What relating to Pat and Joe are teaching me now

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." - Proverbs 16:23-25 

One thing I love about growing older is having to slow down and take life at a slower pace.  Yes, me too!  What it's doing is helping me actually enjoy activities more including shopping (wow, you can find some real treasures for pennies on the dollar when you take your time and really look!).

As you know, I am very concerned about the rapid pace of today.  Maybe it's just me 'aging out' but I know from talking to younger folks, they find it hard to keep up too.

In a recent post, I talked about the one often overlooked secret to better relationships and that was simply making time, slowing down and paying more attention to conversations with those you care about.

Two people I've been focusing my energies on are my mom (that's Pat) and my pickleball friend Joe.

Both are in their later 70's.  Mom turns 80 next month!  Joe is in his mid 70's.

Both are people I treasure, for different reasons.  

Mom of course, she gave me life.  We've always been so different.  But what I like about our times together now is the ease of our conversations, which of course came simply out of us spending time together and just sharing.  We are learning what common threads we share even though we are so different.  I try to open my mind and not take so literally and too narrowly what she says.  I ask a lot to her 'would you say more?'.  

What I'm noticing about growing relationships is that the more we each open up to each other, the more we open the other's horizons and ways of looking at the world.  Yesterday, for example, I think I made an impact on mom's vision about an issue we are currently dealing with in the family.  And she impacted mine.

Joe and I have an interesting relationship too.  We're both leaders in our pickleball communities.  We're both struggling with the 'growing pains' of that venture.  We disagree a lot and that conflict I think has fueled our friendship in a positive way.  While I lack the time to give to this relationship I might like, I do my best to maintain that tie with Joe. 

The bottom line for me is that these relationships are healthy: there is give and take and it doesn't include mind altering substances!  For example, we are not drinking alcohol or getting intoxicated when we are together (don't laugh I see too many friends and groups of friends whose major form of communing is usually around alcohol, which has it's obvious disadvantages, even if we like a 'Cheers' like atmosphere!).

So this is, my friends, the point of relating.  Enjoying each other's company.  Being honest and open with someone as you open yourself to more intimacy with them.  It feels real good.  And that doesn't require romance at all!