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Bon Journal

The comfort of good relationships

An ex-colleague, once a career woman, married an investment banker, and became a mother of five children, told me that she considered maintaining good (existing) relationships her top priority. I was surprised that this was a goal in itself.

Now that I begin to see the world not as a laboratory for technological progress but as a place where we all need to live together - for better or worse. And I understand why maintaining good relationships is so important.

Why would maintaining good relationships be a challenge at all? Given human nature for envy, jealousy, misunderstanding, and other imperfections, it is easy to fall into disharmony.

Yesterday, new and old friends came together to enjoy an evening of Argentine, Chilean, and French red wines and a home-cooked dinner of courgette soup and spaghetti. We got together to watch the sunset and listen to good music. It was as simple a get-together as any. Yet for time-challenged individuals, it was three and a half hours of sheer delight and comaraderie, an evening I, for one, will certainly not forget.

It was also refreshing to see neighbours gathering together for the 25th wedding anniversary of an Irish and Dutch couple. They had met in Ireland during her holiday. A year later, he travelled to the Netherlands, completely broke and desperate. She took him in, got married, and settled down. When asked the secret to a long lasting marriage, he replied, "A lot of sex." Without knowing his reply, she replied, "A lot of work."

Whether friends, family, neighbours, or colleagues, maintaining good relationships is about living harmoniously. And this is the kind of comfort I want in my life - a kind of continuity uninterrupted by my frequent travels.

11 June 2001