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Reconnecting With Old & New Friends Can Enhance Your Wellbeing And Longevity

Friends are medicine for a wounded heart and vitamins for a hopeful soul Steve Maraboli.


Can you believe it's Christmas Day?! Merry Christmas!


What is going on? Is global warming speeding the earth's rotation, causing the days and months to whisk by? My goodness, where has this year gone? Wasn't it just yesterday when I posted Merry Christmas Mom?



So much has happened since then, but yet it seems like time just collapsed into one. Although one of the most rewarding ones was having someone quote a word or phrase from my blog. "I remember reading that in a blog" winy wink…one young person said to me, in…. That they read and remembered one of my blog posts.


First I'm surprised and then gratified that my words, though digital, have a voice that affects them to consider new ways or recalibrate them to make positive decisions.


The downside is that I sometimes don't follow my own advice.


Do as I say and not as I do…remember that saying? Well, that is definitely not my mantra that I prescribed to while raising my kids.


So, being a team player, I took the holiday season to set the stage.


If you read my Wellness page you would remember that one of the dimensions of wellness is Social using community, social interaction, and connectedness. Working on physical attributes and health is fantastic but if there is no feeling of belonging. Depression and loneliness become real.

To be very transparent I have not spent time working on developing a strong community which despite good health leaves me vulnerable to loneliness and enhanced depression.




Team Lonely


Many studies within the last few years report an increase in loneliness, decreased feelings of friendship, and even a decreased desire to connect. The pandemic did us no favors. It added the fear of leaving the house, resulting in decreased face-to-face communication, and socialization. These reports also show that continued loneliness and aloneness can leave us more susceptible to ill health and even early death.


The pandemic is not the only player on the team of lonely.

The fashionista style shopping in our elegant bathrobe via….Amazon, front-door food delivery via ….GrubHub, and working remotely means we do not leave our homestead to engage with family, friends, and coworkers.


We don't realize the value of our work family and what they bring to our lives. We go out for quick drinks and decompress from our work week. Experience other people's stories that put our stories in perspective. Debrief before going home. That element is lost with Zoom meetings.


The treadmill of life is also on team disconnect.

We do not plan to not answer calls or miss the meet-up but people get caught up with their own responsibilities their own day-to-day life, and their own problems. Caring for themselves and going to work. It is not personal or deliberate. Living with kids' illnesses, parent commitment, new jobs in other states, marriage, and divorce obligations can take its toll. It can slice our time and focus.


Aging!

As we get older it is harder to keep up with others. Our immediate families are at the beginning of figuring out this life thing and represent your early years struggling to find their rhythm in their reality. Some of our dear friends may be ill or have died leaving a void.


Social media's contribution

Of course, there's social media. Forums of social engagement right? Yet studies show some negative psychological ramifications.


Our Instagram and Facebook accounts are impressive, yet who on these sites would you call if it were your last breath? Do you get that 1 on 1 sitting on the porch or the kitchen table sipping a cold drink feeling, that happens when friends and family meet face to face?


Friendships slide to the side unintentionally.


Then we wake up one morning and (despite our 208 contacts listed in our phones) there is not one that you can call when you need a listening ear.


Having identified that in order to be and feel healthy I initiated a plan to jump-start my social life….




Setting a New Stage for Social Reconnection


By definition, to reconnect is to meet up AGAIN with someone after a long time apart, to reunite. As stated above there are so many innocent ways we are disconnected from people who are meaningful to us and who by their presence in our lives make us more interesting persons……

Breaking news…..


Friendship is work if you don't work on friendships they don't just bloom spontaneously it is something that requires effort, planning, and commitment.


Don't be afraid to just reach out and text/call someone who you've lost contact with.

So a holiday party with a beautiful invitation was my way of initiating operation reconnect. I use Evite. I invited everybody. I looked down all my contacts in my phone, and journals, wherever I wrote contact information. Social media helped, like a messenger to meet those who use computers to make contact. I also invited everyone from work, invited every friend, every person that I know... And this is what I learned.


Don't just reconnect with one person, reconnect with several people


I gave each invite permission to bring their family members, friends, kids, and shared friends.

They say go big or go home right? LOL



Don't let your fears block your efforts.

Was I shaking with anxiety?


I have to confess, I did not feel very confident that anyone would RSVP. Maybe the old friendships from way back in the 90s were only in the past. Maybe my work colleagues did not really value me outside work. Am I invisible, old, no one cares is this party thing gonna be a bust?!


Practice self-love and be creative


How exhilarating it was to plan the holiday dinner party, create a theme, design a menu, and decorate the house. Oh my goodness! It has been so long since I was all caught up in doing something that involved all my senses, and all my kids!


I felt like a little girl getting ready for Santa.


I blasted music while I cleaned, danced to Soca music, singing traditional Christmas songs, my granddaughter surprised us with maturity, chipping in as part of a team. Reconnecting while singing along, and dancing. I firmly believe that I inspired both of my grands to reignite their interest in music playing our piano and guitar.


There was something freeing, allowing myself to be present in the moment. As I like to say, be intentional


Oh, but I did fuss some too.



Look around you may have all you need

It was amazing how many items I did not have to buy. I shopped in both my attic and basement which saved a lot of money. Decorations, serving items, you name it!


So don't stress too much.


I had the food catered, not that I couldn't have cooked but I just did not want that element of stress and the menu was simple.



The Magic of Reconnecting


Community

Despite being a little bit stressed over the actual headcount, those who attended were exactly who needed to be there. They brought renewed friendships and past memories. We caught up with the years, some networked and exchanged numbers, and new friendships were born.


I had friends from all over the world who came with their spouses and their children. All of my kids were here as well under one roof. My grandkids had a blast meeting all of the new faces. Planning sleepovers. You don't have to have a big party like I did, but just reach out and connect and reconnect.



Encouragement

The house looked magical. I outdid myself. This year the Power within the glass ornaments had a different power. I have to admit it wasn't reflective as it has been in years past, instead they shine with excitement.


I had four colorful star-lite Christmas trees. Yes, four…they transformed the rooms into magical moments. Yeah, I'm one of those. Someone who wished that the lights could stay up all year...Don't laugh!


My confidence grew as I continued to move forward. Everything came together in the most perfect way…even though the oven blanked out just when dinner was about to begin… nothing is perfect.

Despite the fact that my resolution for this year was to complete an art series, which I did not. With the decorating in preparation for the party, I was inspired to create an abstract painting to hang over the mantel. It came out beautiful and with little effort. What a surprise!


Sharing self love

My guest were able to see me as a whole person with a family, they saw my creativity hanging on the walls. Their comments of amazement highlighted my multifaceted being. That I so often forget about. The amazing extraordinary person I am. I'm not boasting! But it was like meeting me for the first time. I am extraordinary.


This revelation is important, especially during the winter holiday season. We can get so tied up in the commercial aspect that we forget to give the gift of love to ourselves.


Reconnecting with long-lost friends, by allowing myself the freedom to dance in my kitchen, to decorate my house, to put a dinosaur and a grinch on my front lawn all lit so they can see me in space, is my gift to me!



Breaking news…..

Friendship is work if you don't work on friendships they don't just bloom spontaneously it is something that requires effort, planning, and commitment.


As we get older it gets harder to keep up with others young and old. Don't be discouraged.

There are several ways to reconnect.


The biggest takeaway…


Reconnecting with those who love you and support you ignites your creativity, it encourages you to stretch yourself. You see your true self-reflection if you engage. Your true beautiful talented self through their words. When you reconnect you realize you have support and you are not alone.

I do wish you a wonderful Winter holiday. One of reconnections where you reconnected with at least 1 friend or family member someone who is significant to you. I pray that you reconnect with those people who have been so important to you and who are still, despite the distance and the time that has passed, love you. Have a happy merry joyful safe holiday season.


~Deb


(Btw...I still haven't opened the box with the air fryer from last year! Maybe I should put it back under the Christmas tree for this year! Lol)



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