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As the saying goes, we can choose our friends but our families are with us for life- through good times and bad. Those with extended families might wish for the less complicated peace and quiet of a smaller family unit, while those on their own might look longingly at the archetypal ‘happy families’ so often seen in films and on our TV screens and crave the inclusive comfort of a readymade network.

Of course, the same is true of our friendships. But by the time we reach our retireista years, the dynamics of both social groups will be changing; sadly, some friends will succumb to ill health, while others become faded images on photographs either through distance, neglect or mortality.

On the family front, more and more of us may find ourselves part of a new phenomenon – the ‘sandwich generation’, caring for elderly parents or relatives on the one hand while supporting – and perhaps even helping to fund – the lifestyles of our children and grandchildren on the other.

Whatever your situation, being a retireista is a time for reflection and nurturing.  Weeding out toxic relationships (life suddenly seems far too short to tolerate these) and nurturing those we love and enjoy.

It’s up to you to take the initiative here. Take a deep breath, put on your objective head and ask yourself what you want out of your relationships with family members and who you really want to spend time with.

All you need to do is make it happen. So go on – what are you waiting for?

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