As you get older, you really just want to be surrounded by good people. People who are good for you, good to you, and good for your soul.
Were you once close to a person or people back in the day, and now you’re no longer friends? Perhaps it was just a time to move forward, or there was an incident and now you don’t want to have anything to do with each other?
Friends come and go. It’s part of the plan. If you stayed friends with only the friends from, say, grade school, you’d never make any new friends. Four-in-ten Americans have never moved out of their hometown. It stands to reason, therefore, that if you move away from your childhood neighborhood, you’d have to make new friends when you arrived at your new location.
When we moved from New York to California in 1982, I left a group of friends behind. We swore we’d stay in touch, and that our sofa beds would be kept busy with visitors. This was well before Facebook and email, and we had to pay long-distance charges on the phone. Cell phones came along in the mid-80s and then you had to be aware of what time of the day you were calling long distance to avoid the roaming charges.
That lasted for a few years and then the visits and phone calls dropped off. It was okay. New friends replaced old friends and time marched on. I still enjoy the friendship of some school friends, but I wonder where some of my old law firm work friends are nowadays. Over the years, here in California, I’ve made friends with several coworkers, but it’s the friends who are there day-in-and-day-out. The ones who just know when something is wrong. Or when something is right.
Whether you choose to move away from your childhood neighborhood is largely determined by what state you grew up in. For instance, in the Midwest, more than 70 percent of residents stayed in the state where they were born and nearly half of all adults in this region spent their entire lives in their hometown. Meanwhile, less than a third of those who have grown up in Western states have done the same, with Californians among the most likely to move around more frequently.
If you liked your hometown as a kid, there is no way to predict your happiness if you never move away. Seeing new things is amazing, but being able to see your mom anytime you want is amazing as well. Contentment largely rests on aligning one’s traits with one’s situation. If you’re a 22-year-old from Indiana who wants to get married soon and grew up on a farm, well, Chicago probably isn’t a good bet. That said, you’ll never know what could have been if it never was.
I recently read that it’s healthier to be close with friends than family: A report in Personal Relationships that included 270,000 people worldwide found that having close friends in old age was a stronger predictor of physical and emotional well-being than close family connections. What do you think?