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A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

Diogenes said “As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task.”

I’ve never the quote in the prompt. There are some flaws in my character that I’d like to change: does that mean I should change my friends? That’s scary.

At my age and stage, the people I see most are family members, and I am probably the average of them, and they of me. Not one of my children is so different than me that I don’t know where they’re coming from. As a parent of young children I had to follow the dictum that you should parent your children, not be their friend. I see a lot of sense to that and tried to remember it when they were in sticky situations which I could understand, but as a parent had to “correct” their thinking and try to “influence” their choices.

It’s kind of fun now to see them as adults and be “equals”. Mothering them too much can be a bit disrespectful at their ages. Nevertheless, there are times when they still see me purely as they mother (and their dad their dad).

Friends whom I’d consider close, are quite different than I am, and while I admire each of them for some reason, I not sure I have “taken on” any of their characteristics. I enjoy their company partly because they are different, and in fact, we have to skirt political discussion carefully, because a couple of them are in a totally different camp than I am! At my age though I have a pretty clear vision of who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and I’m content with that; I’m not sure how much I’d be willing to change.

One of my best friends is “gets me” totally. I like it that I can tell her anything and she won’t judge me — she just listens and and might even say, “Well that didn’t work out very well, did it?” Everyone needs a friend who will call them on their “stuff” now and then. That requires a good deal of respect for the other person and some underlying bond, which I think we have.

I have a casual friend off on a cruise that includes the Galapagos and other spots in South America (Peru for sure). She went with two other good friends, and I have to honestly and somewhat sadly admit that I don’t have two other friends close enough that I’d feel comfortable with traveling with for a 2 or 3 weeks. (And my husband wouldn’t go!) Mind you, you’d probably be good friend if you spent that much time together (or not).

I know a lot of people I’d like to know better, I think. But lots of us retirees (or nearly) are in similar boats. We tend to spend free time with family and grandchildren, and I’m blessed in that I like all of them.

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