Monday, March 23, 2009

Among friends.

Joyce and her mushroom friends greet me in the morning hours close to the lake where we walk. People around this neighborhood stop and talk. I met her this way a few years ago, when I had just moved in town.
She was walking her dog, an ailing fellow who was on his last legs, and was slowly encouraging him to keep moving. I slowed down, matched their pace, worried about adjusting to my new status as a retiree.
"You just took a good step," she said, and when I looked confused, she added, "you stopped and talked to us, me and Bobby. You'll have no problem making friends in town."
She was right. In less than a year, I ran for school board, joined the democratic party, and signed up to read in the SMART program. Within months, I had more work lined up than I could do in an eight hour day. I saw her around that first year and thought she was too old to be a good friend. I don't think she thinks I'm too young to be her friend.
I wish the relationship I have with my children could be this good. We are open and generous with each other. She reads my mind, divines my silences. When I am her age, I want to feel and act and look just like her. Did I mention that she drives to all her activities?
I was wrong. She has become a good friend in many ways. We walk together, are in a reading club, SMART, and the writers' group. She reads my stories and comments with candor and truthfulness. I read her stories and point out certain things. We are good for each other. My mother would be proud of me.


Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I love your "among friends" post. I've done some of the same things you've done since moving here 3 years ago & retiring almost 2 years ago. Many of my friends work, but I have golfing buddies. I joined the Democratic party here and worked during the election, but somehow I haven't met that someone to have the close connect you & Joyce have formed. I miss that ... course, I do have a wonderful relationship with the G-man and that's enough for now. He's my Joyce!
You are good for me ... pity we are a kazillion miles apart!
xxx ooo Lizzy :-)

Woman in a Window said...

I think that kind of honesty and friendship is simply beyond numbers.

Mervat said...

This is a lovely post and very inspirational. You are good for the blogging world!

marc aurel said...

Gosh, you are so active. I could retire in two years, but dream of doing far less than I do now. Although years ago a man turned to his wife and said about me, "People don't exercise enough". He was old enough not to realise how easilly his subject could hear him. I thought, even then, "Ah yes, you're right, but I exercise the mind".

Lori ann said...

A beautiful post.You are an inspiration with all that you do. I love love love that you live your life with so much enthusiasm and creativity. Why do you think relationships with our own children are not what we hope for sometimes? Do your children live near you?
Tell Joyce thank you for allowing her photo! it's nice to see her(and her mushrooms)
xx lori

lakeviewer said...

Cheryl, making friends takes time and it doesn't follow the expected paths. Be open to possibilities. Mostly, be the friend you want to have.

lakeviewer said...

Woman-We all want good, close companions; we need to spend time cultivating friendships, giving of ourselves.

lakeviewer said...

Mervat-Thank you for the lovely comment. And, welcome.

lakeviewer said...

Marc, start living the way you want to live right now. Don't wait for the magic time of retirement. It can be very disappointing. People think that not working is good stuff. No. It can be deadly boring. It leaves people feeling empty and confused. I should spend more time explaining to folks that it takes a lot of work to create this new life called retirement.

Natalie said...

Some of the most treasured people in my life, have been those a generation ahead. I tend to gravitate to older people because they are generous and wise. Joyce sounds like a 'little beauty'!
I love her Mushrooms too!xxx♥

lakeviewer said...

Lori ann-Relationships with our children evolve. Mothers have certain expectations and children have different ones. They expect us to always be the "Mother or
Father" in the script they have written. Parents return to old scripts, the times when everyone was obedient and getting along.

I think mother nature separates children from their mothers twice, at birth, and then, again, at adolescence, when children fight for self-identity.
The need to reject parents and cut the cord was easier when making a living was easier; and the need to procreate matched the need to leave the nest. In our modern world, we delay on-set of adulthood because it is difficult to be prepared to earn a good living.

lakeviewer said...

Natalie, I know why you gravitate toward mother types. Most of us who didn't have mothers around when we needed them, are appreciative of those connections. I left home when I was seventeen, too young to be on my own, and missed my mother terribly.

Lover of Life said...

It is good to hear productive and happy retirement stories. With the economy the way it is, we are thinking we may be sliding into retirement. It's a little scary. But it's nice to hear people making friends at all ages and having fun doing it. My in-laws are in their 90's, and in a retirement home. They have made wonderful friendships there. I want to be the same way.

Anonymous said...

"We are open and generous with each other. She reads my mind, divines my silences."

Simply beautiful freindship. I love the way age becomes unimportant with age!

Saretta said...

My best friend is 13 years younger than me...I'm glad she doesn't think I'm too old! I realise she has less life experience than me, but she's definitely not too young! The important thing is to care about each other and enjoy things together.

Delwyn said...

Friends are gifts from God - so said Richard Bach, and I tend to agree with him.

Tessa said...

No good sitting alone in your room, come hear the music play! So goes the song...and so go I.

You really are an inspiration to us all, lakeviewer. I read about the life you have made for yourself in retirement and I'm agog with admiration and respect. Way t'go - as my youngest would say!

Seriously, though, thanks to you and your magical power with words, you polish all the foggy bits and make them shine. Thank you.

Angela said...

I love coming here, Rosaria. You are so right about having older friends, and younger ones, and our children who become friends eventually. Nice post, and nice thoughtful comments, too. And answers from you.

karen said...

Nothing better than this sort of friendship. Great photo of Joyce and those mushrooms! x

lakeviewer said...

Ladies, and Marc, I just love talking back and forth. It feels so simple-yet, we know, it takes time and concentration to say just what we want to say. Many times, though, life demands we compromise, we skip this or that, we hope people don't mind our rushing by.

That is the part about retirement that has been extremely rewarding: Having time to spare, to give, to share, to learn. That commodity that was always in short supply is now entirely in our hands, gold coins to hand out as we wish.

Those of you not yet retired need to know another thing: Not working allows you time to do other things; but, you better have a focus on what you want to do. Because, you will be jumping around from this to that, trying to fill your time. The biggest challenge I had was to redefine my priorities, my sense of who I was and what I could contribute.

Thank you all for visiting and sharing.

Lover...yes, your generation may not even have that option.

The things..."age becomes unimportant with age.." Lovely summary.

Seretta-as a teacher you will always have younger friends, students who find you simpatica. As a university professor, you are free to socialize with your students and develop stronger connections.

Delwin--I agree, there is a higher order, a God, a force that allows us to bond and transform with each relationship. It feels divine to me too.

Tessa--I hear the music, and I'm dancing. My daughter has encouraged me to take piano lessons and dance lessons and acting lessons. I'm game.

Angela--Our children do become friends after a while, as they too need a stable shoulder to cry on, share intimate thoughts. Until that happens, we wish them well, and keep the light on for them.

willow said...

These kind of lovely close friends are one in a million. You are so lucky to have her! Cherish every moment.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Be the friend you want to have - Said with real experience and knowledge, LV - So right, and our friends can often be found in unexpected places and at unforeseen ages, as you have discovered. x

Renee said...

Your mother, God bless her soul, would be very proud of you. As a mother, I know that for a fact.

Please tell Joyce I am happy to meet her. Is she the lady that didn't want her picture on here.

Glad to meet her. A friend of yours is a friend of mine.

Love Renee

lakeviewer said...

Willow-Yes, I feel blessed.

A woman- Thanks for stopping by. Yes, indeed, one needs to do everything to become a good friend, preparing the soil for things to grow.

Renee--No, Joyce did not mind having her picture taken. In the previous post, that are quite a few people who belong to our writers' group but do not want to appear in any publications. I was quite reticent myself, for a while. Now, not so much. It is actually not an issue. Worrying about how old we look, how our hair looks, all those vanity issues of my youth are gone. Every time I am injured, or my husband or children become ill, I am reminded that life is so precious, so unreliable beyond this moment.

We must enjoy the day fully, taste the ice-cream when we can, plant the flowers we may not see bloom, give out presents and tokens of appreciation wherever and whenever the occasion arises.

p.s. I have not forgotten my promise to you. Just a bit of derailment.

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