It sure is the greatest gift. So, as I was thinking about what I wanted today’s ‘pa(i)ge from my book’ to be about, I was looking through some memories and I started watching this video (for about the 1,000th time :)) that was made during a trip to Italy last year. I went on this trip with some of my dearest, best friends. And so, I am writing about friends and how important they are in our lives.
We, as humans are meant to do this journey; this thing called life, together. We are wired for connection, as it is above all else, the thing that brings meaning to our lives. It is in the stories that we have with one another that make up the fabric of who we are. And as Muhammad Ali said, “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
A great deal of research has been done to explore just how important connection is in our lives. And in fact, not only is it important, but it is essential. Researcher and Psychologist Susan Pinker, traveled to the island of Sardinia, Italy. Sardinia is one of the Blue Zone regions of the world (places in the world where people live the longest). Here, many people live to be at least one-hundred years old, with little health complications. The mission of Pinker’s trip was to study the values, habits, and ways of life of the people of Sardinia. She wanted to know what caused such longevity. Her work in combination with the work of colleagues resulted in a list. The list was composed of the key ingredients for a long, meaningful life. Surprisingly, social connection was number one one the list, above exercise, diet, obesity, marital status, and stress level, among others. This is amazing. And what a gift- that the ingredient most crucial to us- is each other.
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” I grew up with this familiar tune, often repeated by my dad. And, I think that it was one of the best values I could have learned from a young age. Making friends from each stage of life, and from different places, is a gift that life has to offer. And growing together and sharing in the moments, both good and bad, are the ones that bond us together. And, the beautiful thing is- is that true friends don’t need to see or talk to each other all the time. But when they do see each other, it is like they never left.
In our busy, often stressful day to day life, sometimes calling or reaching out to a friend is just the thing we need. Or sometimes even just looking at a picture or memory is enough to lift your spirits when life gets you down. And so, I ask of you- throughout life, carry your friends with you wherever you go, and when you find those special friends along the way, pick them up and add them to the rest of the journey.
And while we are talking about friends, enjoy this picture of the cast of my favorite TV show, Friends. And whether you’re more of a Rachel or Monica, it doesn’t matter- because your friends will be there for you.