A Much Older Friend At My 1st Job Showed Me How An Age Gap Doesn’t Matter

Whenever I ran into any issues or I needed any guidance, she was my first and foremost resort. Soon she became my “go-to person”, a friend in this foreign place, who I could always count on.

Life had taken a new turn. I had landed my dream job. But little did I know the first year of the job will take me on-site where I would work as a trainee for a year. I was as thrilled as nervous. I was as happy as upset. The pain of separation from family and friends was immeasurable.

I landed at the airport on the scheduled day.  Felt like a stranger in an unfamiliar, and unknown country as I stepped out of the airport. Luckily I had gotten a place to live near my workplace. So commuting to work didn’t seem like a big problem.

My grandfather used to say that if you want to get familiar with a new place, take a walk around the place you live. That place will start to feel like your own. So once I had gotten over my jet lag, I began to become well acquainted with my surroundings.

There was a small shopping complex at a distance of 800 meters, every day I morning walked to the store and got the needed grocery for the day.

It was my first day at the workplace

I could feel butterflies in my stomach and was shaking like a leaf as I entered the hall.

After a few seconds, I was relieved to see the other six trainees on the team who were beginners like me.

The team was led by a lady, our supervisor, who was in her late forties. Medium height, wheatish complexion, high cheekbones, a pair of glasses meticulously sitting on the top of her nose. Her hair was open and long and flowing over her shoulders. A strict disciplinarian and quick-tempered person who ensured that the rules and regulations were followed in the team.

After a formal round of introductions and name exchange, we went through an on-boarding process and got to know other teammates we were going to work with for the next couple of years.

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Soon we were assigned with our share of the work and a relentless journey of chasing our goal began.

Making a friend

I was immersed in the work, a busy schedule and a hectic workload kept me on my toes. But soon boredom and loneliness hit me being no one by my side to who I can talk, or with whom I could share my thoughts.

I felt lonely and desolated. There was no one around me to hang out with when the weekend rolled around.

One day I was munching my homemade lunch alone in the cafeteria while my colleagues went out to have theirs; I always prefer homemade food. My supervisor came and sat near me. I felt a bit conscious and intended to move to another table. I had never met her one on one before,  always faced her, or interacted with her with my teammates. She stopped me and motioned me to continue my lunch. Her lips curved in a smile, a rare thing to witness, I smiled back too. She asked me where did I live and how I was adjusting to the culture and climate here, while she took a bite of her food. I love homemade food too she continued.

I see… I replied I didn’t restrain myself from speaking. Who are there in your family I went on?

I live by myself, I am my family, she said gloomily. There was a  tinge of sadness in her voice. I couldn’t speak anything further. She was almost double my age, I was confused about how to proceed with our conversation further, and what to talk to her about, but nothing struck me. I finished eating and took her leave.

My peers couldn’t understand this friendship; they laughed at me

Now we started having lunch together more often. We were opening up, and with each meeting, we came closer and began to know each other more. Our frequencies matched, our thoughts and interests matched, and thus our friendship blossomed.

However, my associates did not think highly of this growing friendship with such a big age gap.

Do I look stupid to roam around with a person older than me, am I not skilled enough to make friends of similar age or am I boring enough that they don’t want to be my friends? These fleeting thoughts crossed my mind at times.

However, I was enjoying her company, I loved to listen to her enriching talks and experiences. How she sailed through the stormy nights of her life, how she fought her loneliness and focused on her work. How she stood up for herself when the entire world seemed against her.

Older friends are like, “Been there, done that”, meaning they bring plenty of useful knowledge and experiences, the younger generation can cap into.

But she stood by me in tough times

Her valuable wisdom and insights helped me navigate through when I was having my share of tough times.

It was 3 am. I was feeling cold and my entire body was burning with fever and aching. I was feeling restless and agitated. Not knowing what to do I called her and within minutes she drove down to my house. She brought some fever-reducing medicine (OTC) with her.  She gave me the medicine and stayed with me until I felt a little better.

Even at the workplace whenever I ran into any issues or I needed any guidance, she was my first and foremost resort. Soon she became my “go-to person”, a friend in this foreign place, who I could always count on.

She advised me to learn new skills and tools that would benefit me in the ongoing project and help me sustain myself in the industry for longer.

My teammates laughed at me and stopped inviting me to their parties and movies. They excluded me from events and celebrations. Nonetheless, I was happy as I was enjoying my age-gap friendship. In today’s youth-driven society, having an age gap in friendship may be jabbed or looked down upon a bit but they are still on the rise. I often had assumed that older people are boring and stereotypical. But having a generation gap friendship widened my perspective and I was able to see life through their lenses.

Having an older or younger friend broadens our perspective and helps us become more compassionate and empathetic in our day-to-day life. This also helps reduce the generational gap between the two individuals.

And there is no reason why age-gap friendships can not flourish as those friendships of similar ages when our interests match and we share similar thoughts and hobbies.

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