A FRIENDSHIP FEAST

I’ve moved around a lot in my life.  When I was a child, I had no choice.  My parents moved from England to Canada, Canada to Michigan and Michigan to California before I was 11-years-old.  Friends don’t stick through that kind of mileage.  It’s not like children can navigate oceans and distant states to get to you even if time didn’t erase memories from young minds.

As an adult I shed jobs, boyfriends and locations frequently.  When I did attempt to stay in touch with former co-workers, our conversations usually went something like this “Hi ______”  “This is Barbara”  “I used to work there two months ago.”  We had lunch together a few times, and we had a conversation at the Xerox machine about Stan, the annoying guy who smells like garlic and flosses his teeth at his desk.”  Revolving jobs usually meant revolving friendships, which never went very deep…I was definitely not the girl who had lived in the same house since she was a baby with neighbors whose roots went as deep as that ancient oak tree with the tire swing attached to its solid base.

I have had one friend for a million years.  Her name is Donna, and we met at Sun Valley Jr. High when she was 13, and I was 14.  We bonded over the fact that we both hated P.E. and sat in the bleachers, feining cramps and asthma attacks in order to get out of doing jumping jacks whenever we could get away with it.   Her family had moved around a lot too, so we relished finally having a close friend we could depend on.  Alas, about a year later, Donna’s family moved to Phoenix, then Reno and finally Las Vegas, where she remains to this day.  We did visit each other, but that day to day closeness we had cultivated could no longer flourish with all those miles between us.  I’m just grateful that we remain friends, mostly through telephone contact, till this day.

It does get harder to make good friends as you get older, especially once you’ve retired.  Even if you are intentional about trying new things and putting yourself out there, it’s not the same thing as sharing a neighborhood or a dorm room.  I guess I became resigned, but here’s the miracle…lately God has been dropping new people with similiar passions, dreams and goals into my life.  Some of them are young, and some of them are not.  They come in many shapes, sizes and ethnicities, which makes it all the more fabulous.  They are at different stages of life, but each one brings a different fragrance to the garden.  

I am thankful for this beautiful bouquet of ladies.  I hope to get to know each one of them better…to learn from them and to teach them what I have learned over the years.  One day I will write about each one of them individually, because they each have a worthy story to tell. 

 

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SENIOR DATING…BABY BOOMER STYLE

While on Facebook, I read an article about online dating and how it’s different for the over 55 crowd, because we have some unique priorities.  I haven’t really experienced online dating firsthand, but I have toyed with the idea and skimmed through a few “profiles.”  Something has always held be back.  First of all, I don’t like the idea of having to pay for a man’s attention whether it be email exchange, phone calls or an actual meeting.  Secondly it all feels so contrived.  First dates are awkward enough without the added pressure of never having laid eyes on each other.  Sure, you can exchange pictures in advance, but they might be sending you a picture of themselves that’s ten years old, photoshopped or even of someone else.  Not that a picture tells the whole story about someone’s looks anyway.  I have encountered people that, while not conventionally attractive, can light up a room with their smile or change an impression with their kindness or make me laugh so hard, I totally forget about ears or bellies that stick out too far.  In my youth, looks were right up there when it came to what I looked for in a man.  This train of thought led me to marry two very attractive men with hearts that did not match at all.  I’m not saying every good looking person cheats or gets involved with drugs or ends up in prison (am I giving too much away here?).  My two examples are extreme and there’s just as many homely men who might go down those same paths.  My point is I was hyper focused on looks and style and captivating charm to the exclusion of the qualities that really mattered.  What can I say?  I was a big dummy in that department, and I paid the price for it.  I thought bad boys were all that, and now, in my “old age,” I would run as far as I could from senior versions of these guys if my running days weren’t behind me.  Okay…I would walk as fast as my legs could carry me in the opposite direction.

One dating site that I actually contemplated joining  was for “country folk” who loved nature and the simple life.  I’m a bit of a nature freak, and I thought those types would be a good fit for my personality as opposed to slick, smooth, CEO types who wouldn’t be digging on an old school hippie type anyway.  That is until I started reading a few of the ads from over 55 prospects.  One of them proclaimed that he wanted a woman who would run to him, throw herself into his arms (presumably he would be able to catch her) with her hair streaming behind her in the gentle breezes of the farm.  She would also ride horses, help corral steeds and be just as comfortable on the back of a motorcycle as in a fine restaurant.  As I read on it began to occur to me that maybe I wasn’t as suited for the farm/ranch life as I had originally thought.

Back to this new dating site that I discovered on FB.  It’s called Tapestry, and it gave about 12 main points on why seniors have different values and needs than their 18-35-year-old single counterparts.  Some very valid points were made, and it really sounds like they’ve done their research and gotten feedback from some actual seniors.  For one thing, it was realistic.  I mean honestly how many senior ladies are going to be taking a running leap into a man’s arms unless they are old school members of the flying Walendas?  By the same token, how many gentlemen of a certain age are going to be able to catch these ladies who, very likely, have added a few extra pounds with the years?  Not many, I would venture to say.  More likely they would both land on a pile of horse manure, which would only slightly cushion the blow to their backsides and egos.  See what I mean?  Not very realistic at all.  Already, among the faint of heart, when it comes to exposing my vulnerable side, I am unlikely to respond to one of those ads.

Anyway if there’s more to say about this Tapestry website, I will follow up with another post.  I believe they are on the right track and if respondants will just keep it real instead of claiming to be an oil baron, a beauty queen or sending in a picture of their grandchild, it could turn out to be a good thing.

DISTRACTIONS

Shortly after 6:AM this morning, my five-year-old granddaughter entered my room.  I am a very early riser, so I was up, but I had planned to spend my first waking hours finishing the book of Isaiah (I’ve been reading through the bible this year), praying and just generally doing spiritual stuff, because it’s a good thing to do and also because I need to see some things change in my life.  I also planned to finish my Dabney Hedegard book (Wow! what a woman) and then delve into my Practical Guide to Walking in Healing Power, because I figure the sooner you get a handle on a book like that, the better.  My sheets were stripped off the bed ready to be thrown into the washing machine, and the books that I keep on the bed were on the floor, because I would be replacing the fitted sheet and blankets after the clothes were washed.  I also wanted to do my 30 minutes on the exercise bike.  I have accomplished everything (with the exception of the healing power book, which I haven’t yet cracked open), but I wanted to do it all in my early morning time frame.  Why that seemed to be so important to me, I can’t say, other than my sometimes unrealistic desire to “be productive” in a house that contains two grandchildren, one of them under a year old.

I was not happy to see my granddaughter bogarding her way into my room.  Just like I’m not delighted when my youngest daughter (nanny of the almost one-year-old) thrusts him into my arms as I check my emails or whatever I may be doing at the dining room table.  “I want to make my breakfast” or “I want to eat my breakfast” or any number of things she feels cannot be accomplished with a velcroed on baby in tow.

“I have raised my kids and didn’t sign up for this,” I want to proclaim even as my arms grudgingly reach out for the baby or I turn on the Disney channel.  Then I have to consider why I bought this house with my daughter.  I am divorced and not a spring chicken.  In fact I’m more of a winter chicken, and I didn’t want to live alone or far away from my four grandchildren (the other two are ten minutes away).  I tend to get into my writing or my reading or my singing or my praying, and when I’m in that zone, kids are a distraction.  For that matter even a friend in need of a listening ear is an unwelcome intrusion, and then I remember I had no friends when I first moved to Los Angeles and I was lonely, and I couldn’t really play with my grandchildren when I was recovering from a car accident.

So I think I will stop looking at these lovely human beings as distractions, intrustions, irritations.  Is it really so important to check my emails when the baby reaches out to me?  Sometimes a child needs my touch as much as my prayer.  God is available 24/7, and I don’t think he will mind waiting till after I kiss and soothe a child.  Coincidentally here is the baby tugging at me to pick him up, so no spell check or trying to turn out a perfect post.  Bye computer, hello baby .