Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Pleasure of Your Company

One of the most rewarding things about retirement is that I have more time to interact with my friends in a meaningful way. One of the biggest and most welcome surprises is that I am still making friends. All told, the warmth of my friendships bathes me in happiness and comfort.

This week, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the company of several good friends and long distance encounters with others:

• I spent almost an hour on the phone Sunday with one of my very closest friends and confidantes. We live in different cities now, I miss him, and I treasure our weekly phone calls.
• One of our neighbors has become a close friend. Sunday evening, we chatted with him for about an hour after our condo association meeting, and promised to keep an eye on his place and collect his mail while he is out of town this week. It’s good to have a trusted friend so nearby. (Ron calls him my texting buddy, since that’s often how we keep tabs on each other.)
• Earlier this week, a friend from college sent me an out-of-the-blue message telling me what it means to her that we have reconnected online. It was a heartwarming surprise that made my day.
• Last night we went to dinner and the theatre with friends in Chicago. Over dinner, we caught up on each other’s doings, and then shared a wonderful experience enjoying the play together. We’re already talking about planning a get together during the holidays.
• My new friends in Arizona are a true blessing. I look forward to the day we are full-time residents at Talking Rock Ranch, so we can enjoy that sense of community full-time.

Even surprise acquaintances can offer bright spots to your day. Ron and I golfed with a man two days in a row this week that we met at the starting tee. We discovered that we not only have a friend in common, but also several mutual interests – the symphony, theatre, and golf. Our golf experience was greatly enhanced this week by our conversations with Bob.

Keep expanding your circle of friends. It adds a richness to life at any stage, but may be particularly important to your health and happiness during retirement.

I just downloaded a book to my Kindle - Vital Friends by Tom Rath.  It features results from Gallup studies on friendship, explores how friendships contribute to health and happiness, and even explains how having strong friendships can improve engagement and productivity at work.  I hope it’s an interesting read.

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