Friends serve as good medicine

My life has been an interesting one–from the east coast to the west coast to the centre of the continent.
I was born in the United States of a Canadian father. My first teaching job was in New York state and my second was in Ontario.
I married a Canadian. And although we have lived in both countries, we decided to keep our respective citizenship. So I feel half-Canadian.
Besides living in New York and Ontario, I have lived in Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Alberta, and Kansas for at least short periods of time.
And in all of those places, I’ve had many interesting experiences and have met many wonderful people. Friends I call them!
But, sadly at my age, too many of my special friends are gone, such as Lois, Salome, Rae, Ruth, Winnie, Norman, and Wes. Some, like Esther, Ada, Lowell, Ray, and Ginny, no longer travel.
Fortunately, Walter and Mabel from British Columbia still are travelling—and I’m expecting them this week.
Walter and Mabel were university students at the church where my husband was pastor more than 50 years ago. And, actually, Howard married them.
Mabel dressed for her wedding at our house. Being poor at the time, we had no full-length mirror. So for me, one of the perks of their wedding was the beautiful mirror we had to buy for the bride!
Now, after an absence of 25 years, they actually are coming back into my life. What a pleasure it will be!
Friends like Mabel and Walter make me feel good inside. They are the right kind of people to grieve with because we have never been apart in spirit!
Friendships can have a huge impact on your quality of life–benefiting your health and your happiness. And supporting you when you need them.
Researchers say that friends even can affect longevity. In one study, subjects who had a large network of friends lived 22 percent longer than those with fewer friends.
And you not only will live longer, but better. The Mayo Clinic says, “Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being.”
Mayo reports that friends not only can increase your self-confidence and purpose, but they also reduce your stress level and help you cope with major traumas, such as serious illness, job loss, other losses, or the death of someone close to you.
Yes, friends are very important. They make you exercise and make you think. And, even more important, they make you laugh. Knowing what we know about the health benefits of laughter, that is quite a plus.
As you get older, you can’t have too many friends. So get in touch with old friends, enjoy your current friends, and always remember it is never too late to make new friends.
Don’t forget that friends are good medicine. So enjoy your “medicine” today.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at