What would we do without our Boomer friends? We’d have to give up any possibility of flourishing with a life of gusto. Without friends, we most certainly would be on the fast track to withering on the vine.
Friends – not just acquaintances or even Facebook friends, but real friends - are important to our health and well-being. They make a huge difference in the quality of our lives. They help us thrive and flourish.
More than 100 studies of mostly Baby Boomers a few years ago showed that those with strong social ties were likely to live longer than those who don’t have such ties. Connecting with others outside of our immediate families helps us sustain life.
Studies have also shown that Boomers with close friends are happier and experience less stress in our lives. We are more likely to reach our health and fitness goals with Boomer friends cheering us on or playing with us in the pursuit. And having close friends lowers our risk of dementia down the road.
Close friends help us get through the crises in our lives, without judgment. They lessen our grief by listening, encouraging and lending a helping hand when we need it. We know we can count on them, no matter what - even if we live miles apart.
When a reality check is in order, we need someone who will tell us the truth rather than just someone who is not willing to be straight for fear of hurting our feelings. Friends do that.
They keep us sane. Our Boomer friends reliably help us remember who we really are when we forget or when we get so down on ourselves for whatever reasons that we can’t find our way out.
A favorite quote by an unknown author says it best: “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”
Now that’s encouraging. And it’s fodder for thought. Are we taking our friends for granted, not realizing how vital they are to our health and happiness? Or have we let them go by the wayside for lack of nurturing the friendship by getting so wrapped up in our issues and daily concerns.
Having and keeping Boomer friends takes time and energy – and it’s worth it. We need to stay in touch, even it’s an occasional call or email. We need to do things together whether it’s travel or reading a common book or going to the theater. When they’re dealing with problems, we need to know it and be there for them, just like we want them there for us.
If we’re truly interested in being healthy, happy and a contribution to the world, we should be making our Boomer friends a priority.
Ma Bell knew what she was talking about with the famous slogan “Reach Out and Touch Someone.” Just be sure that includes your friends. Your life may depend on it. Friendship Day is in July - celebrate it!