A Season for Everything—The Personal Side
Many, many years ago I remember reading a study about aging white males. The study said that older white men who were single (widowers or never married) and had no friends or close family relationships had a significantly higher rate of suicide. The chance of suicide only increased in these men if they struggled with alcoholism and/or substance abuse.
For some reason, that study (and I have read hundreds of studies in my life) stuck with me. I think it is because I know deep down inside that relationships are the most important thing in life (to me). I have always felt this way and that is one reason why I became a therapist. I believe wholeheartedly in the power a positive relationship holds not only to support, but sometimes even help transform, another human being.
When I was younger, I was tempted to take offense when a friendship fizzled out due to a friend moving, having a baby, or just being in a different life season. Now I realize that the only constant in life is change. I still grieve when a close friend moves away or life circumstances cause us to only see or talk to each other a few times a year. However, I have learned to foster friendships in whatever season I find myself with whomever I can connect with based on my current life situation. If you think about it, little kids are experts at this. Have you ever watched a group of small children together? They are not awkward with each other or slow to get to know one another. They dive right in and play with one another unabashedly. Sometimes I think we could learn a thing or two from them.
If you are in a beautiful life season surrounded by genuine souls who celebrate your victories and cry with you when life gets messy, I beg of you to “lean in” and savor your season. I have been blessed during a few life seasons to find myself next to some of the kindest, most loyal and truest friends a person could ever hope for. The first friend I had like this I did not really treasure because I assumed we would be friends forever…until life moved her across the country. However, ever since then I have really tried to cherish the “gem friendships” I have been so lucky to experience.
If you do not have many friends (or perhaps any friends) in this life season, take inventory. Ask yourself what your interests are and what kind of groups you would like to belong to. Research what kinds of groups are in your area. Talk to the people you see every day at work, school or the gym and find out what they are into and what kind of groups they belong to. Most of all, don’t live life alone.
If you are feeling stressed or isolated a licensed Orlando therapist can provide the support you need in your current life season. Your therapist can help you identify potential members of your support system and coping skills…and sometimes even connect you with local support groups. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with an experienced mental health counselor.