Thinking About Friendships

This past Saturday, one of my closest friends and personal mentors had a heart attack. It has really shaken me. He’s only a few years younger than me and one of the healthiest people I know. He’s a runner and was on mile 9 of a 14 mile marathon training run when it happened. Luckily, he wasn’t running alone as he often does. He was with someone and that someone knew CPR and was able to keep him alive until the paramedics arrived. The tiredness and fatigue he’d been feeling these past few weeks that he’d written off as long covid turned out to be a 60% arterial blockage. They put in a stent and cleared the blockage. He’ll be fine and the prognosis is good but it really has me thinking about some things…

Here is someone I consider one of my closest and most important friends yet, I haven’t seen him in months. Not since this past summer. Why? He lives less than a 15 minute drive away!

So that has me thinking a lot about friendships – especially amongst guys. We tend not to prioritize them. We tend to think that to get together there has to be a reason involved. We have to have an event or some purpose to it. A run or a round of golf. Making a batch of beer or building a deck. Or we need to get the families together, let our partners talk and kids play. Dinner or a barbecue. Often, we guys never seem to think of getting together “just because”. For no reason at all other than to connect. Have a chit chat about anything under the sun. Or, sit in silence together and just be.

We are too quick to let life get in the way. Make excuses. Put our friendships off for another day. We’re still young — at least that’s what we of a certain age group believe in our hearts and heads. We still feel as good as we did at 25 or 35 (despite the fact we are 45+) We have all the time in the world, right?

Even worse, messaging a friend to get together for no reason at all often doesn’t even occur to us as an option. We have some open time in our self-important schedules and in the myriad of things we could choose to do, we don’t even think about spending it with a friend. Friendships, and the time they require for nourishment, never seem to enter the equation. They don’t even make it on our to-do lists.

Like I said, I’m thinking a lot about this and plan to make a concerted effort to not only prioritize my friendships but to make thinking about them as an option a habit. To be intentional about giving time to the people I love.