Over 36 years ago I took a risk that has paid off over and over again through the years. Over 36 years ago I was pregnant with my first child and working night shift in the ICU at our local hospital. It just so happens that another nurse was also pregnant with her first child and working night shift in the OB Unit. It was a small hospital and it is a little hard to hide being seven months pregnant, so during breaks we ended up comparing notes about our pregnancies. Turns out we were both due on the exact same day.
Fast forward a couple of months and we were both home on maternity leave. Being first time mothers we were tired, swollen and insecure about the responsibilities of taking care of these tiny human beings. Another co-worker just had her first baby several months prior and was a little further down this motherhood journey. We saw her as an experienced mom and mentor.
Even though I was exhausted I knew I needed some adult interaction, so I took a risk and invited them (and their new babies – duh) over for lunch. It was no easy task taking care of an infant, getting the house cleaned up, the table set and making a nice hot lunch for people I barely knew. I am so glad I took that risk. We became good friends and spent countless hours talking, changing diapers and sharing lunches.
Fast forward another 36 years and one of these wonderful ladies and I remain the best of friends. We have shared the ups and downs of parenting, from sending our children off to kindergarten to graduation from college and the empty nest. And now we compare notes on our aging bodies instead of pregnancies.
We meet people all of the time but they do not usually develop into a friendship. Friendship must start with a willingness to take a risk and reach out to someone: make the invitation for lunch, suggest taking the enrichment class together or meeting up for a walk and coffee afterwards. Someone has to take the first step and risk. It doesn’t always work. I have made several attempts to get together with an acquaintance or coworker, and while we enjoyed the time, it never really took off into a longer term friendship. But, as the sayings goes, you never know until you try.
It takes continued time, effort and forgiveness to develop deeper friendships. When we lived in separate cities, my dear friend and I took the time to meet up for a yearly trip. While we, thankfully, live in the same area once again, we still take our annual trip. The last several trips we have gone to Hill’s Resort. It is a beautiful, rustic, family owned, lakeside resort tucked in the trees of Northern Idaho. The perfect spot to hunker down, talk, laugh, go on walks, sip wine, eat delicious food, and sew. Yep, we haul our sewing machines there and set up shop at the dining room table. We get a few crazy looks, but therapy is worth a few crazy looks. We just got back from our trip a couple weeks ago and it was as beautiful and therapeutic as always.
Lest you think we just sit around and eat and drink, here are a couple pictures of finished projects:
It can become a bit more challenging to make friends in retirement. We do not have the built in option to meet people through work and our kid’s activities. However, friends become even more important during retirement. They round out our lives and help us realize that we are not insane (smile). There is nothing more validating than hearing someone confirm that they are experiencing the same things at this phase of life. So, I encourage you to take the risk and reach out to someone you would like to get to know better. You never know which time it will develop into a deeper friendship.
3 comments on “Take the Risk”
*reaches for a kleenex*
You have been and continue to be such a blessing in my life. Here’s to the next 30 years!!
Yes, to the next 30 years indeed! Thanks for reading and checking in.