One of my young friends in her early 20's and I had lunch today; she is marvelously pragmatic. Her eloquent articulation has brought her acclaim as a hot new blogger. Another younger friend sent me a message about her wedding plans; she's also built a digital database for a very prestigious universities library system. Yet another was telling me about a trip to LA; a new director and screen writer, he entered one of his film in a festival, and placed! (BTW, Hollyhood, keep your eyes peeled for this one--he's going all the way!) And one other friend contacted me in the last few days with his fall schedule for law school. This weekend, two former students, now married and dear friends, will be visiting me; one in his late 20's is an Apachee pilot in the army now serving at Quantico after completing a tour in the Middle East. The other, equally accomplished, has been working in marketing and traveling all over Europe. Hearing about my younger friends' plans is energizing, hopeful, inspiring, and ultimately, very fulfilling having been a part of their education towards many of these goals.
One of my friends in her 40's just returned from an exciting trip to Scotland, where she hiked the Highlands, toured a scotch facility and got to take part in local music and culture. Another in her 50's came back today from a cruise to Nova Scotia. Two of my friends in their 60's organize a golf tournament each year to raise money and awareness about breast cancer. Though family, he is also a friend--and one I'm VERY proud of--my uncle, in his 60's, is the Captain of a group of New York firefighters (for which he wrote the definitive history on, published several years ago); he's also the highest rank in the Knights of Columbus...and on top of it all, he works with the Red Cross for disaster relief. Another friend and colleague in his 70's is a world traveler, writes books with poetic prose the likes of which rival that of Hemingway or Faulkner.
How wonderous! In the midst of all these very accomplished people, I sit here today totally inspired. That's the benefit of generational connections. When we limit ourselves to friends from only one generation, we are really putting limits on not just our friendships but also on our lives.
The benefit goes beyond generational inspiration, I am challenged differently by different friendships--each one forcing me to learn new things and see the world through newer eyes. I can't imagine a life without such generational connections, without such friendships. But such connections take time to build. However, it's worth every inch of effort made.
You may not think you have the same access to generational connections, but you do--join a book group, not with friends, on your own. It will force you to make new connections. Go on an eco-vacation to clean up hiking trails by yourself, or even with one other friend, and you'll find the experience a bonding platform. Volunteer with a local non-profit for a cause you believe in. Join a club for running or snowshoeing or something that will put you in the company of others who you don't necessarily know.
We all begin to stagnate, at any age, when we don't seek out new connections, especially generational ones. Did you know that people who have many different social connections live longer lives? It's true. A recent study showed that while eating good food and exercising play a part in living longer, attitude is everything. And if you have generational connections, you AND your attitude will be healthier for decades to come.
Once you establish generational connections, you won't be able to live without it. And that's not just figurative!
Until next time, dearest readers....