Posted by RycePapers | Filed under RycePapers
I’ve been friends with Gail for over twenty years. So this blog opportunity is nepotism big time. We met in Toronto when Gail was a consultant and I worked at a bank. Years later she told me her initial impression was that I was cold. Little did she know how much she would warm up to me!
We happened to be on TVOntario’s “Money$worth” program at the same time and ran into each other often enough to realize that we were supposed to know each other better. When Gail published her financial magazine, I wrote some articles for her. When my second book came out, Gail took a picture of me with it because ‘you need pictures at your happiest and proudest moments.’
Over the years our discussions ranged from money, to books, to being married (and then for me widowhood, and for Gail divorce) to families and animals, cooking, technology, troubles, triumphs and many other topics. I count Gail amongst the people I can turn to for real conversation. She is in my circle of friends. I am incredibly grateful for my friends. So it disturbed me to read a survey in “The Atlantic Magazine” in an article entitled: Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? They discovered that 25% of Americans had nobody to talk to. They didn’t have a circle, they had a dot: themselves. A further 20% had only one confidant. They had a straight line of friend.
Figuring out what a friendship both offers and requires is important because being a friend is a commitment and a risk. The Atlantic’s article reminded me of an interview I did many years ago with Dr. Edward de Bono, he of genius brain about creativity and author of 62 books. He’d noticed the amount of passive input young people absorbed from TV, pop music and the Internet. He concluded they did less thinking and didn’t develop any identity or self-image. If you lack identity or self-image, what could attract a friend?
Oscar Wilde said: A true friend stabs you in the front. I agree. If I need to hear some tough news, I want to hear it from someone who knows me, loves me and wants the best for me. And I applaud the person who wrote: A true friend knows who you are and likes you anyway. Gail calls me her Pointy-Headed Friend partly because I like to learn and partly because I try to link information to discover a fuller picture whether we are discussing inflation, sex toys or how the brain works. Sometimes all in one conversation!
I’ll be writing on this blog from the perspective of someone now trying to stretch the pot of money I’ve saved. I still work occasionally and manage my investments, but I am mortgage free and debt free, although I’ve had my share of debt and downfall.
While my fellow bloggers are younger with different financial challenges, I’m glad to share what it’s like when you start living on capital, live alone (which many women end up doing, read Gail’s book “It’s Your Money”), and make the transition from expenses related to a busy career and family life, to considerations of fixed costs and making money last to the end. Please know I still separate wants from needs and record every cent I spend: some things never change.
After my husband died, I sold our dream home because I couldn’t afford to keep it and I moved to a different area. Once settled, I needed to meet new friends. In your 50’s making new friends takes effort, unlike when you are in school with lots of people jammed into classrooms and plenty of opportunity. Slowly I got out to events, joined the library, chatted up neighbours and invited people over for dinner (food as bait). Now I can drive by a friend’s house and just drop in with my dog Pongo. I can call for help getting my water pump installed since it’s Spring. I can drop off freshly-baked banana bread for no reason. I can be a friend.
So thanks Gail for being my friend and liking me anyway.
That is what’s on my mind today, what do you think?