One of the great blessings of my life is the large number of friends I have. I have friends of long standing from my career as an Engineer. I have friends that I have routinely trusted with my life when we roped-up for a climb. I have many friends with whom I share an interest in the technology and history of Western railroads. Educators are friends. My family members are my friends. My friends are many in number and diverse in their life histories. So, if having a large and varied number of friends is a blessing to me, what is my problem? How can this multitude of friends be the cause of any pain?

I am 79 years old and the majority of my friends are either a little younger or a little older than me. Over the past ten years, an increasing number of my friends have passed away and I expect the increase to continue. This is the source of my pain. I understand that our cohort of friends must share the sting of the arrow of time; this includes me I know. There are no exceptions. The pain felt upon the loss of friends is part of what makes us Human. It comes with the territory.

One way to lessen my pain load is reduce the number of friends that I have. But doing so would debase my life to such a level as to make life unbearable – not a good thing. So, that is out. I am actually trying to increase my number of friends. My strategy is simple. Make new friends who are much younger and they will outlive me. That way the pain load is shifted from me to them. Simple! As a bonus I benefit from the enthusiasm and energy brought to new friendships. I find it difficult to slip into what I call “the old man’s outlook on life” when I am in the company of the younger set. However, I still do not understand the music(?).

I am stuck with the pain thing I fear. I will just have to continue what comes naturally to me. Instead of focusing on the pain I feel, when remembering a friend who has passed, I will feel thankful for the gift of friendship bestowed on me and the many good times we shared.


I am 89 years old and was married for 66 years. My wife passed away in 2016. I am a retired engineer and spent 35 years developing INS gyroscopes. I was a High School mentor in physics, a mountaineer, a model builder, a machinist and I have a degree in Physics. My interests include railroad history and photography, science history, cosmology, interesting people, and old engineering drawings. I place a high value on my friendships. I enjoying my life and I try look forward with a sense of anticipation and curiosity about what my future has in store for me.


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