Friends: The Axis Of Comfort

small__4939925977Find Your People

I just read a wonderful article by author and pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker about the importance of finding your tribe at midlife. She noted the benefits of keeping in touch, though she recognized that it is often difficult due to familial obligations. The article prompted me to think about my own experiences:

For as long as I can remember I craved the companionship of a like-mind, someone who would listen to my stories and theories about the world. As a twin, I thought I had a ready-made candidate. However, despite the title, we are as different as night and day. Though I love her dearly, we identified early on that she’s a doer and I was a thinker.

So began my quest to fill my life with friends who embraced words, enjoyed sharing notes and were prone to deep analysis. I found a forever friend in grammar school. Our story started with the case of the star-crossed school bag. We attended a strict Catholic grammar school where homogeneity ruled even down to our schoolbag. One day, among the sea of navy blue bags, my sister took the wrong bag home. Once the mishap was identified we drove to my classmate’s house for the switch, this transaction fated our friendship. We couldn’t stop laughing about our schoolbag caper and it wasn’t long before we were circling the playground fashioning stories and sharing popcorn. Adolescence was ushered in with seemingly endless calls, arms tethered by a chord, to discuss the same topic over and over mostly involving boys. Though I don’t see her as much as I would like, we will always be the stuff that friendship is made of.

Sailing through life, I’ve found friends to weather the storms of college, starting a career, boyfriends, engagements, weddings,  having and raising children. Looking back, I’m still in touch with many of these friends, though geography often dictates a closer relationship, I find that even a quick phone call can add a jump to my step. Friendship is a necessary ingredient for a happy life and there are certainly ebbs and flows.

During the middle years, between the pull of elder care and eclipse of growing children friendship for me is a soft escape. It is necessary, pivotal and the axis of comfort during all the looming goodbyes circling overhead. The launching of our offspring, the decline of our parents, can leave gaping holes. So we need to continue with our people, someone who can listen to the difference between twin and twin Xl sheets for departing college offspring and enjoy commentary from the dementia ward. Love it when my dad, who suffers from dementia, asks, “Are you having a bad hair day?” When faced with a world in motion, where change is simultaneously embraced and feared friendship is a panacea for our blues. There’s  nothing like a “we are in it together” chat, hearty laugh or sympathetic ear. The road ahead may be uncertain but just knowing your people are there for you can make all the difference.

photo credit: <a href=”“>amanda.venner</a> via <a href=”“>photopin</a> <a href=”“>cc</a>

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