I found it both amusing & horrifying that life in a seniors' home can be compared to high school, with its social cliques & pecking orders (you mean I'm going to have to go through all that crap AGAIN??!). But I was somewhat comforted by a quote in yesterday's (Tuesday's) article, referring to the importance of social networks -- friends, not just family members:
An Australian study of more than 1,500 people older than 70 found that those who ranked in the top third in terms of having strong friendships were 22 per cent less likely to die over the decade than people in the lowest third. Close family relationships didn't show the same longevity benefits. (emphasis mine)
...as Ms. Smyth [Sheila Smyth, program director for the Terraces of Baycrest] says, "Kids do not a social life make."
Dh & I don't have a huge circle of friends -- guess we need to work on that! We tend to be homebodies, & a lot of our social life (such as it is) revolves around birthday parties, showers & weddings among the members of dh's extended family. As I've written before, we see a lot less of them than we used to, as everyone has gotten married, moved further afield, & started families of their own.
I've read many bloggers & board comments on the difficulty of making new friends as an adult -- especially when you don't have kids & aren't hooked into the mommy/school/activity networks -- & we're no exception. We know the neighbours on either side of us well enough to say hello to & chat with over the backyard fence, but that's about it. Cordial, but not chummy. I have "friends" at work, but we don't tend to socialize outside of office hours, aside from the occasional organized group outing to a local watering hole (although I have stayed in touch with my "office best friend," who is now retired). We have also made some good friends through our pregnancy loss support group over the past 10 years (although two couples recently moved away).
And I have two friends in the area from my "previous life" before I got married & moved here -- one a friend made through my very first job, who lives about an hour from me and meets me downtown for lunch a couple of times a year; the other, my first-year university roommate, who lives on the other side of the city but works across the street from me as a high-powered corporate lawyer at one of the country's biggest law firms. We used to get together every month or so for lunch, but she has been strangely incommunicado this past year. I can't remember the last time we had lunch or even spoke, except that it was well before Christmas. I'm not sure why, other than that she is an extremely busy person (not only professionally but personally, caught in the classic sandwich generation dilemma -- young son and aging, stubborn father). For my part, once we got past Christmas & my birthday in January, I didn't want it to seem like I was hinting for our usual birthday lunch/gift exchange.
We'll finally be getting together on Friday for lunch (unless one of us has to cancel). I was the one who finally called -- to wish HER a happy birthday last week. I'm curious whether she'll have anything to say about why the long silence. The last time I went this long without hearing from her, I found out she was getting a divorce. Hopefully nothing like that this time around.
Next: my 100th published post!