Here's to your health!

by DavalosMcCormack on June 18, 2009

The other day I was busy getting ready to play squash with Kevin.  While I was changing, a woman I know came up to me and began chatting about her workout.

She seemed very intent on chatting. We talked about how she swims and how she comes to the gym at least 4 days a week.  We talked about the recession, the stock market drop and how it has affected all of us.  She said her financial counselor told her not to give up the gym because the gym meant her health and her well being..

Then she got to the real reason she wanted to chat. She wanted to make friends.   I’ve seen her at the gym a lot and have exchanged hello’s, but this conversation was one that was looking for a connection.

Do you remember when you were small and the kids were on the playground or out in the park playing kickball or baseball?  You didn’t know those kids but if you had the guts you could go up to the group and say  “Can I play?”

Usually they would say, “Sure” and a magical thing happened, you got to play, and you also made friends!  Maybe you kept those friends for years, and as you grew up you made more friends, collegues at work or parents of your kid’s friends.  It was because you spent time with these people sharing experiences, good and bad and friendships took shape.

But, what happens when you don’t have those options?  It’s harder to make friends when you don’t have a full time job, or you work alone like me, or  you’re older and many of your friends have moved away to be near family.  So what do you do?

You join!  The church, the volunteer organizations, beach clean-up or other civic groups, or you join whatever group you find that shares an interest with you, or you join a gym.

You begin to see the same people on a daily basis or when you’re there, you share some conversations and create an opportunity to make friends.  It’s harder to make friends when you grow older because you have to make an effort to continue to stay in touch and create time to share dinner, events, or anything that helps build that alliance of friendship.

It all begins with sharing an experience and chatting about it, and then either a connection is made or you just had a nice chat.

Why should you take the time to make friends.  Because as John Donne said, “No man or woman is an island.” (Trust me, he would have included “woman” if he had been born in more enlightened times.)

Friends, companions, laughter, shared goals, shared activities, all of these things are  important to your health.  Actually, anything you do is important to your health.  Our friend Dr. William Stewart, wrote a book, “Deep Medicine”

and in it he explains how everything we do relates to our health.

Think of it, just sitting here writing this I am reminded that I need to sit up, improve my posture, work my brain, think about what I want to relate to you.  Everything we do has an impact on our health.

So making and keeping friends will improve  and enrich  your outlook on life, and when someone stops to chat with you at the gym, they are really saying…”Can I play?  Wanna be friends?” or maybe they’re saying, “Here’s to your health!”

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