Sure, it’s important that you keep up with your friends. You wouldn’t want to be one of those people that just disappears once they have kids. You and your spouse should get out and see folks from time to time. You can’t turn down every invite. You can let those friendships—the ones from school, from growing up, from the old days—drift away. You can’t neglect your hobbies, either. Work, too…
And all of a sudden, where did your time go?
Remember what really counts more than anything else is family. Your family.
As Chris Rock recently joked to the New York Times,
The other day I realized I’ve never met an elderly person that was cared for by their friends. Every elderly person I know that’s got any trouble is cared for by a spouse or a child. Sometimes they have like five kids but only one helps. Where are your friends? Your friends are probably not going to be there when it really counts. When my dad was dying in the hospital, where were his friends? My grandmother, where were her friends? Don’t get me wrong, you get sick in your 20s, your friends will come to the hospital. It’s an adventure. You get sick in your 60s, they farm it out. “You go Wednesday and I’ll go Sunday.” Enjoy them while you have them. But if you think your friends are your long-term solution to loneliness, you’re an idiot.
Forget who is going to take care of you when you’re old; as we’ve said, happiness is the crowded table. Dinners with your children… and their children. Trips together. Phone calls and backyard pool parties. Hours and hours together, watching the sunset, sharing memories, tending the fire.
How do you get that? It’s not by hiring a babysitter so you can go to another conference. It’s not by meeting your high school baseball buddy for drinks. It’s not by working another late night at the office.