Here in Florida I have friends from several worlds: bicycling, dragon boat racing, my neighborhood and other activities across the county. There is minimal overlap among these worlds, and I navigate them comfortably.
At this stage of life and in this retirement-oriented community, there’s no predicting who will connect with another. Relationships are developed without regard to geographic origin, career or financial resources, but rather for common interests, life experience and even simply proximity. Rick and I biked alongside a few men for years and now I also dine out with them and their wives. A single woman in my dragon boat club has become a good friend with whom to have fun evenings out and about. A neighbor hosts the best mahjong gatherings. Another woman has helped me develop contacts for writing assignments. Before this time in life I would never have met them; today they are important to me.
I don’t, however, expect these people to be lifelong friends. There are people in my past who were there when I needed them. Aging and health, interests and other demands on our time will erode some of the friendships I so treasure now. Other friends will surface when they are wanted in my future. I hope I have served as a trusted confidante for other men and women in my life, and currently have some acquaintances for whom I provide support.
Sunday I several hours conversing with a wise friend. Through her mindfulness practice, she has noted that when she remains in the present, without regard to the past or the future, she is not only balanced and serene, she is nowhere. True present is elusive; once you give your mind permission to focus on the present, it is already in the past. Friends may come and go, yet their value in our lives are memorable and immeasurable.
Wherever you go, there you are. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn