Friendship at 40
Where would any of us be without our friends? Whether you are a person who has one best friend who is like a sister or a brother but even better, or you’re a person who has dozens of friends, or somewhere in between, everyone needs at least one great friend.
Friendships at 40ish are different from friendships at 20-something. For me, one of the key differences is that I have grown to accept the natural ebb/flow of relationships and I don’t fight so hard to keep all of my friends close all of the time. When I was younger, I was a collector of people. I felt responsible for keeping in regular contact with anyone I considered a friend. And then, when friendships faded or changed, I felt like I had failed somehow. But now I realize that there is great truth in the saying that some friends come into our lives for a reason, or for a season, or for a lifetime. And even though it can be sad to realize that a friendship is changing, and that the close bonds you once shared are no longer there, it’s freeing as well to recognize that change is a constant in life. And not all of us are meant to be intimately connected with all of our friends from birth to death.
That said, it can be more of a challenge to maintain those close ties at this stage of life. Many of us are juggling parenting, marriage/partnership, working, caring for aging family members, or even our own health issues, and we lose sight of the importance of staying connected with the very people who can help us to stay sane during these demanding times. Some of us are more gifted at this than others. I have one friend in particular (you know who you are!) who still manages to remember birthdays, and other important dates, and she sends cards and picks up the phone to call on a regular basis, despite the demands of her own life. She’s a treasure and I am grateful that she is patient with me as I am not so good at picking up the phone to return her calls!
So I think the trick at this stage of life is to figure out for ourselves which friends (and family members who are also friends) fill us up, and how to balance our lives in a way that allows us to maintain closeness with those people. What do you do to stay closely connected with the people in your life who fill you up?