Friends in the Empty Nest
Did you think you would have your best friend or good circle of friends by this stage of your life? You might think, yes, and I do, but I will share with you that I have been speaking with mothers across the country who are ready for new friendships.
How to be Your Own Best Friend, by Mildred Newman and Bernard Berkowitz with Jean Owen is an oldie but goodie book that will inspire you when you have the blues about your friends.
Mothers are talking about how their situation of being without their children at home has changed friendships. They don\’t have the high school community of friends because people have moved on. Sure a few of them still meet for lunch and walks but they are feeling the void of community from the school days.
We need connection, but how much and how many? I value the longevity of my friends and the new friends I made since becoming an empty nester. Key is not to compare yourself to others, “but I don\’t have enough friends to hang with or count on like Katie does.” Ask yourself what your style of connecting truly is these days. Do you like your alone time? Do you make time for that without feeling guilty? Do you really like having friends over or do you prefer going out? Check in with yourself about what you enjoy now with a friend and ask how much you want to be available for giving.
What we wanted in being a friend and having a friend changes as our lifestyle and age change. People just don\’t talk about that, but it is true. Our perception of a friend needs new glasses. What are you seeing these days that is realistic verses fantasy?
Where are your real resources? I hope they are within you or on the way to being developed. Truth for me is, when I am fulfilling myself, knowing more about what I am thinking and feeling, who I am and who I am not, I am not bored or lonely. Paradox to that is I love lunch out with my girlfriends and those long chats on the phone when we are cooking dinner. Life isn\’t just one way or the other. It is full of surprises, complexities, and shifts.
When no one is available, guess what….you are. You are your best friend for a lifetime. You can advise, comfort, encourage, and giggle with yourself. You know how to make a friend but today be your best friend all day and all night and let me know how that experience was for you. Go have fun. Play. Email me with any question or story.
Happy days to you,