It is early morning in the Good home. I tiptoe out of our bedroom for two reasons. I don’t want to disturb the peaceful sleep of my two guys: my ultimate concierge and my puppy, America. Selfishly I like my alone time with my thoughts. Walking into the kitchen, I make a pot of coffee and sit down with my computer in front of me and watch the sunrise.
Yesterday I had a conversation with my grandson Jack and my daughter Jenny, a long walk with my partner, America and chats throughout the day with my ultimate concierge and Honey Bees. In addition, texts flew back and forth between myself and girlfriends, I had a talk with my mom and ate dinner last night with another couple. As I now watch the sunrise in a glow of color, I am happy and satisfied. I am happy that I have fulfilling relationships on several different levels. I am anything but lonely. However, I could be if I did not make the effort.
Everything we do takes effort. And, often times, to fight loneliness or boredom and to reach out to seek new interests and challenges we have to push ourselves into unknown waters. This takes effort.
The Proven Joys of Belonging to a Large Group
I remember in 1991, my ultimate concierge and I were at an International Real Estate Congress, FIABCI. The large group was started in Paris, France. Today its members comprise 60 countries. FIABCI holds meetings each year in various countries around the globe. There is a lot of socializing and pomp and circumstance at these group meetings, even though the main goal is for real estate people around the world to do business with one another. Consider getting involved in one or more large groups to make an effort to get involved.
I had just married my ultimate concierge and was attending my first Congress in a charming little town in the Swiss Alps. At the time, my husband was a participant and not in leadership. Within a few days, I began to meet very interesting women and decided I really liked this group.
Late one drizzling afternoon, my husband and I stopped into a little coffee shop for hot chocolate. We sat at a table in the window and within minutes, noticed a man walking down the almost-deserted street holding an umbrella over his head. He was the President of the Federation. I looked at my husband and said, “I think you should consider becoming the President of FIABCI.”
He looked up at me with a surprised look on his face and asked, “Why?”
Expanding Horizons Through FIABCI
“For many reasons. First of all, you will make a very good President. Secondly, you will expand your horizons in the real estate industry and thirdly, your social life will expand and your life will become more interesting. You will meet interesting people and make new friendships from around the world. As your wife, I will commit to the responsibilities of a President’s wife.”
You see, darlings, in this organization, a wife played the principle social role: hosting ladies’ luncheons for leadership and other social activities as well as traveling with her husband during the year of his presidency.
We made a pact in that charming little coffee shop, sipping hot chocolate, that as a couple that would become very involved in this group. Over the next several years, my husband took on different roles and in 1996 he became the President of FIABCI. This took effort on both of our parts because as I mentioned, the wife of the President had a social role to play. She had a choice to be actively involved or remain more or less invisible. If she took on her role with gusto, her experiences could be just as fascinating as her husband’s.
Darlings, a whole new marvelous world opened up for me because I made the effort to go beyond what was expected. As a result, today I have friends around the world. Today I am more worldly because of these friendships. This did not happen by accident. This happened because I put forth the effort to fully engage myself in this large group. You must do this too. Don’t let fear stand in your way of making the decision to venture outside your comfort zone.
Finland is the Happiest Country Because of Groups
When I think of women belonging to a group, I am filled with joy and excitement because women, especially those of us after the age of 50, need girlfriends to fight loneliness on many different levels. What better way to establish companionship? If you move to a new city or neighborhood, become an empty nester, are lonely because of a loss or just because you want to expand your social visibility or learn a new hobby, join a group! Within time, a few women will stand out and you will have new opportunities for female friendships.
To prove my point, when a world survey was taken to find the happiest country in the world it was Finland. Why? Because 91% of its citizens belong to a group!
Stay tuned for my new Honey Good Network Group!
Friendships After 50: Togetherness Solves Loneliness
My plate is full. Your plate may be very full, half full or you are lonely. As I have often mentioned, I have many wonderful acquaintances on many different levels: some casual, some because of an interest, some because we laugh and share girly interests and some who are my sisters. However, I might still be lonely if I had not made the effort to find time to join them.
Equally important, I am busy with so much that keeps me active 24/7. If I allowed myself, I could put my friendships on the back burner because I have a doting husband, a doting puppy, many members of my family, my workout, my home, my Honey Good website and my travels.
I believe you know when to pivot to find new avenues of joy. Do you put effort into finding companionship?
I know how important it is to have female friendships. Getting submerged in other avenues of my life is something I experience regularly. I know that time is my worst enemy and that if I want to engage with other women, I must make the effort to find the time. And I do, which brings me joy.
Loneliness can creep into our lives at any time. One day, you wake up and note several changes in your life. Now you are confronted with the choice of action. Often it means moving in a new direction. Other times, it means putting your fear on the backburner and joining a group that meets your needs. Other times, it means bringing a new pet into your life. In my case, it means making time for my girlfriends and my group activities. Whatever it is, there is one thing you must do: you must make an effort.
A Story of Friendship
Here is the sequence of events that took place in one long text message between a group of us.
One of the girls decided to have a Canasta Playing dinner party on a Saturday evening with our husbands, who are trying to learn the game. Here is the tête-à-tête that via text:
“Hi Ladies, we will play at my house and have a pot luck dinner. Everyone will bring something. Should be fun.”
“We are in.”
“Thank you for including us.”
“Husbands and wives, right?”
“How about chicken and salad from next door? We can all chip in.”
“We need more than that. I will make a list.”
“I will be happy to make my couscous or my ramen cakes or whatever. Nice with chicken.”
“I would love to help too.”
“The wine’s covered.”
“I will bring shrimp.”
“I’ve got salads.”
“Grilled vegetables over here.”
“Ok ladies, I think we have it covered:
Appetizers and Drinks/Carole
Chickens/ Susan and Ruthie
Couscous and a potato dish/ Lori
Deserts/ Linda and Carole”
“Come at 5:00 pm with food if u can so we can get organized and start playing. Looking forward.”
Women Need Women
Now, darlings there were several more text messages between us. Furthermore, what is important to note is that we gathered together as a group to share an evening together. We are all making an effort because we know the importance of companionship, giving to one another, learning from one another and helping one another.
I often mention that getting past the decision making is the hardest part of a journey. Fear of making a mistake is often the cause. Please don’t let fear stand in your way. Women need women; make the effort.
My dear readers, do you have groups that you regularly interact with? I would love to hear more about the ties you have in place so we can form an even stronger support system between all of us.