When The Full-Time Commute is Over—Now What? An Open Conversation with Myself—Part 4– Where Have All the Friends Gone? — by Steve Harding

hqdefault“Now What” is right–Even going over this time after time are you really ready? It isn’t that you didn’t prepare, or so you thought. You had it all figured out. The closer you got to pulling the plug on 40 years of meritocracy the more the next phase of life occupied your thoughts. You prepared retirement income cash-flows, pondered which adult child you should move closer to, compared volunteer opportunities and prepared the list of your cavalcade of domestic and international travels. You read the epiphanies of Robbin and Dominguez, Your Money or Your life  and Sheehy’s New Passages.  Other than Pollen’s Die Broke and Rick Steve’s travel tips what more did you need to know?

Yes better habits were, and still are, in order. The inner voice between your ears continues the same mantra, get back to regularly exercising, meditate, eat better, drink less, sleep more and everything else AARP suggests that you do. What the monolog in your head hasn’t said turns out to be your biggest challenge. How do you retrieve, maintain, and develop real friendships?  At this stage of life, this should be fait accompli. Yet at the end of the day, you can look back and see an array of acquaintances but very few friends. You were not prepared for this. You can rationalize that your itinerant professional existence is the culprit or maybe you just didn’t fit in the communities that you were planted.  (You weren’t very good at what Bill Bishop calls, The Big Sort).  Besides pub crawls and golf, one does need some array of commonalities to forge the bonds that bind.  Yet maybe you just took relationships for granted.  Perhaps you weren’t that great of a friend yourself. It takes time and a concerted effort to do so. The superficial pleasantries of work life associations just plane didn’t cut it. With all of your intellectual and classroom pursuits, you’ll need to carve out time and prioritize this aspect of life. After all, and not to sound so egocentric, your own longevity may depend on it. In this arena you’ve been distracted, took things for granted.  You yourself need to work on being a friend and not just an acquaintance.


2 thoughts on “When The Full-Time Commute is Over—Now What? An Open Conversation with Myself—Part 4– Where Have All the Friends Gone? — by Steve Harding

  1. Erudite perspectives on “retirement.” (I’m an English major, so I can use big words now.) Seriously, you have a friend in Chicago. I agree with all you noted, except for drinking less.

  2. I really enjoyed this. I would say that although with my closest friends I have done well, I still have many people on the cusp of friendship with me that I need to focus more on.

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