Want to Make Friends After 40? Try these tips.

Want to make friends after 40?  Hey.  Want to be my friend?  Sure.  And you go off…hand in hand into the sunset to play with pieces of bark, climb the jungle gym, or skip rope.  I just made a new friend like this yesterday.  Actually, that’s not true.  I wish it was.

As you enter what seems like a new era in your life, making friends should be this easy, right?  Not so.  I feel like I am personally stuck in some limbo place where I don’t know what to do.  My girls are both, ahhh, both going to be in high school now.  However, some of my friends have younger kids.  They seem to have more time to meet new people because they are in that “I still have to drive everywhere, and go to play dates, etc” phase.

I also have friends who don’t have children, or have kids who have been out of the house a long time.  I want to let you in on a little secret.  This in-between limbo place is hard.  I feel like other people have it together in this area, and I look around and wonder if I just don’t “people” well.  I probably don’t to be honest because I don’t fit in with the norm…and I like it that way to a certain extent.  Working alone doesn’t give me time to socialize face to face.

The difference now, is that people who are in their 40’s actually remember a time when we used to get together.  A time when we had dinner parties, house warmings, Christmas open houses, or just come by for a beverage nights.  So what can someone do to make new friends and rekindle this lost art of socializing?

How to make friends after 40:

  1. You have to be open to the possibility.  Meaning, it might take you out of your comfort zone and you might actually have to say “Hey.  That looks like fun.  Can I come too?”  <<< Now I know this seems like you are inviting yourself, but you are reaching out to see what the response is.  New friendships don’t just happen and maybe there seems to be the same ole’ crew doing things, and they aren’t aware that you might like to come to.  You can hint at it, but I actually suggest just outright saying that you’d be interested in x, y, or z event as well.  See what happens from there.  I bet they didn’t think you’d be interested.
  2. Announce it on your status.  Sadly, most people will read your status before they call, text or ask you what’s up, right?  So say “Hey.  I am thinking about getting a paint night together on x date.  Comment if you’re in.”  Boom.  You have a night out planned.
  3. Make a private list in your journal of what you like to do and what types of people you actually want to attract.  I don’t cross-stitch.  I just threw that out there because I am not going to find new friends at a sewing circle.  I do yoga, hike, walk in the woods (almost the same thing, but not quite), drink wine, be a hermit, go to the mountains, read books, garden, write, journal, listen to 80’s music, pet dogs, be a geek, like to eat food that’s gluten-free, and occasionally paint bad paintings at expensive paint nights.  I could go on, but you get my drift.  I would like to attract people who kind of like the same things as me or at least have a few things in common with me.  The hermit part is actually important because I need friends who ask me to do things, yet understand if I say no because insert hermity excuse.  << it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see people, it just means not then.
  4. Join online groups of like-minded people.  After you have your list, check out places like Meetup.com and/or local FB groups.  Also, you can always volunteer at a local museum or hospital.  What if there’s nothing on the list that you like?  Start your own if you want.  Announce in those NextDoor app places that you are having a book club on x night to read Harry Potter again for the 100th time and anyone who wants to discuss the new things you found after this 100th reading can come over.  Wear your house colors though.

Some people say that it’s a matter of lifestyle and what’s important to you.  That if you want to make friends, you really will find a way, not an excuse.  I agree with that to be honest.  I know that I use excuses to back out of things (I’m in a nest today.  I’m writing.  It’s cold.), but lately I looked up and felt panic.  Holy Crap.  My kids are almost in college.  I need to make more of an effort.  And I do believe there’s time for us all to make more of an effort no matter your age.  So let go of the “My house is a mess” excuse, and start planning an event.  I’ll bring the wine or gluten-free snacks.  If you tell me I can wear my pajamas over that’s a plus.

Interested in uniting separately in your own homes to work together with my like-minded journal therapy group?  Read more here >>> HHH Club <<<

Can you be alone without being lonely?

I am always fascinated by research…particularly genetic research after discovering all the things I inherited that I choose to overcome.  One of the things that I read while researching the feeling of being alone was this.

A 2007 study published in the journal Genome Biology found loneliness could be in our genes. The team of researchers discovered a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells in participants who suffered from chronic loneliness. These feelings of solitude were associated with changes in gene expression that drive inflammation — known as one of the first responses of the immune system.

Hold up.  This can drive inflammation?  Well what if you prefer solitude and don’t necessarily feel lonely?  What then?  Because I do have autoimmune and inflammation is the last thing I need.  So let me ponder this out with you guys.

I have long thought that social media today makes some young people feel alone and like an outcast.  Why?  Because I have seen it happen in my own household.  My youngest daughter was not invited to an outing where every single person she knew appeared to be there.  All the photos.  Inside I was livid.  All the people she sat with were there…what game were these girls playing because believe me, I didn’t raise anyone to play these games.  So how do I go about teaching the difference between being alone and being lonely?  Enjoying solitude, yet feeling at peace and not excluded?

Now let’s look at the elderly.  They don’t have social media and can feel alone as well; however, they pick up the phone and call people.  They have found strong mental habits like thinking of their loved ones who might have passed on with fond memories knowing they lived a great life together.  They make church dates, and meetings, and try to get out and keep up their old habits.

Between the generations it is sad to say that we are losing some of the things that make us mentally strong and foster these slight difference in being alone and being okay with it, and feeling isolated and cut off, which is not the same.

So how can we go about creating new patterns that make us feel less alone?

  1. List the top 3 people who you have not talked to in a while, but would like to.  Do you have their actual phone number OR could you Skype with them?  No texting.  Make it a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.
  2. List 3 hobbies you could do OUTSIDE of your house where you might meet people of like minds.  No computer stuff unless you are going to look for a Meet Up near you.  In this day and age it is important to get out.
  3. Write a letter to a pen pal.  Yup.  I am way old school, but this was fun back in the day.  You never knew when you might get a letter.  I remember giving my friend in Australia my address and getting a card.  I later sent her a package of some sort.  It was pretty cool to me.  Now, I don’t know much about this site, but here you go.  And no this is not a hook-up as far as I can tell…but always be careful.

What would you do if you were lonely?

  1. You might decide it’s too much trouble talking to anyone in the “real world” and play video games or watch T.V. without actually making new real life friends.  <<< Instead, grab your journal and write about the qualities a supportive friend might have.
  2. You might decide to drink alcohol…alone.  <<< Instead make a green smoothie, a cup of tea, or a fruit water and look online at your local gym memberships.  You can always just walk the treadmill, but you are getting out.
  3. Get invited to things, but never actually leave the house.  <<< Be careful here.  There is a difference in resting and deciding that you are always too tired to go out.  I have been there so I feel like I can say that to you.  I make it a point to tell my group of friends that I want to get together monthly.

In the end, what I have found while working with my group coaching members is that action actually makes us feel better!  Write this down.  If you would like to meet some new friends online in a safe environment, I invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  We work our way through our thoughts and how to control them, through our hearts and how to foster worthiness and love, and through our overall health and wellness thus creating a more meaningful and fulfilling life no matter where we are in the world.  This is right for you if you are ready to move forward from stuck to unstuck and from indecision to clarity.  Speak to you soon!  ~Aimee

 

5 tips to Make Life Easier

I make it a habit to read and respond to everyone personally while I still can on my Facebook Fan Page.  There used to be 80 fans, and while I am approaching 80,000 on the page, this blog is where the meat is.  Someone said “If only it were that F-word easy” on one of my posters the other day.  Here is the interesting thing…it can be that F-word easy.  It can.

However, I have to tell you angry sister, I do understand you.  I would love for you to read my about me here or my early posts about going to the doctor’s every week, but I am personally not going back there right now.  I understand commenting from a place of pain.  I do.  I understand sitting on the couch with tears running down your face because the physical pain is wearing you down mentally.  And as hard as it is, let’s get up, out of our pajamas, as I tell you on my videos, and make a damn plan.  If you do the little things first and get them out-of-the-way, we can tackle the big things later.

5 Tips to Make Life Easier:

  1. Let go of yesterday’s pain.  Emotionally, you might have spoken from a place of pain or anger.  Make yourself a cup of tea, and if you can fix whatever happened, set about making it right.  If not, let go.  Light a candle, put on your favorite music, and sit down and visualize your best self.  It is somewhat like meditation, but I do this with my own pain.  I visualize that it is gone and in its place is the best version of me possible.  I have had help with this process, because I also journal the best version of myself and how I want to feel.  It does help me release the feelings that are residual from 18 years of pain.  I mean come on, I didn’t think it was ever going to be like pressing the easy button.
  2. Do not, in any way shape or form, revert to victim mentality if you can help it.  What I mean here is don’t feel sorry for yourself or blame others.  I am purely talking about taking back control from those you have given your power too.  I understand the suffering of pain.  As we search for a way to protect ourselves from it, we climb deeper inside and cling to it being something that has happened to us.  Instead of embracing it as something that is currently part of us.  Once we name this fear, pain, anger and recognize that it really is part of us right now, we can learn to shift away from it as a feeling we don’t want to feel right now.  That is what I did with my pain.  I used yoga to shift away even as I embraced the pain of the movements.  To further explain, here is what I did.  I could not hold down dog at first.  The pain in my wrists was so great that I would inwardly berate myself at first.  I focused on the pain.  As I learned to shift from that to the breath, I began to have a revelation.  The pain would lessen if only for a bit.  By the end of my 200 hour yoga teacher training, the pain was a dull ache in my lower back and shoulders, where it had been a raging inferno consuming me before my journey.
  3. Get stronger.  This can be mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Really, it can be done.  I had every uplifting book known to man.  I had CD’s.  I despised all those people.  Yup.  I did.  Until I realized that wasn’t going to change my situation.  They were not to blame because they were able to get over x, y, z that they wrote about (insert what is causing you to feel weak).  I decided that I needed to be stronger.  I wrote more in my journal about what i wanted to feel.  I continued my yoga practice, and I surrounded myself with the types of people I needed in my life.  The ones doing the exact same thing I was.  MOVING on.
  4. Find the right people to lift you up.  So this has to be next, because I have written about moving past the energy vampires before.  You can’t expect to move on without any energy.  If you have people taking, taking, taking, maybe a tiny give back to keep you there, but then taking, taking, taking again.  It’s time to create that distance I have spoken of.  Start getting to exercise class if it’s for you, or paint nights.  Meditation groups, yoga, or anything that does not include talking about your pain and suffering.  Leave that for your counselor.  Move on with your friends.  Does that mean you can’t ever talk about it?  No.  It doesn’t.  But look at what you are trying to become and step into it completely so you have a fighting chance. 
  5. Be consistent in your steps.  If at all possible, don’t revert back to “Woe is me.”  Do I do that sometimes?  Hell yes.  Then I call a friend and say “Slap me like in Moonstruck if I say…” then we go on about our day.  I also try to do that for my clients as well.  Ermm, not the slapping part.  But I tell them the truth.  The truth is so hard sometimes, but I say it anyway.  Always.  Because I want to be consistent in my steps and part of that is owning my truth and knowing when I have started slipping backwards.  It is important to continue on the journey forward with slow and steady steps if need be, but at least I am making progress.

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Dear friends, do you need more help?  Each month we work on raising our vibrations in the Head|Heart|Health Club.  I would love to have you join us!

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On being friends…

I saw some photos pop up in my news feed which reminded me I needed to message my friend again.  I had been trying to get together with her since February.  I saw the last date of my message was May 1st saying I wanted to catch up.  There were several messages before that as well.  Me asking her if she had time to get together for her birthday, and other things.  The last date night had been in December or January and we had a really good time.  We went to a local restaurant and stayed longer than we planned.  We laughed until tears came out of the corner of our eyes.  Every time we get together as couples, we have an amazing time.  I even mentioned it would be great to do a couples weekend trip.

Let me back up a few years though…eleven and a half to be precise.  When I had my two girls 18 months apart I thought my social life was pretty much over because I was not sure how to manage a toddler and breastfeeding a new baby.  I thought I would probably be stuck in the house until I weaned my baby.  After 6 months of that, I could no longer take that my favorite thing in the world was a trip to Target, because it meant seeing people.  I didn’t care if I had to figure out how to get the horrendous double stroller out and the little carrier to fit in there by myself.  I had recovered from the c-section by that point even though I still had pain where I had been cut (another story).  I had this brilliant idea to set up a playgroup and advertise it for free in our neighborhood letter.

MOMS poured in.  I got about 25 e-mails or so at first.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had the first meeting at our “clubhouse” and that’s when I met ladies who would be life savers for me at that point in my life.  After a few weeks of this clubhouse madness, a few dropped off.  That was great.  We were left with a core group at this point and then there were about 9 of us.  I decided to do a rotation of houses schedule.  Every single Tuesday at 10 a.m. we met at someone’s house.  We got close.  We laughed.  We cried.  We survived.  We were the most eclectic group ever and the stories I could tell…well, I loved every single minute of it.  When we started falling apart for one reason or another, I was extremely sad.  Some moved due to the military.  One left her husband and then didn’t talk to us.  A few of us remained. 

When my closest two friends from the group moved away, I was sad.  Very sad, but I knew it was going to happen.  This was before the “rise” of Facebook, so I know I sound old, but we had e-mail.  I was happy to have that.  Years later one of those friends magically moved back to the same area.  I was ecstatic!  We could get together again like old days.  Time melted away when I saw them.  Then yesterday, I got a message (I took out names):

Hi, I am working my way through letting everyone know (that doesn’t know already) we are leaving tomorrow. We have Sold our house, fingers crossed it all goes through. It all happened much quicker than we thought.  Husband is working more and more in Europe so it made sense to move back. I think it is now or never with the girls…. I am really sorry I didn’t get to catch up with you before we left but we just had so many things to do. The dog left today she was sent on the plane this morning. I have your details and when I get my new email address I will send it too you. So if you ever make that trip over then maybe you could pop over and see us.

So if for some reason you are reading this friend, the reason the only word I typed back was “wow” is because this hurts.  I got a Facebook message.  A message.  I want that to really sink in.  I got a Facebook message telling me you sold your house and the only reason you sent it is because I sent you a message asking for another date night soon.  I feel like an awesome friend right about now.  So girlfriends reading this, if you have a friend who values your time together, please make time for them.  I know that your children’s lives are busy.  I know that there is soccer, swimming, field hockey, ballet, gymnastics, cheering and whatever else you have your kids in.  But if you have become so busy with “life” that you no longer have time for friends, one day you will regret it.

So when I go to my kitchen window, I will look at the little pot you gave me when you left the first time and think of our time together with a smile…

Friendship

 

 

Motivational Monday…

Many people live with regret.  They have things they would change.  I was reading this article, oh here she goes again, about regret.  I am taking a different path this year…test driving if we can make it on one salary for a variety of reasons.  So what do you think the number one regret of the dying is?  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”  You can read more about it here

This ties in with my thoughts from yesterday.  You are your own advocate and you need to focus on what is going right in your life.  If something isn’t going the way you want, write down what you can do to fix it.  Make a plan.  I’m not saying it will happen overnight, because it won’t.  I just get tired of excuse after excuse.  Even from me.  I know it is easier said than done, but you hold the keys to your happiness.  I say all this because I had yet another doctor’s appointment today, and when they aren’t willing to look at the whole picture, I need to fire them.  I have come to the conclusion regret number five (happiness), is directly controlled by none other than, drum roll, me.  I’m not happy with what is going on with my healthnotcare.  Nothing I told her today seemed to be a concern, and blood work was only ordered when I made myself a priority.  Why am I not a priority all the time?  Well, that ship has sailed.  I am going to be.  If you are not a priority in your life, do something to change it.

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Be excellent to yourself…

I have talked about this before, but why must we beat ourselves up over and over again about the same thing?  So we made a mistake.  Move on.  So we said something dumb.  Show me someone who hasn’t.  We made a mistake at work.  No one else ever has, right?  We said something in front of our kids and they were not meant to hear it.  What has been said cannot be unsaid.  It can be explained.  It can be forgiven.  So forgive yourself.

I am constantly reminding myself of these very things.  I feel guilty as a working mom and wish I could do many things that I just can’t do.  When I get off of work, I feel guilty if I want to swing by the gym, grab a drink with a friend, or just go shopping by myself.  I have put off going to my yoga class because my girls are not asleep yet and I haven’t tucked them in.  My husband reminded me tonight that when I have a mental breakdown because I haven’t made time for myself, well, then I’ll really feel guilty.  Ha.

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, stress can cause us to feel overwhelmed, overworked and overdone!  That’s why I want you to focus on being excellent.  So you didn’t finish that thing at work.  Meh.  It will be there tomorrow.  I need more people to realize that life isn’t just about getting the job done.  I am wrestling with my own dilemmas just like everybody else.  I appreciate the people in my life who tell me to slow down and relax.  I realize I am wired to go full speed ahead, and try to get everything done at once.  I need to book the family another get away to the cabin in the woods with no cell reception.  I like that place.  Let’s all slow down and take a deep breath.  Read this if you need some help.  Look at the section on mindfulness, which means to focus on the here and now.

Lastly, consider what you are eating at this time of year.  Here is an article to help.  I actually have pinned several recipes to my boards about clean eating.  Whatever method you chose, just remember, tomorrow is another day.

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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