I’ve made some really amazing new friends lately. I don’t know why that should surprise me, but it does. Maybe it has something to do with being an adult. I mean, as children, we’re surrounded by a constantly shifting landscape of other kids. Classrooms, sports teams, camp, neighborhoods—there’s always someone new to play with. Maybe that’s a factor, too…all that playtime! The entire day would come to a screeching halt so that we could go outside and swing or play kickball or tag. Sure, recess was also a hunting ground for bullies, but that’s another post. Anyway, playtime isn’t a luxury we have as adults—the employees of super-progressive companies like Facebook and Google aside.

It doesn’t help that I work from home about 80% of the time—only hopping a train into the city a couple of times a week. That is, in fact, where I am at this very moment. But even if I did work in an office setting—which I did for many years—there’s no guarantee that I’d make many new friends there. I work in an industry that tends to have a low turnover rate so it’s essentially the same faces everyday. Now, don’t get me wrong—I met several of my (still) closest friends at the radio stations I’ve worked for over the years. But once you’ve worked someplace for a while, you’ve usually either exhausted the pool of new friend material or decided that a friendship isn’t advisable for whatever reason.

So to find myself at (cough, sputter, cough) fortysomething with a gaggle of new gal pals is a delight. One that I thought I’d seen the last of. Suddenly I’m like a teenager again—gabbing on the phone, texting and emailing—every little bit of correspondence bringing an automatic smile to my face. I find myself excited and grateful to be invited to a new friend’s home, or to a movie or some special event. I feel a rush of pride at being included as “one of the tribe.”

Now, please don’t think I’ve been some kind of recluse for the last several years. The fact is, I really enjoy my alone time. I also really enjoy the time I have with my husband. And both my own relatives and my in-laws are very social people—all of whom I enjoy spending time with. It’s just that, in finding new people with similar interests to mine, I’ve rediscovered some joy that I hadn’t even realized I’d lost. In the writing group I recently joined, we chat about our books and marketing and publishing for hours on end without boring one another. In my book group, discussing the novels we read is only a small part of our monthly get-togethers. I even worked up the nerve to approach someone who reviewed one of my books because I thought we might have a lot in common. Turns out we did have a lot in common—including a third woman she’d worked with years ago who happened to take a writing class with my aunt. Now the three of us are the “super cool writing chicks” and we get together every couple of months.

All of these women are different from me. Some are older, others younger. Some are parents of young children, others grandparents. They are lab techs and teachers and journalists and librarians…and they all make my world a richer place.

I have long held to the belief that God puts into our path the people we’re supposed to meet. They come to us when we least expect them but when we most need them—usually bearing gifts of support, perspective and love. I consider these individuals to be emissaries of the universe, meant to deliver a message or help me through a difficult time. And, while I always try to keep in mind that I might be the one meant to deliver the message or provide some much-needed support, I almost always receive just as much—if not more than I give.

So thank you Jeannie, Jen, Nika, Liz, Meara, Vivi and Patty, and Sue, Marybeth, Pam, Rosalie, Laura, Kathy, Cathy and Gaby; Adina and Annie and Kelly for the confidence you give me, the love you show me, and the joy that you bring me.

For those things…and for you I am truly blessed. And truly grateful.