Changing friendships

We looked like this just yesterday! Source: Images-pictures.org

We looked like this just yesterday!
Source: Images-pictures.org

This week I had dinner with some friends from my working days. I was close to all them. We shared secrets and worries and heart breaks.

We supported each other during the bad times and counseled each other gently. We made each other feel normal during those moments when we weren’t feeling it.

Real friendship.

Two of us have retired. One is on the verge of retirement with the others not that far behind.

Retirement changes things. We no longer have the work chatter because…well…two of aren’t involved in it anymore. We get disconnected to the drama and the players change. (Note: The drama doesn’t change just the players!)

Three of us did day-long shopping trips to outlets. We’d start early in the morning and go all day with a meal at the end. There were endless trips to the car to lighten our load. We could easily spend two hours in a shoe store. The kitchen store was another one that could book an afternoon.

We came home with treasures and a happy heart. Friendship and bargains too – doesn’t get much better than that.

We haven’t gone since I retired. Retirees don’t need clothes or shoes. There isn’t enough opportunity to wear what we have. It ruins the buzz when you can’t wear it the next day.

Even window shopping loses its allure.

The next person to retire will move a few hours away. Yes we say we will get together but it gets harder and it won’t happen often.

I already feel a sense of loss. It is change. The change will be good for her as she’ll be close to her family and very young grandkids.

That doesn’t stop me from having a pity party for myself. I’m sure this is part of my adjustment just as she adjusted to my retirement.

Even good things (retirement) have some unexpected side effects. Friendships are always changing. Nothing stays the same.

What’s that saying? Oh yes, “a door closes and another one opens.” So do I pick door #2 or #3?

62 thoughts on “Changing friendships

  1. I do understand, Kate! One of my very closest friends, a true “buddy,” moved to Virginia a year ago. We talk on the phone and email…I miss going out to lunch! I get it. I know nothing stays the same, but I’m not sure I’m required to like it!

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  2. My sister retired 2 years ago and you sound so much like her. I’m pretty sure she owns all of whatever QVC has to offer in jewelry, including a full sized dresser for safe keeping. Now she is giving it away or selling it on Ebay since she isn’t getting all gussied up for work anymore. I’ve benefited greatly from this so I’m not complaining. She was very down about her changes for some time, but things got better over time like they always do.

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    • I get a sadness sometimes over lost friendships. (I also get a sadness from my memories of no wrinkles and lots of energy.) I enjoy retirement greatly but it took me more than a year to decompress. It’s like a lot of things. You don’t really understand it until you experience it. There are a lot of upsides. Hopefully your sister will revel in the positives. My friend who is moving is a big QVC person. I am sure she has a jewelry collection that rivals your sister.

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  3. Kate … I’m glad you were able to reconnect with your friends. Change is a mixed blessing. We moved to Florida to be close to our daughters. But, in doing so, I left behind friends who knew me “way back when.” It was nice connecting with some of them when we visited Central New York.

    Options for door #2 or #3 sound intriguing. Go for it. 😉

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  4. Interesting post Kate. I had a light bulb moment. I used to love to shop.. shoes and bags, oh and jeans. But now it’s like, why bother. Add the fact that we moved away from a busy life in the city to an isolated rural life and have few friends. It was great at first but now I am missing the friends and the busy. We are still trying to decide where to go.. or to stay. CH is in St. Louis for a couple of days and my plan is to go to our sorta big city to look at jeans and shoes today.. 🙂

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    • I know I wouldn’t be happy in a rural isolated place. I lived in the country on 2 acres a long time ago. Everything was a half hour away. No one ever dropped in because we were too far out. Don’t want to do that again. I like convenience and some level (but not too much) of people around. I realized this year that even most of my tee-shirts are at least 3 years old. I don’t seem to wear them out. I grow tired of shoes before I wear them out which is why I have so many. Good luck on your excursion in the sort of big city.

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  5. The shopping thing is so very true. I have clothes that are almost new but I haven’t worn them in a year. Shopping is not a priority but other things take its place. Things change…we just have to adjust.

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  6. Haven’t been on a shopping spree like that in ages — the budget doesn’t allow it these days (except for tax refund time) and quite honestly most of my shopping is done online anyway. But I do remember how much fun I used to have going to mall outlets for all day excursions, bringing home a carload of treasured finds. Sounds like you had a blast! Yay!!! 🙂

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  7. You’re right. Nothing stays the same. We can hold on to some old friends, although perhaps in a different guise. Others disappear.

    In a couple of days a very old friend is coming to visit. She was a good friend until about 28 yrs. ago when she moved back to Singapore. We’ve kept in touch, but I’ve only seen her in person once since then. I’m really looking forward to seeing her again next week. But she won’t be staying long. She’ll fly back to London where she now lives. It’s not the same.

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  8. I retired from a non-profit. About a year later I was invited to attend their annual fund raising event. It was fun to socialize with old friends but at the end of the evening I knew in my heart that I had truly become an outsider there. What surprised me was how liberating it felt. I could really move on.

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  9. Oh Kate…life goes on and changes as it goes! I once loved shopping for clothes but now? What do I need with a wardrobe…sometimes I’m in jammies all day and the next, as well. Go barefoot so don’t need shoes…life is very simple. Might put on make-up twice a week.
    The wind will blow the doors open…and life is full of surprises…good way to go! Thanks for putting so many of our thoughts into wonderful sentences!

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  10. I hear ya, Kate. Transitions and changes can be very difficult, especially if we aren’t ready to “let go” just yet. Each time we moved, we had to wave good-bye to people, places, and things. Some good-byes were easier than others.

    At first, I was certain I would stay in touch with “everyone.” Now I know better. But it’s “all good” . . . letting go of X makes room for Y. At least for Now. Peace!

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    • Everyone thinks that at first but there’s new friends, new things to do and life intervenes. I do have one friend from a job 20 years ago. We always get together for dinner once a year and pick up where we left off. We swear we’re going to do it more often but that doesn’t happen. Once a year seems to work.

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  11. I love this conversion Kate. Things are always changing and what we look for in friendships change as well. People tend to come together because of similar circumstances or interests, but these change over time. Retirement is a new phase when we look beyond the circumstances and find folks that share our interests, values and attitudes towards life.
    We never know how many doors there are going to be 😉
    A sense of loss is natural … with the new there is always loss.

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  12. Once again our weekly paths have metaphorically crossed. I too had lunch with a colleague from many, many years ago. You beat me the punch with your post! Yes, similar feelings as you experienced. There’s this knowledge you have afterwards that the relationship can never be as it once was.

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    • Yes we do run in the same trolley track or maybe gutter. Whatever. You captured it just right. I had that exact experience last fall. I had dinner with an old friend and at the end I knew it was the last time because we had NOTHING in common anymore.

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  13. As you know I am a recent retiree. But, in all actuality it is wonderful. I am very fortunate to have a group of friends from work that are (almost all) retirees too. And they are, (and I am with them 100%) bound and determined that the only thing that will change is the place we go everyday. Somehow it has worked for me…I have a few really good close friends and I am very lucky. By the way, I am lucky that you are in that part of my life.

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  14. I worked for a company for many, many years and made a couple of great friends. We’d get together for dinner often. One woman retired and dinners continued. The other woman retired and still no change in our relationships. Both of their husbands have retired and we’ve lost touch with each other! Still friends on FB and still send each other b-day cards but that’s the extent of it. They were great friends but things change and life moves on. I still have lunch with some of the guys I worked with during those years, too. Very fond memories of that job and coworkers.

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  15. When I left my old job, I figured that I’d be back now-and-then to catch up with everyone. I think, after about a year-and-a-half, I’ve been back once (and it felt a little uncomfortable). I’ve kept in touch with several work friends but the face-to-face meetings have dwindled. Life changes after retirement and it’s the social connections that I miss (I was going to say “the most” but honestly that’s the ONLY thing I miss about work). Fortunately I now have a bunch of retired friends that I see regularly now.

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    • I does change and it’s the people I miss too although many have had changes too. Nothing stays the same so we have to enjoy where we are (and once in a we are allowed to get a little melancholy for the “old days”).

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  16. I have no contact with those I considered friends from work. Times, locations and attitudes change, mine included.
    I went back to my last firm (2007) just a few weeks ago as I was passing their new (and smaller) offices. The staff has been reduced by almost 50% and I knew four people, one of which didn’t recognise me at all. I felt awkward and alien in an environment I’d previously felt comfortable in.
    My life now is totally different, and no-one I knew then would understand the way we live. We may not have all mod cons, the latest car, hi-fi or iphone, but we are happier, have the things we need and enjoy the occasional luxury. I wouldn’t change my life for theirs.

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    • I never visited the prior companies I had worked at. One had a retail part and I never went in to shop there. The other was out of my way. I had only been there 9 months and I didn’t make lasting connections except for one person that I connect to through Facebook. Until you retire, you don’t understand how it changes you and your priorities. From your blog you are doing the things you want to do.

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      • It’s funny, but we never envisaged buying a boat or even having a boating holiday! I took an early retirement package (if I hadn’t, as things turned out I would have lost it completely) but the official state retirement age has been raised to 66 so my pot has to do 16 years instead of the 9 it already has.
        We are doing OK though, mainly because we can manage with less, and don’t have room for more anyway! It’s good that our time is our own now and we are no longer living to suit someone else’s convenience.

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  17. I’ve learned that people are in our lives for certain seasons and there are some who are there for the long haul. Those long haul peeps are the ones who you can pick right up where you left off.

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  18. The same dynamic happens in the blogosphere. You’re friends with someone, then he or she changes the focus of his or her blog [or quits entirely]– and there you are. It’s difficult if you’re an introvert like me who dreads making new friends, both in real life and in blog life. But it’s inevitable. And I totally understand your pity party. Carry on! 🙂

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    • Yes, when I cleaned up my blog admin I found some of my favorites hadn’t blogged in a very long time. Where did they go? I have missed them. Blogging especially is a revolving door. There is a high burnout rate. Or else the mortality rate is higher among bloggers.

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      • Kate, I prefer to think that they burn out rather than die out! Call me a Pollyanna if you will, but I continue to hope that some of them will return to the blogosphere someday, new and re-invigorated.

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        • Really I think they burned out too. Some posted daily. That would definitely burn me out. Some come and go as their life allows them. Others drop off the end of the world. I had one blogger that I had a great rapport with email me personally to say that she was taking a job that was very public. She didn’t want her funny posts taken out of context. Bummer!

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