People really listened to our woes, cheered our successes and even lent us money. That was then.
Graduate/professional school was totally competitive. So was and is the work world. Also, wounded by life, we trusted less.
The difficulty making new friends increased as we moved out of our apartments into houses. One retired D.C. player said at our centering prayer meeting, "I never met the people who lived to the right or left of me or across the street."
Meanwhile, we had changed. The world had changed. And those college relationships just didn't satisfy our need for friendship any more. In May 2014, I ditched the last members of the Seton Hill University Class of 1967 I had assumed were my friends. I still am puzzled how I could have been so naïve about others' seeming motives.
I tried this and I tried that to attract new caring relationships. Those tactics ranged from joining mindfulness groups to becoming a compulsive poster on Facebook.
Finally, I hit on what is the solution for me. It might also blow up the isolation for other Baby Boomers. I relocated to a large rental complex, which has a special section for those of us with dogs. Most of our pet children are rescues.
Immediately we all have something in common. There is even a common area: the section's dog park. Within a few months, I had "regulars" I could talk with. Several months later, there is the same social cohesion of the college dorm.
Yes, I can confide. I can ask favors. As yet no one has asked for a loan but I would be willing to give a small one. No matter the time of day or night, there are dog-walkers in our little piece of Paradise.
Okay, this configuration hasn't eliminated generational silos. We over-50 tend to hang with each other. Those under-50 are usually on their phones or moving out. There hasn't even been much eye contact.
Since I found friends, finally, I am afraid to rock the boat.
I toy with the idea of buying a house, which is affordable here. But then I recall the lack of interaction when I lived in my own house in West Hartford, Connecticut.
I also wonder what I will do if the rent increases are wild. Will I risk relocating to a complex where residents are aloof?
Not having close friendships for decades has made me aware of how lucky I have been in the past eight months. Not since college have I felt emotionally safe. The world had been a cruel place for us idealistic Baby Boomers to enter. I remain in a healing state post the crash of those once-so-important college relationships.
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