…. but if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30
Facebook recently congratulated me on adding 30 new friends since the start of the year.
I don’t spend my days keeping track of how many friends I have on Facebook, but it did occur to me that adding these friends was no accident. My retirement has provided me with the chance to not only enrich my life by expanding the circle of people that I consider “friends”, but it has also enabled me to make my “old” friends more of a priority in my life.
A day at Longwood Gardens, a morning in a NJ vineyard, a lunch in Princeton, a hike at Duke Farms, a retail therapy session in Lahaska – all of these and more I have been able to share this spring with treasured friends who live within striking distance.
When I was working, I was often just too damn busy to afford myself the luxury of time spent with friends, even those who didn’t require a plane trip to see.
However, I do have many friends who are scattered across the globe because my former company had a national sales force and we all worked from our homes. Sadly, it isn’t easy for any of us to get together – we must make the effort and spend some money to see each other.
Facebook has made it easier to stay in touch, but it still doesn’t replace quality time in person. So, I think I need to draw up a plan for how I am going to manage visiting all the dear friends that I would so love to visit while at the same time not neglecting those that I don’t have to travel far to see.
When I was a teenager, I had a family friend tell me that he thought the best thing about me was that I was “real”. I remember questioning him as I thought that the strangest thing to say to me, and he assured me that being “real” was a very good thing to be.
Of course, now I know what he meant, and as I think about all these friendships, the thing that they all have in common is their “realness”. There is nothing saccharine or fake about any of them. I haven’t seen many of these wonderful people in years, but I know I could call or land on their doorstep, and we would just pick up where we left off.
I know with utmost certainty that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without every single one of them. I hope I have been as good a friend to them as they all have been to me. Next to my family, they have been my greatest blessing.
So, coming soon to a city near you – get ready, friends!