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Friends & Relationships As I Get Older

Friends & Relationships As I Get Older

By Bart Astor  

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rest of my life. I’m 66 and I figure if all goes well, I could have another 25 or 30 years. That sure is a lot of time. Almost half of what I’ve already lived. So what am I going to do with those next decades?

Good question. I don’t know and frankly, I’m really not too worried about it. I’ve always managed to keep busy doing whatever it was I did. I know my wife and I will do a lot of things together—travel, get-togethers with family and friends, and cultural events. And I already am an active volunteer with my homeowner’s association and in my town. So keeping busy, challenged, and engaged is not a problem for me. 

What may be a problem, though, is that I don’t have many friends. Is that odd?

Turns out, no it’s not odd, especially for men. There really seems to be a gender gap there. The friends I do have are either a few women from my past and present, or couples where the female half started out as my wife’s friend. 

Then again, maybe what I really miss is my past, not more friends. You know, like the days when I played football and baseball with “the guys” every week. I can’t do that anymore and golf just doesn’t have the same kick as intercepting a pass. I do go to see my beloved Nationals once in a while with a couple of friends or my son-in-law and grandson. And I occasionally watch a Sunday football game, although mostly by myself (while my wife does whatever she can to avoid it. It’s a good thing we have more than one TV). But there still seems to be a longing. I envy other guys who talk about going on a golf weekend. But then I realize that it sounds awful to me. I wish I was into something physically challenging that much that I’d want to play the equivalent of 3 or 4 rounds of golf in 3 days as those guys do. 

So I don’t know if having few friends really is a problem or not. I say it is, but I also see that I don’t really do much to change the situation. I’m guessing, therefore, that I probably don’t really want more of those “buddy-type” friends. I clearly don’t expend the energy so it hasn’t been a priority. Deep down I probably feel that cultivating and maintaining another friend would be more effort than the reward I’d get. If I felt otherwise I would have done it already. Right?

What do you think? Am I missing something? Do you have buddies? Are they guys from your past with whom you stayed close or did you make new friends later in life? How did you do it? Do you think I should too? 


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Bart Astor

Bart Astor at Bart Astor
Bart Astor is a recognized expert in life’s transitions and eldercare. His book, AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices about Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle, and Pursuing Your Dreams, was released in May, 2013 and was #1 in Amazon’s retirement planning category for 6 consecutive weeks and a Washington Post best seller. His unexpected personal journey led him to write his best-selling book, Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents, now in its second printing and critically regarded for being today’s must-have healthcare resource. Bart has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “MarketPlace,” Ric Edelman’s “The Truth About Money,” AARP Radio, and Boomer’s Rock radio. His perspective comes from personal experience, both good and bad, and sometimes that’s what matters most.