Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Life Lessons: "Waking Up" to Close Friendships

In my ethical will, one of the life lessons I've written about is the importance developing and nurturing close friendships, especially same gender friends. I had great boyhood "pals" but, like most men of my generation, I lost touch with them over the years (except for one man I've stayed in contact with). From my 20's into my 40's, I left the world of male friendships behind, focusing on my work and family -- spending no time on close friendships. My only so-called "man friends" were a few work colleagues and a neighbor or two who I'd play bridge with or a very occasional game of golf. None of us were able to talk about anything other than business, sports, or politics with one another.

Thankfully, I got a "wake-up call" -- a gift of the mens' movement in the early 1990's -- and started a group of men friends who I can talk with about anything going on in my life. For over 12 years, we've gotten together for breakfast every Tuesday morning to enjoy each other's company and talk about "our week" and the heart and soul issues of our lives. A few men have come and gone, replaced by others who've stayed. This week, the four men at the breakfast table ranged in age from 61 to 85 (our group's "old guy" bikes 3 miles to the restaurant -- and can do 49 "real" push-ups!). A couple of guys were missing but we know they'll return when they're back in town (or missing the easy companionship of men they can talk to about anything -- or nothing -- in their life that day).

Most years, our men's group has also gone to the Coast or to the Cascade mountains for a weekend together. No planned activities -- just time to talk, cook meals together (we eat very well indeed!), enjoy long morning walks on the beach or trails, and "hang out" in the natural beauty of Oregon. It's an incomparable experience that I wish every man could enjoy at some time in his life. I suspect that the world as we know it would be more peaceful and all relationships more harmonious if men of all ages had a such close group of friends.

My focus on male friendship was prompted by an article I read recently -- an excerpt from Bob Greene's book, And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship. Here's a link to the article:

Friends for Life

May Bob's story bless you with laughter and tears (as it did me when I read it). And inspire you to take the first steps (if you haven't already done so) to invite close friendships into your life -- making the commitment of time and consistent willingness to "show up" for the people who become your own friends for life.
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1 comment:

Dr. Bernard J. Baca said...

Todd, as I grow older the sweetness of male friendships has sustained me! Your article today stirs up nostalgic times with my men friends and comforts me as I know we'll continue future connections with each other. thanks.