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Long Friendships Can Increase Longevity



You'll hear them first. A scrappy group of old folks cracking themselves up at a table behind the short side of the bar, their own intimate enclave where they retell stories they've been retelling to one another for decades. During a walk down the beach between his legs, he and his boy are holding a ball between their knees. They're in their 80s and having a better time than anyone else in the place.

They've been together for more than 60 years. And it's paid off. Reviews of more than 148 different studies show that long, meaningful relationships reduce mortality risk.

Originally, Carl & Zoe (my grandparents), Ken and Nancy, Dick and Nancy, John and Janet, the Haaralas, the Carlsons. The Happy Gang. It was Carl who started calling them that, because every time this crew of since-retired teachers and school administrators and counselors got together, he said that everyone seemed so, well, happy.

The men started their careers in education around the same time, all in their mid-20s to early 30s, all living within 25 miles of one another, all with a sensitivity that bent toward mixed depth. They joined a bowling league together. This was about 1

957.

They finally brought their wives around. Better, they had a great time. So bowling became dinner at each other's houses. That turned into late night card. Every spring break and extended trips in Florida.

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			<span class= Carl Bargamian

The gang in the millennium together, not quite sure what they are going to do mixing cocktails if something did. In a 50-year blink, a friendship was forged, a mix of ease and effort and appreciation and openness.

They do not like work-of-friendship.

They have grown up, and members of the happy gang-or even children of members-got sick and passed on, the

They do the work-that does not feel like work-of-friendship, so they have done so years, because it makes life more fun, more fulfilling. So Carl and Zoe now drive 150 miles south once a month, at 80-some years old, to make it to a card game, or to a dinner where they'll sit at their spot and hear hair on fire as a vice-principal years ago. Because that's how they keep the friendship (and each other) going.


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