By the age of 40, most of us have gone through so many major life changes. We’ve changed careers, we’ve gone through divorces, children have grown up and moved on. It often leaves us feeling alone and defeated. However, it is possible to create a wonderful, fulfilling new life. I hit a wall in 2011, where my life just wasn’t working. I suddenly looked up and no one was around. I had been divorced for several years and had become obsessed with two things: work and remarrying.
Well, that wasn’t much of a life. Very boring, very unfulfilling. So, I set about changing my life. I embaked on a journey to completely change my life. One big element that was missing was friends. At first it seemed like a daunting task. You can’t just go to the store and get some new friends. But, I figured if I started exploring who I was and started finding activities outside of work, I might meet some people who enjoyed the same things.
I made a list of new activities to try. I started taking some classes. I looked for community events to attend. learned to play the guitar and to paint. I followed my intuition, which led to to interesting places and interesting people. I struck up conversations. I asked questions. I noticed who I felt more comfortable with and who I enjoyed being around. I accepted invitations and I invited people to get together. Friendships happened naturally.
Making new friends was easier than I thought. I took a little while, but it was totally worth it. I think, sometimes we make the prospect of making new friends into a problem, rather than an opportunity. Fear can keep us stuck. But, if we can put one foot in front of the other, we notice that it is easier than we thought and that we actually enjoy the process. Two of the most important lessons that I learned about making new friends are:
- Focus on attending activities you enjoy becasue the people who attend them enjoy them also and you already have something in common. You automatically have something to talk about.
- Notice how you feel around certain people. If you feel happy and energized, they might be someone worth considering for a potential friend.
I think anyone can make friends after 40. It just takes a little courage and the willingness to try something new. If you’d like to read about my adventure in changing my life, check out my memoir, Center of Gravity, available on Amazon.