June 23, 2024

70th Wedding Anniversay

Are You Ready To Let Me Help You Change Your Life?
Contact Me Today And Let’s Start The Process
Share This Post:

Connection, Community and Building Both Over Time

I was lucky enough the other day to be invited to celebrate the 70th wedding anniversary of a couple whom I’ve known for some time now. If you’re doing the math, both the bride and groom are in their 90’s. Their eyesight and hearing aren’t as sharp as they had been, their balance and memory a bit unreliable. That being said, here’s one of the pieces that struck me ~ not only are they still deeply in love but they have built an amazing community around them. There were well over 80 people there, from all walks of their lives. 

As the groom was thanking us all for being there, he also listed out how each group was related to them; they came from an incredible collection of places. Family, co-workers, volunteer gigs (note the multiple on that!), the gym, and a spiritual community they are a part of. It reminded me once again of the power of connection and our need to not only find those links but to maintain them over time. 

I also realize it sounds easy enough to initiate new connections and keep them going but, if you’re anything like me and most people I know, it’s easier said than done. 

We talk about making new friends and connections as if it’s a matter simply of going out to the park and randomly finding them. It sometimes sounds like finding a new book at the library; “just go see if you meet someone new!” Another tricky piece to the whole exercise is that we can get out of practice with the ‘getting to know new people’ dance. 

If you’re beginning to think about life after the kids leave the house and/or the retirement years, here are a few suggestions for you to make or strength relationships in your life.

Start where you are. Take a look around at the people you’re currently engaging and spending time with. Do you enjoy their company? Has the relationship grown as you’ve both had new experiences or has it stagnated? A good way to know this is if you’re talking about the same thing every time you are together. If they are still going out partying like there’s no tomorrow but you’re thinking about what time you can leave to head to bed, it might be OK to let those people drift a bit further away.

Assess where you’re spending your time. Are you out of your home? Are you doing things other than work and errands? Do you have hobbies and interests which would naturally put you in contact with others? If you’ve had the same seats to watch your favorite team for the past 30 years, do you know the other regulars you see? Do you talk to people about your interests? I was pleasantly surprised the other day while having breakfast with someone new to me, to learn that they love geology! They were truly jazzed by the pictures I was showing them of rocks from a recent trip to Canada. What a fun find for me since I had put them in the “another birding friend…”

Stop holding onto the idea that there is just one good friend in your life. I really hope there is one good friend in your life; it just can’t be the only friend in your life. We can also have friends who meet different needs for us such as the person who goes to ball games and then a different friend who goes to museums. Or maybe it’s someone you’ve met while volunteering and you start there, building that relationship over time. 

Begin to learn people’s names. Does that sound silly? Tough, it’s important. Remember, we’re thinking about connection, not making instant ‘best friends’ with someone. Being able to greet someone by name automatically takes even a casual connection to a different level. You can let yourself a bit off the hook by focusing on their first name and building from there.

Volunteer. If you’ve read more than about 3 of my blog posts you know how strongly I feel about this. Study after study shows us just how valuable it is for you and the organization you opt to lend a hand to. Soup kitchens, food pantries, the foster care system, mentoring programs, animal shelters, environmental groups, hospitals, care facilities, local villages and towns all need your help. Heck, even my county’s park system has a volunteer program!

Begin to invest time into your relationships and connections. It can be small gestures or it can be a full 2 hour breakfast you have together ~ just spend the time. I won’t quickly forget how, when I was new to the space where I rent an office, an unexpected situation developed. I was the only person in the large, shared space as the 5pm departure had just completed. Much to my surprise, the security guard, whose name I had learned and had been careful to say, “good night” to each evening (a small gesture), called me. “There’s someone down here at the desk saying you have an appointment with him but it’s late and you’re usually leaving now…is everything OK?” Everything wasn’t OK in that the person didn’t have an appointment and the security guard was able to suggest the person leave before the police were called…(for the record, he also wasn’t a client.) That security guard has not become my best friend but I ask about his kids, vacations and life each time I see him while he asks about business and if my vacation was nice; it is a connection. Not earth shattering but a connection.

Be ready to let go of relationships. Yes, after all that I just talked about getting and staying in touch with folks, now I’m reminding you to be ready to let go. Not everyone is going to go for the ride the entire distance with us. Our interests, their needs and where we connect may not be sustainable. Perhaps the physical distance, especially as you consider where you’ll be living in your retirement years, may be insurmountable. Perhaps you were connected by your kids but now that your kids are older and no longer hanging out or seeing each other very much, you find there’s not much else that was holding you two together. Much like decluttering, by letting go you’re allowing room for expansion with other people who may be more in line with where you are. 

I’m sure 70 years ago, when my friends were celebrating their wedding with a lovely reception, many people wished them a long and happy future; they seem to have pulled that off. I will wish you much the same thing; may your future be bright and interesting, filled with incredible people from all the different parts of your life. You might get 70 or 80 years with some people in your life (wouldn’t that be nifty?) Or perhaps you’ll get 10 or 20 years, but either way, won’t it be grand to have so many connections? Start here and keep growing them, since I know you’ve got it in you. 

Read & Learn More

More From The Blog

Inspirational content to help you shift your life into the path of success

Random Thoughts

Controlling the Controllable, Choosing our Reactions As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate that no one has it easy. Fame and fortune have their

Continue Reading

Come Work with Me

You did not come this far to only come this far.

It does not have to be this way and you are worth so much more than a life filled with worry and fear for the future.

When you’re ready, I’m here.

To get started, I ask that you send me an email with your name and best return email to use.

You’re ready for change, and that has already started ~

I will contact you to let you know your request has been heard because no one wants to be left wondering.

We’ll set up a time for consult and take it from there. Change is hard; a good fit is a requirement.

I’d be honored to help you chart a new course that takes you where you want to go ~ so that your life is dictated by your choices, not habits or relationships that have become destructive.

Welcome ~ let’s keep going.