As I am now in ‘mid-life’ with a BIG birthday looming before me in less than a year – it has caused me to reflect and reevaluate my thinking on several things. And though some fundamental things never change – faith in God – the right way to react when things go sideways – keeping a ‘cool’ head when suffering verbal and emotional abuse from those close to me – keeping my faith when things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would – then I know I am on the right road. And somehow by the grace of God – I have the strength of character to love and forgive.
I am blessed – by a great heritage and strong husband. I also have wonderful friendships in my life – who understand me, know me and choose to love me anyway. With friends – you know they don’t have to – they do it because they want to – that’s the power of a good friend. But these things alone – do not define me – or must not stop me from growing and reaching out to others – being the best at what I can be – loving and encouraging – living by example and taking responsibility for my own happiness and choices along the way.
We spend a lot of time with good friends – yes it takes EFFORT! And can be very exhausting! But it is worth the investment!!
Connecting with these good friends is important – and worth the effort. I find this is true especially as I get older – the ones in my peer group are the ones that will be doing life with me as I age – and graduate into my retirement years – many of them we will live close enough to see often – others we will stay connected to over the internet – sharing life, pictures of kids and grand-kids and sharing myself – encouraging and loving. Parents that raised me will not always be with me – on either side of the family – and they belong to another generation and time – my children are not going to be always with me either – they are only on loan and belong to their own time and need their own people as well. My grand-kids will come and go in and out of my life – and have their own life – It is normal – and it is healthy. And I am prepared for this and wouldn’t want it any other way. My family does not fulfill me or define me – my kids do not define me or own me and I do not own them – my happiness and self-worth comes from God alone – and when I am filled up – I can be a blessing to others – with no guilt and no expectations. I can just be free to share my life and love with others.
It is tough as people become older to do this. The world tends to ‘shrink’ – and become all about the children and grandchildren. And although this is normal for most families – I want to carry with me a ‘healthy’ position in my own family and have my own children view me as ‘friend’ and not just ‘Mom’ as time marches on. It is important to me that my kids and grandchildren know that I will not give advice (unless asked) – or judge them in any way – once they are grown up. But be full of love and acceptance – with my doors and arms always open – when they need them. I want them to have their own lives and be productive and happy. Many older people do not have any friends their own age. It takes too much effort – family is easier and safe. Greg and I are going to change this trend for our generation – and as we age we plan to take MANY people with us – if not physically – then we will take them in our hearts! We will be that couple in a retirement community – playing golf with others and getting together for coffee and dinner many nights out of the week. We will share ourselves and take walks down by the water and talk about life, our kids and grand-kids and the things that brought us to where we are today. And we will finish smiling and laughing – surrounded by those people most important to us.
I have a picture in my mind what it will be like to enter into those years – full and happy – secure in my relationships and loved for who I am. Things that have troubled me – or complicated situations in family, or past friendships will not matter anymore. I will go out smiling and laughing – and ‘finishing strong’ – with no regrets.
What is holding you back today – moving forward towards the future – from ‘finishing strong’? Who are you going to take with you? Who are you going to invest in? Will others around you be able to say, “They were loved and had many friends”? I hope so – for those who have many friends are rich indeed!