The ‘R’ Word

The ‘R’ Word

An excerpt from Embracing 60, releasing Fall 2018

jeweled necklace.jpg

We were about four hours into our long-overdue lunch get-together when I noticed an odd occurrence. “Oh my goodness! Do you realize that in our thirty-plus year’s friendship, this is the first time ‘retirement’ has entered our conversation?”

To be fair, between two retail work schedules and family commitments, Bev and I don’t get together very often. It’s not uncommon for two years to pass before we can find all the stars aligned to give us a free afternoon to spend together and catch up.

Actually, it’s a miracle that we can even meet up for lunch as seldom as we do, considering the thousands of miles that could be between us. Bev’s an old friend from California. Okay – she’s not an ‘old’ friend. Two years younger than me, she’s technically a ‘younger’ friend. But since I’ve known her for over half of my life, let’s call her a ‘long-time’ friend, then.

I met Bev back in my much younger days, at the young whipper-snapper age of about twenty-four. I attended a small neighborhood church and Bev was the pastor’s daughter-in-law. She and Nick had a little girl first, Lynette. When I followed a year or so later with a little boy, Christopher, Bev filled me in on all the parenting snafus I’d run up against.

I still remember as we chatted one Sunday morning and I bemoaned the terrible-two’s that Christopher was just starting. “Just wait,” she warned me. “The three’s are even worse.”

She was right.

She and Nick added another little girl to their family, Danielle, and I added another little boy, Justin. After Justin was born, I went back to college two days a week. Chris went to preschool, but Justin was too young for day care so Bev watched him those two days. We couldn’t count how the number of times that Bev and I got together in southern California to commiserate with each other.

And now…our grandchildren are older than our kids were when we’d get together for some ‘Mommy friend time’ and let the four kids play together.

In 1993, Bev and Nick changed up the equation and added another little boy to their family. When Curtis was about six months old, they departed from The Golden State and moved to the Lone Star State. For many years, between working and raising families, occasional Christmas cards and birthday cards were our only communication.

Then in 2008, a new relationship moved me to Texas also. Now I don’t live very far from Fort Worth. I’m far enough away that it’s not that easy to get together, but its close enough that it’s not impossible.

Now, when we do manage to fit in an afternoon of lunch and wandering the shops, we don’t discuss potty training, or breaking up sibling disagreements. We don’t talk about fighting with children about getting homework done or cleaning their rooms. Now our children are in the midst of those struggles. Bev and I share stories about the grandkids. (And maybe chuckle a little at the paybacks our children are getting now.) We wander the shops and slather our arms with various scented lotions. We find goodies to drop in our basket – usually more things for our grandkids, sisters, or mothers than for ourselves. We chatter mile-a-minute, stepping right back into our friendship as if we’d never had any lapses.

But today was the first time that retirement entered our conversation. More than once. Not that we’re quite there yet. But we’re close enough that’s we see it approaching on the horizon. And, we’re both realizing that we’re not prepared for it yet. (Can we have another 20 years, please, pretty please?) We talk of insurance and whether Medicare will still be around when we reach that point in the next five to seven years. We touch on arthritis and how diet affects it, and my friend Connie who had bilateral knee replacements this past year. And this subtle, yet there, shift in our topics seems a little odd.

Would I step back in time thirty years to when we were getting to know each other and muddling through the years of young motherhood? Those years when we felt like we’d set adrift with our only compass being the friends we had that were in the same place in life? Not a chance.

It’s the cycle of life. We slowly slide into the next spot, the one our mothers before us filled, and our grandmothers before them. Although we’re further along the road on this journey than we were thirty years ago, we still have moments of joy and elation, and find there are still a few potholes that threaten to momentarily derail us. But I determined that as long as I can traipse through this journey wearing a necklace composed of the jewels of good and treasured friends, all is good. Even on those days when the unexpected ‘R’ word enters our conversations and catches us by surprise.




23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. BoomingOn
    Aug 31, 2018 @ 23:08:44

    Ah yes, we often have a giggle how the nature of our conversations has changed over the years. Blood test results are a common topic of conversation, good for a bit of one-upmanship. But don’t be afraid of retirement – it’s bloody marvellous!!


    • trishafaye
      Aug 31, 2018 @ 23:50:34

      Hehehe – love the blood tests results part! And medications. Ten years ago those words never left our lips…and now LOL
      Here’s looking forward to joining you in the land of retirement and golden days!


  2. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    Aug 31, 2018 @ 23:14:17

    How lovely Trisha that you have maintained your friendship despite distance. As for the ‘R’ word, I have supposed to have been in that time of my life for the last 4 years however, I might have retired from work but not from life. It can be such an exciting time, however, I don’t think people actually realize what a complete change it is and like me, aren’t prepared for it. I didn’t cope well at all at first, but now I have settled somewhere in life where I am happy and still have plenty to offer. Here’s to friendships.


    • trishafaye
      Aug 31, 2018 @ 23:48:27

      Life’s changes can take some adjusting sometimes! Yes, here’s to friendships! They get us through many of the bumpy parts of life! (Real life friends and virtual friends from afar!!)


  3. Natalie
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 00:46:48

    So wonderful to have long term friends to talk about everything in the cycle of life, including the fabulous ‘R’ word 🙂 #MLSTL


    • trishafaye
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 00:12:47

      It IS the best thing in the world. Even when our topics have changed through our journey. We call each other our sisters of the heart. We’re the sisters we chose in life.


  4. patwdoyle11
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 00:52:59

    I had a friend who couldn’t talk to me about “R” until this year. Now she’s asking me all kinds of things as she sees me happier, healthier, and more active than I’ve ever been. Don’t be afraid to talk about it!


    • trishafaye
      Sep 05, 2018 @ 01:25:55

      I think I’d be more excited about it if I were feeling more prepared for it. But maybe this is one of those things where we’ll never be as prepared as we want to be. When once you get to one step, we’re looking towards another goal further along LOL


    Sep 05, 2018 @ 01:33:58

    I predict that, once you join the retirement club, you won’t think of it as the “R” word at all. Life is good at this end of the pool… jump in!


  6. 1010parkplace
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 01:42:37

    What a beautiful post! I’m a Texas girl as well… San Antonio. I don’t have children or grandchildren to talk about but a number of longtime, great girlfriends and I get together from time to time, and it’s precious. Many of us have been friends since high school, and that’s so very special. #MLSTL


    • trishafaye
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 00:11:28

      I’m glad you’ve got your own valued necklace of friends to treasure!
      I’m a little further north of you (DFW area) i’ve only been in San Antonio for my son’s Air Force graduation. It was a beautiful area.


  7. Retirement Reflections
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 01:43:05

    Close, long-time friendships are priceless. Thank you for sharing this one!


  8. Jennifer Jones
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 02:41:25

    I loved reading about your catch up with your friend. One of my best friends lives two states away from me. We never talk on the phone and we catch up rarely. But when we do it’s as though we’ve never been apart. You’ve reminded me that we are overdue for another catch up. #MLSTL #midlifeblogger


  9. leannelc
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 02:55:14

    “Old” friends are just the best aren’t they Trisha? My SIL and I have been friends since our kids were young and we comment on how our conversations have morphed now to the point where we’re discussing our latest ailment (something we swore we’d never do!) We talk about elderly parents, travel, giving up work – all similar I’m sure to you and Bev – friends are such a blessing aren’t they? #MLSTL 🙂


    • trishafaye
      Sep 05, 2018 @ 12:18:51

      Yes they are Leanne! I remember the first time all us ‘girls’ (the 4 of us from high school, that I’ve known since I was 14) was out to lunch and one popped open a pill to take before lunch. We were all …. “Whoa!” But these long-time friendships are truly the best!


  10. Debbie Harris
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 09:39:30

    Hi Trisha, it does seem strange that our conversations go this way these days but that’s what good friends are for. I loved this post and the friendship with others. Sharing for #mlstl


  11. melodiemillerdavis
    Sep 09, 2018 @ 23:52:50

    I enjoyed checking in here too: not quite to retirement, but yes, on the closer radar. I was so glad to have one of those check ins this summer with a long time friend with a woman also named Deb. Conversation never lags, and we never have enough time together. Treasured friendships for sure! And yes, health issues were a lot on our conversational menu. 🙂


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