Why get up in the morning? Part 3: Begin with others

July 1st, 2014

I love Monday night dinner. My daughter, her husband, and our grandson join us. Three or four close friends come too. We share a meal, and more.

We catch up.

How did Tom’s latest marathon go or how is his training coming? Dave tells of his plans for getting to the marathon so he can see his son, Tom, run. We lament with Clare on her workload as a college teacher. We hear how the latest committee meeting went at somebody’s church. We plan how we’ll get to the old car show at the Frist Center before it goes away.

Evan, our grandson, gets to practice his manners; he also helps Grandma deliver dessert. We celebrate birthdays with special meals and just plain enjoy one another.

We check on the missing ones too.

Everybody wants to find out how Amanda is faring on her visit with her ailing mother in Bolivia. Likewise we ask for news of Casey, who’s off to Australia for the semester.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, we do it partly because of simplicity. In our hectic, run-like-the-wind world all of these people have jobs or go to school. All have busy, active lives. All have responsibilities beyond work. Except Crys and me, of course. We’re retired.

Cough. Cough.

Well, it doesn’t matter that we too have full schedules. Hosting this meal is important to us. It is our contribution to a stronger family and deeper relationships. We’ve been doing this meal for the past 11 years. Why?

Because every one of our family and friends feels blessed to not have to cook one night a week. Not to mention that their lives are simpler. No menu planning. No cooking. No cleanup. Just show up and have a pleasant meal where laughter is also served in heaping platefuls.

Along with exercise and meaningful activity, staying connected to family and friends is the third leg of the table that supports my retirement. It is one of the reasons I get up in the morning.

Connections with family and friends are vital to well-being, both physical and mental. Over and over I find articles about how friendships impact how long you live, how happy you are, how healthy you are, how fast you recover, and how well you cope with stress. Positively impact. Friendships also reduce how much pain you feel—even the number of colds you get!

Friendship is worth the investment. So, every day in my retirement, I’m mindful of the needs to find people to hang out with, to start new relationships, and to deepen existing associations. My wife, Crys, and I enjoy cards with friends, meet and greet acquaintances in the various exercise venues we have, join in study and activities with friends at church, and spend time apart with our individual friends, going to movies (Ed) or to lunch (Crys). Three times a month, I sing and play with friends in a musical group. Crys has horsey friends, including ones from her volunteer work at Saddle Up! (a therapeutic riding program for kids with disabilities).

We care for each other both by doing all these things and by valuing our own relationship. We take walks together. We plan special times together. We travel some. We talk about the next steps in our retirement. We work together on books and blogs (I write; she edits). And, yes, we often take lunch together.

So, I challenge you to a new goal:

When you get out of bed in the morning, figure out one or two ways during the day that you can find friends, make new friends, or deepen your friendships. Friends make getting up in the morning worth it.

  • Do you have a regular meal or activity with family and friends you’d like to tell all of us about?
  • What are you doing today to be a friend?

 Until next time. How is your retirement going? Click my Retirement Assessment to find out what's missing!

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