Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Half-Generation Friends

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first real conversation with Perry Garfinkel on my radio show, "Your Life, Your Relationships". [You can hear the conversation online here, or here in iTunes.] It was delightful! I felt like I'd made a new friend, or maybe found an older brother I hadn't yet met. Names of several well-known people, whom I'd heard lecture, or whose works I'd read, fell off his tongue -- they were his teacher, his friends, his personal acquaintances. Wow!

It turned out that he's 11 years older than I am. While he was in India, I was in high school (and if I hadn't been intellectually precocious, I'd still have been in grade school)! That meant he was enough older than me to have been in the vanguard of the American consciousness revolution, while I was following distantly in their footsteps.

And that got me to thinking about friends who are a half-generation ahead of or behind me. [A generation is variously described as 20 - 30 years, so a half-generation would be 10 - 15 years.] These are very important friendships!

When I was a kid, my Dad had 2 good friends, men he'd play tennis with each week. One had his own family, with kids around the ages of my sister and me; our two families became friendly. The other, though only a couple of years younger than my Dad, was still single, and actively dating. The women he dated all seemed to be about the same age, 23 - 26, even as he got older. As I entered my teen years, my (temporary) friendships with these young women became very important to me. Why? Well, they were enough older than me to have 'been there, done that', and thereby give good advice (and I had no older sisters or cousins). They were also young enough to understand my world, and therefore not to judge me in the way someone of my parents' age would have.

Today, as an adult, I still have half-generation friends. The older ones point the way into the second half of life. The younger ones change my perspective on the world, because it looks a bit different to them than it does to me.

Who are the half-generation friends in your life? What do they bring to your life?

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