“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
I just returned from visiting a friend in Oakland, CA. After retiring from the Army, Brenda embarked on a sabbatical to ponder and discern her next steps. One of the activities I participated in with her was an immersion experience in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, an area identified with drugs, violence, and homelessness.
Staff from Care through Touch Institute (CTI) briefed us on issues that might result in homelessness. Those living in Tenderloin shelters and single room occupancy (SRO) hotels tend to fall into five categories: newly arrived immigrants, seniors, mentally ill, substance abusers, and/or veterans. Fitz, one of the CTI staff members used a metaphor to describe why someone might end up on the streets. His phrase, thread count, which most people associate with buying bedding, can also describe our connections. Like linens, the tighter the weave, the better. Not everyone with limited connections will end up in an area like the Tenderloin, since other factors like mental illness, addiction, or outliving friends and family, contribute to isolation. Feeling alone can be terrifying and lead to a sense of hopelessness. Loving relationships are crucial to well-being and provide a safety net. Friends add color and fun to our life experiences.
Making friends is an investment in a happy life. We need to be deliberate in increasing our thread count. It’s also important to differentiate between building friendship and business networking. The work colleagues you enjoy eating lunch with may not stay in touch after you leave your position. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. So, as Winnie the Pooh said, we are lucky for the people who make saying goodbye tough. Give thanks for rewarding relationships.
One of our reasons for writing Index Card Cure™ is as a commitment to connecting. Over time, we hope this blog will provide a forum and community for readers too.