Thanksgiving and Friendship

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What better time is there to be grateful for old friends than during Thanksgiving? I recently had the pleasant experience of an unexpected phone call from one of my oldest friends. We had been together since the sixth grade, all the way through college, when our paths diverged. I moved away pursuing a new career in medicine, while he stayed in Chicago, eventually to take over his father’s business. Except for an annual card at Christmas from him, and a newsy holiday letter from me, we hadn’t connected with each other in decades.  I’m not on Facebook or social media sites, but thanks to my profession, anyone can l easily look up my office number, which is what he did. We exchanged home numbers, and subsequently talked at length about the events of our past lives. We reminisced about things we did in our younger days, and what happened to the friends we had in common.  I learned that after he eventually sold his father’s business, he started a new career working for the State. He also became a model, went to acting school, and had steady gigs in local productions. He sounded grounded, happy, and brought back the memories of our shared good times. I didn’t ask why my friend had chosen this particular time to reach out to me in all the years since we have been apart, but I suspect that our present times of Covid and enforced isolation may consciously or unconsciously have played a role in his picking up the phone.Research has shown that psychological distress often causes nostalgia. People tend to experience this sentimental longing when life feels uncertain or meaningless. Psychologists have found that nostalgia increases self-esteem and confidence, making us feel more connected and optimistic. While we may experience nostalgia for any period of our life, we most desire to reconnect with our late adolescence and early adulthood – the period when we most develop our own sense of identity.Regardless of the motivation behind his call, I found myself smiling for days as I replayed our conversations in my head. Why do so many of us allow these old connections to atrophy? Often it is precipitated by a physical separation. We become enmeshed in trying to create a new space and a new life in our current place, and what is out of our sight soon becomes out of mind. It takes will and energy to maintain friendships, and sadly, many of us do not put in the time and effort it takes to keep these relationships alive. It isn’t until we are faced with some crises in our lives that we suddenly face the realization that there are very few people around us who not only know us, but also care. Our contact list may contain hundreds of names of those with whom we may have shared some social exchange, but few, if any who we feel really know us, or have a real interest in sharing the triumphs and tribulations of our lives.Perhaps this is the most significant part of the Thanksgiving holiday, rather than the feasting and football games on TV – the sharing of friendship, the reconnection of family bonds, and recognition of how fortunate we are in having someone with whom to celebrate. If you haven’t reconnected with an old friend or family member, can you think of a better time to reach out and call? Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

This entry was posted in America, Family, friendship, Happiness, Loneliness, Relatioships, Thoughts & Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Thanksgiving and Friendship

  1. HensBlooms says:

    Great reminder to be thankful! Happy Thanksgiving to you

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