Friday, July 01, 2005

what about your friends?

Two things can be concluded based on today's post, and this week's posts in general: 1) I read too much NYT, and 2) I am a bad daughter.

Still, I took a great deal of comfort in reading about a study that suggests something I've thought to be true about aging. The NYT reported this week that this study suggests that close friends and confidantes are more important than close family ties in increasing longevity. To sum it up:
"By differentiating between friends, children and other relatives," the authors write, "we were able to show that it is friends, rather than children or relatives, which confer most benefit to survival later in life."
Now, I would certainly not go so far as to conclude that family has no responsibility to their elderly members. This article did not necessarily assuage any of my classic Indian daughter guilt about my parents' aging.

Both my brother and I live thousands of miles from my parents. While my parents would certainly like us to live closer in proximity, my mother is vehemently opposed to entertaining any notion of moving to where we are. Her reasoning is as follows:
  • "These kids are not reliable- one day, we move one place, next day, they decide to go somewhere else"
  • Her friends are more important.
Now, that second rationale might seem heartless or unfair. But it is true. My mother is of a pragmatic nature. She knows a daughter and son are beholden to her. They can see her twice a year, or every week, but they will always be her children. Friends, on the other hand, are a different case. At my parents' age, it is not a simple task to move somewhere new and make new friends. They have a rhythm with their friends. They have lived in the same community for over 20 years. There are things to do every weekend, there are people to call if help is needed for this or that. Moreover, my mom knows the difference between someone spending time with you and someone hanging out with you. Her children spend time with her, her friends hang out with her. The latter is inherently less stressful, because no one feels they are doing the other a favor.

That is why my parents will live in EBF until the end of time. And I am equal parts chagrined and relieved.

Also, if and when I hit 60 or so, I'm doing a survey of my good friends, identifying a geographic hot spot of them, and planting my creaky a** down.

In the normal off-topic vein: great, so we have Bollywood to blame for Fergie & company. Personally, I stopped listening when Fergie joined because the band started to suck, not because she's white.

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