365Ways-005 Friendships Over A Lifetime

Posted on : 02-05-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Heart Talks

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When my Aunt and Uncle decided to sell their home in Stow, Massachusetts and move to a very nice retirement residence in Green Valley, Arizona, it was quite a shock for most of the family — both immediate and extended — albeit welcome.  On the one hand, they were still relatively young and in excellent health so their decision to move at this point in their lives meant they would have plenty of time to settle in to their new environment, make friends and be happy without leaving the heavy choices up to their children later on in life.  What such a big move better for them was that two of the couples they had known over a 40-50 year period and shared all kinds of experiences with also moved along with them to the  same locale. There is something very special and almost sacred about friendships that have been developed and cultivated over a lifetime.

One of the nice things about having lived in a place since 1980, is that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and make friendships over a long period of time.  I’ve known some of my friends since my early twenties so the history and experiences we share are rich with connection and value for me.

Of course it is great fun to meet a new friend and establish connections, similarities and appreciations.  But there is nothing quite like having a friend who you’ve known for decades because you don’t have to explain every little thing to them. They know you.  That doesn’t mean we go on neutral when we’re in each others  company because we have no expectations for new thought or feelings. I think of it more as having reached a level of serenity and acceptance with another person.  There have been plenty of people who I’ve met over the years and chosen NOT to continue any form of friendship with for an extended period of time which makes those friends who I have kept friends who I care for deeply and enjoy traveling with through this life of ours.

Having good long-term friendships means cultivating acceptance for who they are (and you are), respect, humor, shared ideas, beliefs, values and experiences.  It’s not like in the olden days of my dysfunctional childhood when I would take one or maybe two friends “hostage” and spend almost round the clock time with them with no distance between me and them.   Today, I enjoy each of my friends for their own unique stamp in the world.  I relish learning what they’ve been learning, bouncing off thoughts and ideas, and laughing. A lot of laughing as well as crying too.

I have one good friend who is climbing out of the pit of depression.  For well over a year she’s been trying to fight off this debilitating depression with no hope in sight and has finally found a professional who can help her unlock the black cage of despair.  After every phone call or meeting she thanks me for hanging in there with her but what she doesn’t seem to remember right now is how many times she’s been there for me in my past.  I am supremely confident that if the situations were flipped, she would be helping me to dig out of my pit too.  And we’ve got a long history of many great and wonderful shared times together.  That kind of shared time is worth its weight in gold.  I also feel that in some way, I’m paying back my gratitude for all those times in my past when friends came to my rescue and saw me through some of my deepest, darkest periods.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with some of those friends, but I always think about them and send a thought of thanks followed by reciprocal action with another when I’m able.

When I think of one friend in particular who used to stay on the phone and talk me through my horrible anxiety attacks, I always send her gratitude and love.  I really don’t know how she found the calmness or patience to talk with me, but I am so glad that she did.

Friendships over a lifetime means learning together and really letting others see who you are, warts and all as well as sharing many, many experiences of fun and enjoyment.

How about you?  What kind of friendships do you enjoy today?

Erhan Hosca, Liliy Kindler and Lynn Kindler 2012



Comments (1)

Thank you for being my friend.


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