My mom was 60 years old when she died. 60 isn’t very old, but it’s old enough to learn a few life lessons and pass them on to your kids. I’d like to share one of those lessons.
A couple years after graduating college, I complained to my mom about how hard it was to maintain the friendships I had made in school. The bonds were once so strong but I could see them weakening as life started to get in the way. It was frustrating and scary to observe those relationships slowly fade away.
“Dan,” she said, “pretty much everyone is bad at keeping relationships alive and strong. It’s just a fact of life that you shouldn’t take personally. If you want friendships to thrive, you need to take it upon yourself. You need to be the one that makes the phone call. You need to be the one that plans time together. You need to be the one to reach out when they need help. It takes work — a lifetime of work. But it’s worth it.”
The beauty of this advice was that it wasn’t just talk — my mom lived by every word. Nearly every day of her 20 month cancer battle was filled with the love and joy of a friend. To drop off some food, to help run an errand, to just talk on the phone. She spent decades building and maintaining those relationships, even when life got in the way. And in the end, the love and effort she poured into those friendships came flowing back into her life.
I’d say it was worth it.