Friendship – will it stand the test of time?

I have been travelling with my partner and mother in law through England over the last week.  We have just left Liverpool, more famously know for the birth of the Beatles and Billy Fury!  Less famously but none the less inspiring to me, because of my mother in law who was born and raised there.  This trip to Liverpool has been a bit of a pilgrimage for her after an absence of seventeen years.

My mother in law joined a hockey team in Liverpool as a newly married post war bride in 1949.  The members of the hockey team have an age range of around fifteen years from the oldest to the youngest team member.  They all shared a love of fitness which had brought them together initially and then they formed a hockey team.    After five years, my mother in law moved with her husband and two boys to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).  The hockey team carried on and although had a few members that came and went they maintained a solid core of around ten members.    My mother in law kept in touch with the core group of members regularly over the years through letters and cards. They shared the ups and downs of their lives remaining firm friends beyond the many miles that separated them.  When the hockey team eventually retired they kept in touch by meeting twice a year at each others homes!  As loyal friends they continued to include my mother in law in this bi-annual experience by writing a few lines each in a letter each time they met and posting them to her after the event.  She relished the letters as they arrived and felt very included in the lives of her friends albeit across the sea in Rhodesia.  Each year she would share with the family her longing to once more meet up with her hockey friends although she could not imagine how she could travel so far at 88 years.    So we set about making it happen by including her in an already planned trip to the UK.   We were fortunate to be included in one of these reunions of the hockey team in Liverpool this week.   The oldest member of the hockey team is now 90 years old and still catching the train around Liverpool and the youngest two are 75 years and still referred to as ‘the babies’!.    The core group of ten are still alive but unfortunately not all were able to join us for the reunion dinner.   However, those joining the reunion, including the oldest and youngest members were clearly transported back to their younger days and the years fell away as they laughed and reminisced about all the experiences they had had together.  Friendships that have not only stood the test of time over sixty two years but have grown more intense and more meaningful as the years have past.

As baby boomers we are at a distinct advantage with all the wonderful technology at our disposal to enhance our communication opportunities.  Texting, email, skyping, Facebook and twitter give us real time opportunities to be in constant touch with our chosen family of friends throughout the world.  It is just so easy to stay in touch no matter where you are in the world.   I love to take advantage of these different modes of communication to keep in constant touch with my friends.  It enables me to share the challenges, the fun, the opportunities and the joy of new experiences at this time in my life.  There are no excuses or reasons why we can’t stay in touch! Making the time is simply a matter of prioritising our time.  Something my mother in law and her friends have done over a period of sixty years through limited modes of communication but none the less extremely effective to keep them all connected and involved in each other lives.

I have been reminded from this amazing experience, that:

    • Friends are simply our extended family
    • To make the time for friends is a great gift to ourselves
    • You have to work at maintaining friendships
    • Distance is no barrier to keeping true friendships alive
    • Friends ground us
    • Friends give us acceptance and value around who we are
    • Friends are a reflection of our lives through shared experiences
    • Age is no barrier to the warmth and depth of friendship
    • True friends are there for the hard times as well as the good times



About Patti Gwynne

Patti Gwynne is an ICF Credentialed Leadership and Executive Coach based in Auckland.

Working your way through these processes takes courage! Be kind to yourself and feel free to contact Patti, if you would like a Coach to partner you on this journey.
(Patti offers a no obligation 30minute FREE phone coaching session to get you started).

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