“If you want to know yourself, look at your friends.”
When I read this posit several years ago I began seeing my friends differently.
After all, it’s a way to look outward for a little self-knowledge. When I look at my friends, what do I see of myself? Why are they my friends and I theirs? What do we share? How are we different? How does it all enrich our lives.
Because if our relationships don’t enrich our lives, they are not closely held very long. We’ve all had those friendships that got left behind or escaped us in some manner – whether into separation or sliding into maintenance mode without much energy spent to nurture and cultivate them.
Now I look at my friends and realize that they reflect what is important to me. Sometimes not what I thought was important…but what must be valuable because I am committed to the symbioses we have created. I look at our similarities and our differences and ponder how these work for us.
Lately we have a lot of conversations about how to be where we are in our lives. Is it a late-life crisis? I think it is just like grabbing an electric fence and not letting go. The jolts of reality keep coming and coming.
In my cohort there aren’t many of us who haven’t been met with some sort of life-changing event. Loss of a loved one, a scary diagnosis, an activity-limiting ailment, or just some new dietary or physical discomfort. Those are the sorts of things that cause us to look closely at our lives.
What have we accomplished. What do we want to do. Have we lived our purpose? Can we let go of what was and enjoy what is and what is to come?
Because many of conversations through the our post-retirement years have been about family …of course my thoughts went there. What is our place in our families? We sometimes question our own contribution now. It is far different than it has been throughout the years.
Adjusting to our new position is a challenge. And yet, what a blessing to be surrounded by friends who are growing – and growing old – with me. They help me enjoy my life now. I value my friends.