Making New Friends
Since my diagnosis 7 years ago, I have become very active in the lung cancer community. It started small by volunteering with a local organization, but then I went all in. I work with several advocacy groups educating patients and the public, mentoring the newly diagnosed, and fighting for more research funding. I travel a lot to conventions to share my story in hopes of helping others.
Finding a way to give back
After I was forced to “retire” I needed to find a new purpose and a way to contribute to society. I love giving back to my community and I volunteer with various groups every week. I’ve always worked in customer service and the healthcare field so advocating for others seemed like the perfect fit. But lately I’ve been feeling like I need more. It can get exhausting and overwhelming at times and I often need to take breaks.
My kids are grown (27 and 18) and my daughter recently moved out to go to college. My husband travels a lot for work so my house has become very quiet. Too quiet. I have been actively raising children for 27 years (more than half my life) and my title of MOM has always taken priority. My most fulfilling jobs are being a wife and mother. I guess I’m trying to figure out who I am now and what to do with my time.
How to meet new friends
Like many others, I have lost friends after my diagnosis for various reasons. So how do you make new friends when you don’t work outside the house? This is a challenge for me and I sometimes wish I still worked. I have a few church friends, but most are over 65 and we don’t have much in common. The majority of my friends have cancer which comes with its own set of challenges. I want a few friends, that don’t have cancer, that I can go out to eat with and sit and talk with about normal life stuff. I even went as far as Googling “how to meet new friends.” Does anyone else have this problem?
Putting myself out there
I recently joined a women-only site looking for friends to socialize with. I created a profile and began searching. I assume this is what it’s like to search on a dating site, but I’m looking for platonic friendships. I only signed up for the free version so I can’t filter them very much. I found myself reading bios and ignoring all the ones too young or too old or those with small kids. Reaching out and sending a message to another stranger with common interests felt strange and very awkward, but I did it.
Is this crazy? Maybe, but I’m tired of being bored and a little lonely and could really use a life away from the lung cancer community. I welcome any suggestions that may have worked for you. I’ll keep you posted on my social life.
Where have you found the most support during your lung cancer journey?