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Tips for Adulthood: Five Recurrent Dreams

dreams

dreamsWell, as long as sleep is now the new sex, I thought I’d tap into what actually happens when most of us sleep: we dream.

Not all of us, I suppose. An old boyfriend of mine used to maintain that he dreamt mostly in images:  he’d be standing out in the middle of a field or perched atop a mountain.

Huh?” I thought. “You mean you don’t dream that someone’s chasing you around your kitchen table with a knife?”

Not only are my dreams hopelessly plot-driven and transparent, they are also recurrent. There are four or five dreams that I must have at least once a month. Every time, I wake up bathed in sweat. But once I began to reflect upon these dreams and analyze them more closely, I realized that they are all – in one way or another – telltale dreams of adulthood.

On the off-chance that you’ve had them – or similar recurrent dreams – I present them here so that we can all get a better handle on our collective demons:

Read the rest of this post over at Better After 50

Image: Realm of Dreams via PublicDomainPictures.net

 

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Clubs for Grownups

ironing

ironingMany of us sent our kids back to school this week, so I am re-posting a blog on the  “back to school” theme.

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably just finished purchasing (or dusting off) all the backpacks, pens, pencils and athletic equipment that your kids will need for the upcoming school year. Now you’re grappling with after-school activities: which ones your kid should join, which ones to drop, and how to coordinate schedules across different members of the household.

Even if you’re not a parent, Autumn invariably brings a spirit of renewal. Just out of habit  – from all of those years of going to school yourself – you’re probably thinking about what activities you’ll be participating in this coming academic year: which book groups, health clubs or religious social organizations you’ll be frequenting on a weekly or monthly basis.

As you do that, I want to encourage all of you to join a new club. And I want you to reach outside the box. In other words, feel free to carry on with the clubs you’re already a member of. But push yourself to try something different – really different – on a whim that speaks to one of your secret interests. (By way of example, here’s a club in New York City that was inspired by members’ love of kidlit.)

Why do this? Because pursuing hobbies in adulthood is loads of fun.

To get you started on your brainstorming process, I’m going to propose some out-of-the-box suggestions I got by soliciting ideas on Linked In. Here are five “clubs for grown-ups” that sound absolutely fabulous to me:

1. Language Clubs – I was struck by the number of people who wrote to me about clubs that were organized around speaking another language. Sometimes, these took place around a meal (e.g. French or Italian Cuisine) or a wine from a particular region. Others coalesced around a film or book by a foreign auteur. But in all cases, you are required to participate in said activity while speaking a language that wasn’t your native tongue. Fun!

2. House Exchange Clubs – We’ve all heard of house swaps. Usually, someone who lives in, say, Tokyo exchanges houses with someone who lives in New York City. It’s an affordable way to have a holiday abroad. But some friends of mine are about to join a house exchange club in their own city. The idea is to meet up monthly at one member’s home while everyone else browses around to see what kinds of art, music and decor are on display. Then, over the holidays, you arrange to swap homes with that friend. I love this idea – a way to explore your own city but from a different vantage point. So clever!

3. Fix-it Clubs. One of my friends who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. wrote to me about a fixers collective that’s sprung up in her neighborhood. Here’s the website. Every Thursday, a group of people get together and place broken objects on a large, common fixing table. They then share ideas and techniques for repairing, mending, enhancing or re-purposing the objects, with “Master Fixers” there to offer support and guidance. The larger social message behind this club is to encourage people to value more things in their environment. If I had even a hint of a DIY bone in my body (and lived in Brooklyn!), I’d be all over this.

4. Admin Club. Another gem. This comes from a friend of mine in Washington, D.C. who gets together once a month with friends to tackle all those dreaded tasks that would otherwise languish on their to-do lists ad infinitum. It might be tax returns. Or a gazillion phone calls to the insurance company for a reimbursement. (Gosh, I don’t miss American health insurance.) Or writing out 25 party invitations for your cousin’s bridal shower. Whatever onerous task is dragging you down, you go deal with it…among friends, who offer both support and company. This club has my name written all over it. (Ironing name tags on school uniforms, anyone?)

5. Procrastinators Club. Finally, let me end with my hands-down favorite, which is a sort of gambler’s version of the Admin Club. Here’s how it works:  Upon joining, you kick in $20 and name a project you are working on and how much progress you will commit to making on it by the next meeting. If, by said meeting, you haven’t hit that goal, you lose your stake to whomever has completed their task and you have to ante up again. (In actual practice, the friend who wrote to me about this club subsequently volunteered that everyone in it continued to be unproductive and – not surprisingly – eventually lost all energy to keep the club going…) But hey, they get an A* for invention. What a great idea!

How about you? What sorts of zany clubs have you been tempted to join or create? Do tell…

Image: Black and Decker Corded Steam Iron by Your Best Digs via Flickr

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Tips For Adulthood: Five Ways to Rethink Vacations

vacation

vacationOn occasional Wednesdays, I offer tips for adulthood.

The summer is nearly over. Here in London, where I live, it’s been well over 90 degrees Farenheit for the last few days, and my daughter and I still have one day outing left before she returns to school next week. So I’m not quite ready to get out the iron and attach name tags to her school uniform (which is my own official marker for the end of summer).

Still, despite all the research telling us how good vacations are for both us and for our employers, Americans, in particular, struggle to use up their vacation days.  I myself am guilty as charged. And bad habits start young. Fearing “vacation shaming” from bosses and co-workers, millennials are now the least likely cohort of workers to use up their vacation time, despite becoming the largest generation in the workforce.

In my newfound embrace of balance, however, I had a better summer this year in terms of rest.  So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned:

a. Take shorter, more frequent vacations. Apparently, holiday memories tend to depend not on how long the holiday was, but on the intensity of the experience. So even going away for only two or three days can be enough to re-charge your batteries.  Moreover, research shows that vacations from work seem to have positive, though short-lived effects on wellbeing.  This is perhaps why a study in the Journal of Happiness Studies recommended spacing your holidays out evenly throughout the year, rather than bunching them all at once.

b. Go alone. Our family had a very different vacation experience this summer than our normal fare – which is either to go on one, short family holiday or to stay home. This year, each of the four of us took short trips on our own, in addition to the short family holiday. I myself went to Argentina for 10 days at the beginning of July to see an old friend. It was blissful. I’d had a very busy and difficult Spring on both the professional and personal fronts. So going away without the strain of having to coordinate my time with the other three members of my family was a huge relief. Some days, I strolled the streets of Buenos Aires. Other days, I stayed home and read while sipping beer and listening to Cuban music. I came back ready and able to spend time with my family.

c. Split up and do your own thing. Which brings me to my truly revolutionary vacation suggestion: if you’re going on holiday with your family or friends, don’t try to do everything together. My family tends to take breaks to European cities when we go on vacation. We all love experiencing foreign foods, cultures and languages. But our ideal time spent in a museum varies enormously. I can last about one and a half hours, two max. My husband can do at least three; my daughter, five; and my son, eight. So this year, we instituted a new rule:  everyone gets to do their own thing during the day and we meet up for meals. It worked beautifully. Our family holiday was in Vienna. Both of my kids speak German and they are both very comfortable using public transport. It’s also a very safe city. So I got to visit the obscure clock museum in Old Vienna, my daughter got to go to the imperial palace, Schönbrunn, my husband was able to take a massive detour to find the best coffee ever and my son, well, let’s just say Egon Schiele got a lot of face time.

d. Take a micro trip. I first learned about these from my neighbor, a guy in his 30’s who was setting off one Thursday afternoon around 4 pm to cycle down to the British Coast, camp out on a beach, and wake up early to cycle back up to work. That’s not my personal idea of fun, but he said he’d been sprinkling lots of these little mini-vacations throughout the summer and had found them quite energizing. Apparently, micro trips are all the rage in 2019. (Note: you can also take a train or a plane; you don’t have to cycle!)

e. Staycations really are fun. I’m a huge fan of the staycation. We probably do one once every other year, and I’ve never been disappointed. The trick is not to try and sneak in work, even though you’re at home. Sure, you may wish to tackle something on your dreaded To Do list, and that’s fine. But mainly staycations should be about discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary and being more mindful about where you live. And if all else fails and you either can’t – or simply won’t – take a proper holiday, at least do yourself the favour of adopting a vacation mindset on your weekend.

How about you? What tips have you discovered for maximizing happiness on vacations?

Image: Summer Sun Beach Greece by KRiemer via Pixabay

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Reasons To Read Tara Westover’s ‘Educated’

family

familyOn occasional Wednesdays, I offer tips for adulthood.

It’s been a while since I posted about a book in this series. But ever since I finished Tara Westover’s amazing memoir, Educated, I felt the need to talk about this book.

I was initially reluctant to dive into this international best-seller, fearful of all of the “hype.” Eventually, however, curiosity got the better of me. So when my husband started reading it for his book group this month, I grabbed it off his night stand and gobbled it down in practically one sitting.

Westover grew up poor on the edge of a mountain in rural Idaho to fundamentalist, “end of days” Mormon parents who denied her access to medical care and schooling. I grew up comfortably in a standard-issue, New York suburb, with all the trappings that go with it.

Still, there was so much in this memoir that resonated for me. When I mentioned it to a friend, she said that she thought it should be “required reading for all teenage girls.” I agree.

It should also be required reading for all grownups. Here’s why:

a. It’s about family. To say that this is a book about family is to state the obvious. Westover is the youngest of seven children, and the book is mostly about the distinct and often conflicting voices within that busy and combustible household. But the book is really about the pull that family exerts on you, even after you leave, and even – in her case – if staying means renouncing your self-hood. As the youngest child, Westover was freed up to be the risk-taker and the rebel (which in her case, amounted to leaving home to get “educated.”) As someone who left home at the age of 18 and now lives an ocean away, I could fully relate to the complex mix of regret, longing and empowerment that accompanies the decision to strike out on your own. Those feelings never fully leave you.

b. It’s about finding your own narrative. As Westover navigates the peripatetic journey that leads her towards, around and, ultimately, away from Idaho over the years, she gradually learns how to give voice to her own narrative about her upbringing. It is a narrative that is decidedly at odds with the accepted narrative most of her family maintains. I firmly believe that identifying your narrative about your family of origin is a key milestone of adulthood, right up there with learning to drive and paying your own rent for the first time. I still remember vividly the first time I felt able to articulate my take on my childhood to my mother. I was about 37. My world view didn’t square at all with her memory of events, but then again, it shouldn’t. We’re all different people who experience family in our unique ways. For me, anyway, one of the major benefits of therapy is finally crafting your own narrative and making it your truth.

c. It’s about mental illness. One of the central conflicts Westover outlines in this book is the fight between modern medicine (practiced by “outsiders,” even others within their Mormon faith) and the homeopathy her family practices at home. Within her family’s medical belief system, there is no vocabulary for mental illness. When I was growing up in the 1970s, something similar prevailed:  mental illness was simply not discussed. There’s been a sea change in our cultural relationship to mental illness in the intervening years. But Westover provides a frank and chilling account of what it’s like to live in a family where mental illness goes un-diagnosed and untreated.

d.  It’s about domestic violence. Without spoiling any of the plot, suffice to say that there is a lot of violence within Westover’s turbulent childhood. Some of that stems from the nature of the family’s principal livelihood, which is running a junk yard. Some of that stems from said mental illness. The need for a child to feel safe and secure is continually invoked by social workers and policy makers alike as the number one condition for sound emotional development. But you don’t have to have been subjected to routine physical violence as a child to appreciate what it’s like to grow up in a family where you don’t feel safe. As Westover comments somewhere in the book, she gradually comes to realize that the people who were meant to protect her from violence (her parents) couldn’t – or simply wouldn’t. Lack of such security generates a permanent scar and is a breeding ground for life-long anxiety.

e. It’s about how we define home. One of the main characters in this book is the mountain in Idaho – she refers to it as  “Princess” – next to which Westover grows up. Despite whatever is going on between her and her family at any point in time, that mountain is a cherished friend:  a reassurance – and perhaps a reminder – of some of the positive aspects of her childhood. When I go back to my home town in New Jersey, as I have on occasion over the years even though my parents moved away right after I left college, I feel the same way. What resonates most for me aren’t the scattered friends who still live there. It’s the physical surroundings: the blaze of American flags hanging from nearly every doorway…the greasy pizza parlor where I ate lunch with my high school boyfriend…the town pool where I spent many a summer swimming with my siblings, waiting for the one day per summer when my mother would agree to buy us popsicles from the Ice Cream Van. You don’t have to identify with where you came from to feel a form of love for it.

And that, perhaps, is the greatest lesson of all that I took away from this book.

Image: Family Ties by Paladin27 via Flickr

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Three Mindsets for Professional Reinvention

singing

singingAt this point in my life, I like to believe that I pretty much know what I think about professional reinvention. As a veteran of several career changes, I’ve given a lot of thought to not only how – but when – to embark on a midlife career makeover.

But sometimes the learning one does along the way isn’t so much about adopting new tactics, as it is about discovering new mindsets. Moreover, as someone who’s frequently asked for advice on the subject of midlife reinvention, I find that different messages land differently with different audiences. So it’s always great to have some new frameworks to hand for inspiring others in their own professional development journey.

In the last week, I’ve come across three new mindsets for professional reinvention which I  thought I’d share because they really spoke to me, and may also speak to you:

Don’t get trapped in the ‘paralysis of analysis’

I got this idea from an interview I heard on the wonderful Second Act Stories podcast, which is all about  showcasing people pursuing “second acts” of various sorts in later life. The interview was with a woman called Jane Canapini, who – after spending 20 years in advertising – decided to launch a business devoted to her life-long passion, travel. The business is aimed at a mature audience and is (appropriately) called Grownup Travels. (Great concept!).

Based on her own experience, Canapini was trying to suggest that you don’t necessarily need to over-think career change in midlilfe. Sometimes the thing you ought to be doing is staring you right in the face, because it’s what you were doing in your spare time anyway (in her case, travel.)

I wholeheartedly endorse this principle. I am, by nature, a highly analytical person. I spent the better part of year inside a self-styled chrysalis reflecting on my next career move. But there is something to be said for leading from your gut – or your heart – rather than your brain, in selecting your next move. If you find that you’re stuck for ideas, think about three things you would do tomorrow if you had nothing else planned. Or what you did as a child. (I stole both of these ideas from the amazing Elle Luna, by the way.) Chances are, those are your passions and the answer to “what’s next?” lies somewhere in there.

Sing your unsung song 

This strap line comes from a story I was told by a former colleague who now runs the learning and development program at a large British company. He was telling me about a restaurant he’d recently toured that had received incredibly high ratings for its line management. He was there to see what tips he could glean to inspire managers in his own workplace.

The secret? All managers in this restaurant were required to ask their direct reports what they most needed in order to develop either personally or professionally – even if it wasn’t related to their jobs. In one case, a 21 year-old waitress was empowered to pursue her love of photography, which she was on the verge of giving up because the class she wanted to take conflicted with her waitressing duties. So her boss flexed her schedule to enable her to take the course. He was banking on the fact that if she could feel more fulfilled outside of work, she might come to feel more engaged at work. He was right. Subsequently, she proposed doing a photo shoot for a charity event at the restaurant. It was the proverbial win-win for employer and employee alike.

This woman was only 21, yet she already had an “unsung song.” By the time you hit 50, you might have several of those. As we age, we all yearn for something we didn’t do – the proverbial road not taken. It might be the novel we always meant to write…the sport we always dreamed of playing…the island in the Mediterranean where we secretly hoped to spend all of our summers.

You may not be able to make that “song” 100% of what you do. But you might be able to work it into a portfolio careerpursue a side-hustle, or engage actively in volunteer work.

Give Something Away for Free

This final mindset comes from a wonderful little book a friend gave me called The Go-Giver. The basic premise of the book is that you don’t succeed in life because you take more away; you succeed because you give back.

The lesson for career change is that if there’s something you really want to do, give it away for free. Set up a blog about your unsung song. Give an unpaid speech. Offer free advice or services.

If your eventual goal is to make money off of this passion, you obviously can’t give it away for free forever. But you may find, paradoxically, that if you build it, they will come. More importantly, you will feel that you are not just thinking about, but actually realizing, your unsung song (see point one). And that’s a great feeling.

How about you? What are your secrets for moving forward in a midlife career change?

Image: Close up photo of woman singing by Oleg Magni via Pexels

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Household Items You Can’t Do Without

corkscrew

On occasional Wednesdays I offer tips for adulthood:

corkscrewI recently posted about five household items you can do without.

When my husband read that post, he said: “You know, a lot of people might not find those odd.” To which I responded: “C’mon! A pickle picker? Really?”

But I stand corrected. To date, the running count on (self-declared) pickle-picker enthusiasts is up to five.

So this week, in a nod to my gadget-loving husband, I’m going to post about five  household items I’ve learned – courtesy of him – that you can’t do without. Or at least can’t do without once you’ve had one yourself:

Read the rest of this post over on Better After 50

Image: Corkscrew via Pixabay

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The Social Value of Older Workers

In the seemingly never-ending conversation about the “future of work,” older workers figure prominently. There is growing recognition that enabling older workers to remain economically productive is good for their well-being, good for their employers and good for the economy. But I would like to highlight another benefit older workers can bring to the table: their potential to help solve social problems.

First, a brief detour to the well-known numbers:  older workers are a large, and rapidly growing, segment of the workforce across the world. In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 25% of the country’s labour force in 2024 will be 55 or older; that’s up from 22% in 2014 and just 12% in 1994. In the U.K., the number of those aged over 70 who are in full- or part-time employment has been steadily rising year on year for the past decade, reaching a peak of 497,946 in the first quarter of this year – an increase of 135% since 2009.

Not everyone agrees that this surge in the number of working “perennials”  – as this cohort has sometimes been called — is necessarily to be welcomed. A recent RSA report examining the impact of the technological age on older workers in the UK, for example, outlined four different scenarios, not all of which were positive.

But contrary to the traditional view of older workers as an unmitigated drain on resources, there is growing appreciation of what they might bring to the table.

Read the rest of this post over on the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing blog

Image: Office Business Colleagues Meeting via Pixabay

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Household Items You Can Do Without

pickle

pickleOn occasional Wednesdays, I offer tips for adulthood.

My husband is a gadget freak. He loves coming home with all manner of things that ostensibly serve to make life easier. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. But the other day he had a real doozy. Having visited the local hardware store, he came home with a device – wait for it – that extracts pickles from a pickle jar. (Cue: “Who Stole the Pickle from the Pickle Jar?”)

No, really, he did. It looks like a narrow plastic syringe for giving kids medicine, except that when you push it, four tiny metal pincer claws emerge to grab that elusive pickle. Nuff’ said.

Inspired by this dubious purchase (to be fair, it only set us back only about one pound thirty), I herewith give you five household items you (really) can do without:

Read the rest of this post over on Better After 50

Image: Pickle via Wikimedia Commons

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Reasons to Visit Argentina

tango

tangoOn occasional Wednesdays, I offer tips for adulthood.

I’ve just come back from a short holiday in Argentina – the land that brought you Eva Peron,  the Tango, Gauchos and so much more. I am using this occasion to share a post I wrote about Argentina seven years ago, when I last visited this magical country. The idea is to convince you why it might be worth your while to plan a trip there in the future, if you haven’t already visited.

To wit, here are five reasons to visit Argentina:

1. The food. When I say “the food,” I really should calibrate this by saying “the meat.” It’s no secret that Argentine’s consume an inordinate amount of meat. (They have the highest per capital consumption of beef in the world.) It’s not at all unusual for them to have beef for lunch and dinner – sometimes even for breakfast too, for good measure! And they have no concerns that this is at all unhealthy. So it was with some trepidation that I warned my husband – who fancies himself a Pollo-Vegetarian – that we would be consuming a lot of meat on our holiday and that there would be nowhere to hide. (Except pasta; because of their strong Italian heritage, Argentines also eat a lot of pasta.) But lo and behold! He loved it. Once our hosts started cranking up the asado (barbeque), he thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Lamb, pig, cow – you name it. They really know how to prepare it in the most succulent ways imaginable. (Shame that my daughter announced mid-way through the first week that she was a vegetarian. I told her that little experiment in identity-formation would have to wait until we got home.)

2. Tango. I’m sorry. I know that it may sound cheesy, but you simply cannot leave Argentina without seeing a Tango. You don’t need to go to one of the over-priced dinner-theatre shows in central Buenos Aires to do this. We saw our first Tango on a square in the middle of the Capital’s artsy San Telmo neighborhood one afternoon, and the second one performed by my friend’s 78-year-old parents in in her living room on Christmas Eve. There is something utterly captivating about the intricacy of the footwork, the dramatic flourish of the music and the smoldering, sexy undercurrent of the dance itself. Have a look.

3. Glaciers. After a week in Buenos Aires, we headed South to Patagonia. (While you’re there, get a hold of Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. Great travel partner.) I’ll be honest. I’d never given much thought to Patagonia before, beyond the odd nod to those super-cozy, colorful fleeces we all don. But Patagonia is also home to the most amazing Glacier National Park. I’d seen glaciers years ago in the United States and Canada, and I thought they were pretty cool. But those paled by comparison. The glaciers in Patagonia were unbelievable – each one had its own shape, character and personality, almost – and extended on for miles. If you were lucky, you could witness a small piece crumble, break off and fall into the water – adding to the pool, which was truly spectacular.

4. Penguins. Even further South lies Tierra del Fuego, the self-described “end of the world.” We took a boat from the city of Ushuaia to check out some penguin colonies, along a route once traveled by Charles Darwin himself. (Thank goodness all that seventh grade social studies finally came in handy!) Particularly cool – if you ever make it this far South – is the Museo Akatushun on the Estancia Harberton, a working museum/laboratory on one of the little islands along the Beagle Channel where they dissect and display marine wildlife from the region. Check out the bone house – an olfactory wonder!

5. Psychoanalysis. I read somewhere not so long ago that Argentina has more psychologists per capita than any other country in the world. So when my good friend there suggested that I take my eleven year-old to see an analyst to deal with his asthma, I had to smile. My own view is that my kid probably needs a new inhaler rather than a shrink, but I love the fact that people there are so open about therapy. God knows they could they use some of that up here in the U.K.

Image: Tango Dancing in Argentina by werner22brigitte via pixabay

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Dating in Later Life…for Friends

friendship

friendshipI went on a date recently. No, I wasn’t cheating on my husband. I was meeting a friend of a friend for coffee.

Much like real “set-ups,” I put this one off for a long time. Our mutual friend had introduced us months ago. And while I periodically emailed this woman – and she me – to try and find a convenient place and date, neither one of us really put much effort into it. The meeting languished on my “long” To Do list, falling somewhere between “polish silver jewelry” and “figure out religion.”

And then, one day, when I was scrolling through my email, I came across her name and thought: “What the heck?”

Finding Your Type

I’ve written before about how hard it can be to find your “type” when you’re dating for friends in adulthood.

On the surface, this lady I eventually met up with had everything going for her: she was a psycho-therapist (and we all know how I love a good therapist), she specialises in mid-life transitions (Hello!) and she was Jewish (Nuff’ said).

But, of course, people can look great on paper and still be total duds in real life. (I once went on a date with a guy in DC who seemed like reasonable enough boyfriend material, but who then spent the entire evening telling me how he’d been been listed as one of Washington’s 100 most powerful people. Right after telling me his salary and his work-out regime.) Blech.

Not so here. Within half an hour, this therapist and I began jointly analyzing the link between my being the youngest of four children and how that affects my attitudes towards my own kids’ sibling rivalry.

I knew I’d found my people. By the time we ordered our second pot of fresh mint tea, I was in love.

Why Real Life Friendships Matter

In the hyper-connected world which we all inhabit these days, it’s easy to fall back on virtual friends.  I, myself, have made loads of friends Online over the years. Some of those friendships have now claimed a seat at the table on my personal Board of Directors. Others are people I simply enjoy catching up with from time to time on Facebook.

But the internet can’t yield the sort of benefits that derive from close, real-life friendships. Research shows that having robust, diverse social relationships can have a host of wellness benefits, including longevity, happiness and professional success.

And it’s not just close friends who matter, either. The New York Times recently published an article on the importance of loose ties. The thrust of the article was that by cultivating low-level friendships at places we frequent – whether churches, bars or PTA meetings – we become less lonely and more empathetic. These “low stakes” friendships are also a fantastic source of recommendations for everything from hair salons to accountants.

The Value of Friendship

In a compelling column in 2014, New York Times columnist David Brooks declared that if someone magically gave him $500 million, he’d use it to foster adult friendships. His vision was sort of like a giant summer camp, composed of grown-ups drawn from all different backgrounds. Brooks believes that having close friends helps you make better decisions, adhere to a higher standard of behavior, and – ultimately – be more authentic.

I’m totally with him. I’m not sure I’ve got the cash right now to go to camp. But I do know that I need to keep putting myself out there, meeting new people, and soldering old ties.

In the meantime, I’m having dinner next month with my new Bestie. She’s bringing her husband and I’m bringing mine.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll become friends too.

Image: Backlit Dawn Foggy Friendship by Helen Lopes via Pexels