#3 Befriend Someone over 80

I just wrote about my friendship with Jack and those relationships that teach us…but let me tell you a little more about why this was on my list…

Jack tells me frequently that the number one problem people his age face is lonliness. He has a supportive family and attends church, and has the blessing of a caretaker who spends hours with him most days of the week. But interacting with people not in his age range is difficult. Many people in nursing homes, most he tell me, only have visitors a few times each YEAR! Can you imagine not having any conversation, about the weather, the price of gas, Dancing with the Stars, how salty those French fries were, for the entire month?

The main reason I wanted to befriend a person over 80 was the fact that I was lonely, too. I had recently moved to the area and establishing friendship takes patience, tempo, timing. I needed to feel connected to something. It was pretty quick getting set up as a volunteer at the closest assisted living/nursing home to my house. Within two weeks, I was connected with Jack. For the last four months, I’ve seen him weekly. I sent him postcards from Costa Rica. I pick up snacks for him at the market, and clip out funny comics or bring him pictures kids make for me. He tells me stories of his youth, gives me advice about the economy and willingly philosophizes with me on a variety of topics. He is bright, friendly, and he likes me. Jack makes me feel like I belong. Like I matter.

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is madeby the friends we choose.”

Tennessee Williams

Hands down, Jack is one of the biggest blessings of my life right now. I am less lonely because of him, and I hope, he is less lonely because of me.

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