By: Vicky Wireko
The older I get, the more I come to appreciate my beautiful country. A country of beautiful all-year-round weather with exceptionally warm hearts. We smile and laugh a lot, no matter the pain hidden inside of us.
As for the quality of social life, I bet Ghana is the right place to be. Doubt me? Ask the Ghanaian who lives outside next time they are on holiday. Ask the foreigner visiting the country.
Yes, there are stresses and frustrations as found anywhere else, inefficiencies coupled with lawlessness are plentiful and they do drive one around the bend. Yes, there are plenty of them. But the quality of social life is indescribable. We have got it.
I have never forgotten the guilt I felt from a remark about my millennial son who was sent overseas for high school and on completion, returned home for his university education because he did not want to stay abroad. He said to me in his first year how much he regretted not pursuing his high school locally.
His indirect dig at me was because, in his first year at the university, he seemed to be alone when friends stuck together recalling their good old days in Achimota School, Mfantsipim, Adisadel, Presec or what have you. The indirect message he was passing on to me was that friends were of value, even at that age.
This message has set me thinking aloud lately when I came across a research finding floating around regarding the worth of friends and the connection between good health and keeping valuable friends for life. The research finding in effect points to a fact – that friends are the Vitamin F one needs for boosted health.
Ironically, one great lesson for life that the detestable Covid-19 taught us is to eat well and look out for immune boosters to withstand that dreadful disease, or any other infections. So we all have since gone on a wild goose chase for various types of costly vitamin supplements that help boost one’s immunity.
But how many of us know that there is a perfect health and happiness booster which cannot be found on sale in any pharmacy shop? Information gathered from the research I read about recently, suggested that keeping good friends was a perfect “vitamin” booster, hence the name Vitamin F.
These good friends are the bosom ones. They are the ones the Bible refers to in Proverbs 18:24 as “The friend that sticketh closer than a brother”. Those are the ones the medical research established as being rare vitamins that may not be found in bottles or jars at pharmacies. The prescription dose is not limited to one a day. In fact, the more the better
The reason, ascribed by the research, is that the benefits of good friends are essential to one’s well-being. It further showed that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes.
One refreshing truth established by medical research is that those who enjoy vitamin F constantly can be up to 30 years younger than their real age. Apparently, the warmth of friendship stops stress and in one’s most intense moments, it decreases the chance of a cardiac arrest or stroke by 50 per cent.
Those value-added friends, like treasure boxes, are there for you always. Whether in sickness or in health, on rainy days or sunny weather, they will stick with you for better or for worse. Nothing like a fair-weather friend.
They never leave your sight, virtually or physically. They are the ones you could speak to endlessly on the phone, chat on anything from A to Z and laugh hard with. You refer to each other by pet names.
The truth about this research sends one back to the stock of quality friends one has invested in from one’s school and through year group associations as well as Church, professional, workplace or even community neighbourhood friends.
I have personally come to appreciate my school and university friends, especially my year group mates, some of whom we have had the privilege to bond together for since age ten when we first met at a boarding school, even before secondary school.
They are the friends one itch to meet and have quality time with. And so with my year group friends, we meet regularly to have lunch out and sometimes rotate in our various homes.
At such meetings there is endless fun, recalling the good old days as young girls and teenagers. I deeply understand my son’s regret but thank God he got back early enough to cultivate some vitamin F from the university.
So, the message of medical research is that one should cultivate, nourish and maintain good friends as one travels through life. One should learn to have or keep a stock of this rare vitamin F, valuable for a good healthy life which no amount of money can buy.
Loneliness kills. Let us ponder over it and move out to make friends if one does not already have one.