty and Ted lived there..." and they are all gone. Only my folks remain visiting the condo's where they once all congregated and enjoyed life during the winter months... kinda sad... such is life.

Bottom Line: As seniors, we need to seek out new friendships. Why Not?

I'm not saying this is easy. Two couples recently moved to Sun City, Nevada - and told me that they can't make friends there. It seems the groups are very tight -- and not so easy to make friends. You'd hope a Senior community would work hard to make it easy to find new friendships. I was surprised.

A few ideas:

-- Be happy! Everyone gravitates towards happy people. If you are grumpy, depressed, people might avoid you. Makes sense...

-- Seek new friends. Look for friendship opportunities. Actively join groups/clubs to make friendships. It doesn't happen automatically, it takes some time and effort... but is well worth every second!

My final word:

Internet Friendships: Senior Pen Pals

Group Email Friendships

More on Senior Relationships

Wishing you the Best!

Comments for Retirement Resolution:
Make New Friends

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You are never too old to make new friends
by: Sunie Levin

You are never too old to make new friends of all ages. Recent article in Suddenlysenior.

Good friends help you live longer. Be proactive in meeting people and making new friends.

Sunie Levin
author and lecturer

by: Loyce!/Auburn

For some, the internet allows for "activity" where you can penpal with others and read about the challenges others are navigating.

I try to be GRATEFUL for the internet opportunities I have and for the ability to get outside when I choose and I choose to live a staycation where I feel empowered and can travel to my destination in a short time and distance.

I push myself out this AM with Dog Hanz to walk/golf and enjoy the sunny weather.

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