What is Friendship?

Recently I wrote about focusing on friendship to build stronger relationship connections in this next stage of life.   With the loss of so many of my connections post-working, I’ve had to re-think what does friendship really mean.

When I retired, I lost a significant portion of people I considered to be friends. These friends were really convenience friends are based on shared proximity. In my case the shared proximity was work and our connection was work-based. Without work, there wasn’t really any shared, common element to connect us and over the past 2 years, those friends have slowly drifted away.

I then thought friends were all about the soul-enhancing relationships. The be-there-for-you-at-2AM people, the ones you talked with daily, the “sisters by choice”, the ones who made you a better version of yourself.   It took me awhile to acknowledge that this is “THE best friend” – the true BFF.   And my singular BFF is my husband.

Then I thought – what about just “good friends” – the ones you share affinity and affection. The ones you can be yourself with, who know you deeply – whether you connect weekly or monthly.   These are the friends who show up to celebrate things – the kids’ graduations, the kids’ weddings, the big birthdays. The friends who support you – for the relative’s funerals, the hospital stays. And I had to realize that it’s OK if sometimes that support needs to be requested or is virtual.   These friends tell you to “go for it”, whatever it may be – the beginners yoga class, the trip to Africa, or the writing of the book. They ask about the plans, listen to the details of the activity, encourage you when things get tough. When I think about friendship this way, I have many folks that fit this definition!

What about the “casual friends”? The folks you meet for lunch/dinner once a month, the people you network with for gig opportunities, go with to yoga or zumba, or who like/comment about your posts on FB.   They help round out your life and shouldn’t be discounted as they are.  And perhaps nurturing some of these relationships could result in more good friends.

 

So looking at friendship though this new lens I still realized… I need more friends in my life!  I need more people to connect with and to create that support network so crucial in the retirement life stage.

My current reality is many of my good friends are still working. And have kids, spouses, and close extended families.   So very often, getting something scheduled can take awhile.   And on more than one occasion recently, I could find no good friend to do something with me that I wanted to do.   I’m not a solo adventurer so the opportunity passed. (Perhaps solo-adventuring is a skill I need to develop?)

Another reality I’ve noticed is with 90% of my friends (both good ones and casual ones), I am the one initiating the connection.   Very few reach out to connect with me.   I’d love to have some reciprocating invitations!   I’m not sure how to foster that; obviously role modeling the behavior hasn’t worked.

 

So as I move into 2017, as part of my new years resolutions, I’m focusing first on continuing to intentionally reach out to my good friends to connect – acknowledging and nurturing those relationships.   And I’m exploring more regularly occurring circumstances (in areas of interest) to meet new people that could potentially become good friends – to tap into for different activities (so I don’t need to develop those solo adventure skills) and provide that support network in life.

And if anyone has suggestions on the challenge of invitation reciprocity, please share!

 

What does friendship mean to you as you move into retirement?

 

Picture Credit: Pixabay

Joy of the Season

This past year I chose “joy” as my word of the year.  And recently I’ve seen a few “A to Z” listings of things to do.   So combining these 2 inspirations, I created an A to Z list of seasonal things that bring me joy.   I hope to inspire you to find joy in the little things at this time of year!

A Arts & crafts shows for Christmas shopping
B Ball drop on New Year’s Eve (on TV!)
C Christmas stuff – Carols, Cookies, Cards, and Candy Canes
D Decorating the tree
E (Christmas) Eve Mass
F Fall Festival (corn maze, pumpkin patch, caramel apple, cider, hay ride)
G Garden cleanup (ahh, the feeling of accomplishment)
H Hot chocolate
I Icicle lights on eaves
J Jungle Jim’s holiday shopping (an amazing local food store)
K King’s Hawaiian Rolls with turkey salad and Cranberry sauce (yum!)
L Lights in the neighborhood; driving around to see them!
M Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
N Nutcracker Ballet (live)
O Oh Holy Night (my favorite carol)
P Pickled herring – my mom’s New Year tradition
Q Quiet time listening to music
R Reindog Parade (another local event)
S Stockings hung on mantel
T Thanksgiving Turkey with the traditional sides – done again on Christmas
U Unique holiday gifts
V Vision board creation for new year
W Wine while Wrapping presents
X Xmas shopping (on-line!)
Y Year-end accomplishment lists
Z Zoo Festival of Lights – another local event

Wishing you all a very joyous holiday season.

Is blogging really being a writer?

I started blogging for a few different reasons – one being that I have always loved to play with words.  Another reason was to share my thinking on retirement transition with others – the teacher in me coming out.   And still another is a desire to call myself a writer as part of my retirement persona.   But many people do not consider blogging “real writing”.   After reading Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write, I have come to the conclusion that blogging is the 21st century essay writing.

 

If you’ve been reading my blogs (essays?) for a while, you’ve realized I love to read as a learning tool and then share what I’ve learned.   So here are some of the things I learned from Julia in this book. [I’ve read other books she has written – I would more probably recommend her The Artist Way versus this book, but there is still learning to be shared here.]

  • Writing brings clarity to the art of living. By writing about life, it helps you process experiences and see the path forward.     My writing about retirement transition has helped me along my own path of transitioning – from sorting through choices, to focusing on action, to seeing a bigger picture of the future. Writing has often moved me from passive thought to action.
  • Simply the act of writing makes you a writer. You do not need to have anything published to be a writer. You do not need to make money from your writing to be a writer. Write for the joy of writing.  Yes, I still have the idea of turning my blogs into a publishable book, but I no longer look towards that as the definitive point to feel a sense of accomplishment from the creation of words on paper.
  • Write to talk to the universe.   My writing says who I am, what I did, what I like, what is bugging me, what I want more of. It is a conversation about my life.   The act of writing is as much psychological as it is physical. I have often said my blogging is my own version of a life coach!   When I write things, they often seem to happen – the universe hears me. And others sometimes hold me accountable as well!
  • Your words are original; your words will resonate with someone.   Even if someone has written about the topic before (and I think every topic has been written about before!), you have your own individual insight into the topic. If you care enough to write it, there will be a reader (at least one) who reads it.   And if just one person reads your words, you have been heard.
  • Words have power. Sometimes they just flow out of you, like energy onto the paper. Writing is more about the process than the output.   Allow the words to flow and refine them later. Look inward to allow them to flow.

 

The Right to Write has inspired me to consider myself a (real) writer and to continue to blog.  After over a year of writing and 2+ years into retirement, I was starting to feel like it’s all been said.   Julia’s writing showed me, once again, that my inspiration to write about a topic comes from many things – a book, an article, someone else’s blog topic.   And a topic can be written about again in a different way.   Her book was a series of essays on writing where some things were “repeated” but with a different spin – almost like a series of blogs about writing!

So I will continue to write to express myself.   And I am encouraged to write some other things beyond retirement transition as well – life stories and memoirs.   Not with the intent to publish, but merely for the joy of playing with words!

 

Do you consider yourself a writer if you are a blogger?

Picture credit: Pixabay