December 29, 2015

Giving Thanks for my Five F's: My Friends

Last Thanksgiving, I spent some time thinking about the things in my life I'm most grateful for. I came up with five and -- trying too hard to be cute -- I made each of them an F word: family, friends, finances, fun, and final days. I had planned to devote a week of posts on the series, running each of the five topics on a different weekday.

Well, you can see how far I got with that plan. I completed a post on F–word No. 1: My Families. While working on that post, I was also tensing up over my self-imposed schedule to produce a post each day for the next four F-words. My reward? High blood pressure and a sleepless night... not the first time my blog obsession produced those results. 

Deep down, I knew the blog was taking over my life, just like addictions to nicotine, alcohol, and compulsive sex had done in my younger days. With lots of practice, I'd become skillful at denying my addiction problems. But this time, I acknowledged that the blog addiction was damaging my health, and I needed to rein it in.

At this stage in my life, when my remaining time is limited but my health is reasonably good, I want to lead a balanced life, enjoying the variety of things that give me pleasure and that I'm still capable of doing. Not just sitting at the computer.

Thinking about this post on F-word No. 2 -- friendships -- I decided to focus on friends who have played key roles in my life. As I gathered photos and background information, I realized I was laying the groundwork, yet again, for a lengthy post that would surely generate stress and tension.

So, I've decided to run a series of posts about friendships off and on over the next few weeks. What's the rush?

I know many of you readers will be disappointed at not getting one of my posts that runs on forever. Yeah. Right.

Friendship Overview
When it comes to friendship, I was born into a family at Ground Zero: My parents had no friends, My dad had acquaintances from his job, from playing bridge in his early years, and golf after he retired. My mom -- who suffered from clinical depression and rarely left home -- didn’t even have acquaintances.

I'll never forget how depressing it was, sitting in the funeral home during the viewing hours before both my parents' funerals, and having nobody but immediate family members show up.

My friendship history is very different from most other people's. I had my loneliest years as a freshman and sophomore in college, a time when most young people can't keep track of all their friends. But now, in my old age, I’m surrounded by more significant, supportive friends than ever.

Enough for now. Stay tuned.

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