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The Value of Friendships As We Age

I read an article recently that indicated we tend to lose friendships as we grow older. Ohio University (my alma mater)  Professor William Rawlins says "As people enter middle age, they tend to have more demands on their time, many of them more pressing than friendship. The time is poured, largely, into jobs and families." That makes sense but then I got to thinking about how quickly time is flying by and there are no guarantees for tomorrow so it would be in my best interest to cherish the friendships I have.

Recently I was on my way to the grocery store when I received a call from my friend Maria.  We had been playing phone tag so I made it a point to answer the phone to make the connection.  Although we don't live too far apart, we haven't seen each other in a few years, We mostly keep up with each other via Facebook.  That's where I first learned she was diagnosed with cancer.  "It can't be true!" was my first thought.  When we worked together many years ago, she was one of the most vibrant, lively, gorgeous women I knew.  But as I have learned time and time again, cancer doesn't discriminate.  


For the next hour or so, I was sitting in the grocery store parking lot laughing and reminiscing with the woman I first met 20 years ago while working together at WNCU Radio. Her upbeat spirit lifted me. I was trying to catch up on her life, her family, her diagnosis and how she found out.  When I tell you she has been through, that's an understatement, but her faith and her family have kept her strong through her storms.


In a surprising turn of events during the conversation, I became the one who needed a shoulder.  I was suffering from mental anguish over some personal things in my life.  Did Maria feel sorry for me?  Absolutely not! She used the moment to "school" me, saying she did it out of love, to help me see how petty and ridiculous my attitude was over the issue I shared.  Yes, that's what friends do. They help you peel away your mask, to stop hiding behind your self-righteousness and to let you see what you may be unable to see (or refuse to).


I took Maria's words to heart and when we hung up I decided to make an attitude adjustment.


Some friends, like Maria, come as a gift. We don’t look for them, we don’t have to work at being friends, at least initially - they just arrive. Even so, as time goes by we need to work at every friendship. The best vitamin for making friends if B1.


Friends are a precious part of our lives and we will live to regret it if we lose them through neglect.   

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