Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Effect of Retirement on Friendships

When you are single (and I believe, even when you are not) friendships can make or break the quality of your life. My friends and small family are my life-blood. And this isn’t second-best to having a significant other. It is really good on its own. Even in the rush of work-life before I retired, I made maintaining my friendships a priority for the limited time and energy that I did have.

So, one of my goals for retirement was to attend to my friendships and to widen the circle of people included in that tending. Now that I’m not racing through life, I have the time and energy to be more “there” (there is more there, there – to slightly misquote Gertrude Stein). I’m able to stay in better contact with people. And I am more available to do the coordinating and to get together for social time or to help with some task. Probably most important, I’ve had a couple friends going through some major shite. And they called me. In the daytime. And I had the energy to really listen and do some things to make circumstances a little easier.

It has also been nice to be able to connect with a few former co-workers free of the co-worker aspect. When we worked together we didn’t have (or make) time for socializing. And the mounting stresses started to get in the way of interactions.

I’m also developing some new friendships. Part of shifting a worldview from head-centered to more creative/intuitive is sharing time and activities with like-being people (I almost said “like-minded” and then caught myself in the contradiction). That translates into more artists and people involved in creative endeavors. Much like in my mid-twenties. In-between social work as a VISTA volunteer and law school I worked as a waitress in a cafĂ©-ish restaurant that had a cappuccino machine and daily-made-in-house croissants. "So what?" many of you are saying. Well, this what: at the time, there were only two places in Tucson that had a cappuccino machine and this was one of them. (I know you younger readers can’t imagine such a world, but in 1976 most places were a coffee wasteland.)  It was innovative. It was really fun. It was the gateway to knowing artists, which has enriched my life in many ways for decades.

So, while it sounds a bit Hallmark-ish, the effect of retirement on friendships has been really good.

It has also been illuminating. A bit about that coming up soon in a post I’m working on: I Can See Clearly Now.

1 comment:

  1. I can so relate to your discussion. Can't wait to see you in 3 weeks!