I’m a big fan of reading. I’ve always adored literature but just as much I enjoy a well-written newspaper piece. It so happens that when I read about something very interesting in the newspaper I add it to a pile that sits next to my bed. (My weekend newspaper reading starts in bed with the mandatory cup of coffee on the bedside table.) By saving a copy I appear to be expecting of myself to turn to it again and again. As life continues its course and time flies by as noiselessly as ever, the pile in question slowly but steadily grows as (yet) another paper is added atop until it reaches the size of precarious heap, making it hard to ignore it, or, even harder, to pretend it’s not in the way. So, once in a while I decide it’s high time it went.
This is no simple task, mind you. I’ve always felt humble respect towards the written word. I’ve always adored literature but just as much I enjoy a well-written newspaper piece. Alas, throwing anything of that kind away after keeping it for a while, treasure-like, calls for reconsideration. So, the least one can do before discarding the pile is flip through the pages once again just in case. Maybe there’s something that escaped me and should be paid due attention.
This is how, Ms Roy, I rediscovered your article on friendship. I remember being profoundly joyous when I read it for the first time back in summer. It had lingered on in my mind for a long time after that first reading; I pondered over it on several occasions. I do believe good, deep friendships of any kind are precious and should be taken care of. What satisfied me the most about your writing is the idea of importance/significance/worthiness of friends one gains in the grown-up phase of one’s life, the idea of new friends one acquires as a very formed individual, as in comparison to the ones that one’s kept since school time. In general, as your article explains so clearly, friends from one’s youth are somehow considered imperative as opposed to new ones, as the latter seem to tend to be taken more superficially which in fact is not true at all. In a way, I was relieved to have read that also these new friends, the ones met through adult activities, should by all means be regarded as equally valuable and special which of course they are.
“Conventional wisdom says that it's harder to make really good friends in middle-age and late adulthood.” (excerpt from column by Nilanjana Roy, published in Financial Times)
I’m lucky to have a couple of very close friends whose friendship has stood the test of time. One of them is my go-to confidante in any kind of matter. We’ve been friends since, well, forever. The other one, also a friend from school time, amazes me beyond anything each time we meet with her affection and wisdom although we don’t keep daily nor weekly contact. Both of them are, as we cornily put it, always there. Throughout my adult life I’ve come across dear women who have grown on me; with some firm bonds were developed and we remain very close. We’ve changed jobs, some even husbands, home addresses have been changed over again, children were born, but what we feel for each other has stuck with us no matter how long (or short) we’ve known each other. To all these women I’m grateful for finding the same in me for them and I’m very happy to be their friend.
"A key pleasure of friendships forged in your adult years is that you know yourself better." excerpt from column by Nilanjana Roy, published in Financial Times
I, for one, am not surprised that valuing friendships is associated with greater health. Having friends and maintaining meaningful relationships with them is happiness in itself. No scientific finding is necessary to make us acknowledge that happiness and contentment are definitely great determinants of one’s well-being. Just imagine the amount of energy dispensed through fiery discussions, hushed secrets, shared passions, rants and raves, tears and fears and joys, favourably disposed advice and criticism alike. Of course, the feeling of belonging is what friendships promote to one’s well-being too.
The relationships per se are hard work. I believe that within true friends no task is too difficult: when needed one finds time or words for friends. I believe it’s about paying attention. Now that the studies have found friendships beneficial for human health it may gain even greater value.
I wish everybody was blissed out with friends. Merry Christmas everybody!
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Full article by Nilanjana Roy for Financial Times:
More about Nilanjana Roy: https://nilanjanaroy.com/about/