Monday, July 14, 2014

The Need for Male Friends--John Carpenter, Men's Wisdom Works

"If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in good repair."

-- Samuel Johnson

I had good friends growing up-in high school, in college, and in the military. As some men do, I didn't "keep my friendships in good repair". My support structure before retiring centered on business associates, my wife and an "empty nesters" group. I had few close male friends during my business career. I knew that as a manager I couldn't be real friends with my associates. The demands of work and career left little time to cultivate genuine relationships. In retirement I realized that loneliness can creep up and lead to anxiety, declining health and loss of purpose.

I am lucky to have a close bond with my wife, who is my best friend. As solid as my relationship is with my spouse, I knew early on that it was not enough for me. I realized I need real pals--men I could hang out with and whose company I enjoyed. When I learned about Men's Wisdom Works, I wanted to join a group as soon as possible. I felt that this idea was the way to find what was missing in my life. I have not been disappointed.

Since being in MWW, I feel calmer, less anxious and much happier. Our group of men is unique. We are diverse, from various backgrounds and parts of the country. We know each other's life stories, and we're open about our thoughts and opinions. We've developed trust and openness. One aspect of our meetings that I truly enjoy is the good humor and respect we feel for each other. Yet we can discuss serious topics that affect us all, with dignity and as gentlemen.

Retirement is a journey and good friends make the trip so much more fulfilling. In the coming years I feel that our group will endure, and as we age our friendships will endure as well.

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