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Loneliness or alone-ness

Would love to hear others thoughts on this topic...

 

I work full time as a nurse so I have a lot of social interaction there, but am not socially active with co-workers as very few are: 1. single and 2. over 50.  I live out in the country, alone. I do not have children.    And do many activities alone such as hiking, riding my motorcycle, camping. 

 

I do not feel lonely,  but I worry that I am isolating myself and may regret not being more social as I age.  Particularly after I retire ( still 9 years away).I do have a few friends, but they don't live particularly close by, and I do make sure to get out with them 2 or 3 times a month.  I am not religious and joining a church isn't an option for me. 

 

What are you other single folks doing?  Give me some advice!  Thanks.

 

Jypsy Janet

 

Jypsy Janet
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My take on this:

I am 50ish and alone, live by myself, single, not dating, but I never feel like am alone.  A few years ago, I went through a period when, like others, I felt social isolation but I turned to prayer, surrendered myself and asked God to do whatever he wanted with my life because I was tired of trying.  I willed and taught myself to trust God, and stopped trying to control my life the way I wanted it to go.  That was the turning point in my life.  I had applied for other jobs as well that I was well qualified for, went to the interviews and yet 'others' got the jobs.  I heard people around me always talking about hating their jobs, but I learnt to think about my job as just a job, having realized that my life was much bigger than my job.  I focused on the fact that I came to this planet alone, butt naked, with absolutely nothing, and so felt I did not need to worry about being alone.  I found a great church and learnt the things that I did not know growing up Catholic.  I am still alone, but I do not worry about it because I know I am where God wants me to be.  All I have to do is pray, and God works miracles in my life every day.  From the smallest things in my life, to crises situations, I am delivered as soon as I pray.  I pray for people and they get help.  It has nothing to do with me because I do not know anything.  I just live my life as a good, humble, child of God.  I want to believe, and I may be wrong, that even those who do not believe in religion also find ways to pray, and I encourage those who feel alone or loneliness to pray about it and the 'negative' things in their life and let it go!  It works for me and I don't see why not you.     

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You say you aren't lonely but you worry you are isolating. Is there anything about your lifestyle habits that concern you? (that make you think you are isolating?)

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I am still working full time but feel I'm being "backwatered" and overlooked for all but simple, repetitive and fairly mindless tasks at work. I don't get a lot of interaction with others in my work and I live alone since I'm no longer caregiving for my ex-husband who has moved into a memory care facility about a year and a half ago. I'm an introvert so I don't need constant stimulation or companionship but there are still times when I wish I just had somebody to talk to or do something with once in a while.

The last year with my ex was bad; he almost never talked to me except to phone me once in a while to drop everything and come deal with some kind of problem he was having, so it was stressful. Now, minus the stress, I'm feeling less on-edge, but having nothing but quiet time by myself is getting to be too much. I think I'd be "too old" to be considered if I applied for a different job at this point and am not sure how I will address isolation when I either decide to quit working or am terminated since the importance of what I do at work is so diminished. I intend to work part time and/or volunteer at that point, but I think we all know how intentions go when they come in contact with "the real world" - sometimes things don't run according to my plans. 😉

I tried online dating sites for about a year, and unless you have self-esteem made of steel, that made me feel like I have something seriously wrong with me that no one ever amounted to more than two dates and the few people who asked for my phone number promptly ghosted me as soon as I gave it to them. I wouldn't recommend it.

I have no children or family members and see a few friends occasionally but the great bulk of my time is spent alone.

 

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@kt1909 - Why not start volunteering a little now, and getting to know the people & atmosphere at the place(s) you select. If you're not comfortable, try a different place.


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Maybe possible but at best I could only spare maybe a couple hours a week. I work 10-hour days and then take care of my house and dogs and use weekends for things like grocery shopping, laundry and other things that I'm generally too worn out to do after a 10 hour day and a commute (I'm gone from the house 11½ hours a day so during the work week I don't have much free time or energy).

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@kt1909 - Why are you working such long hours, if you're doing menial tasks & feel sidelined?

 

 


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Why am I working so many hours? You mean why am I working full time, 40 hours a week? Pretty much for the same reason lots of people do. For the income which I need in order to support myself and pay my bills.
Doing menial tasks because that's the work I'm assigned to be doing. Feel sidelined because I'm usually only assigned menial tasks.

I don't know if you've looked for a job at age 60+, but it's not easy even to get an interview if you have a long career of experience and if you do manage to get an interview, you are frequently/usually passed over. Nobody will TELL you it's age discrimination but most older job-seekers will concur that the older job seeker is either told they have "too much experience for the position" or are just told "we went with another candidate".

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Dear KT1909,

 

We are kindred spirits!  I am the person who started this thread originally.  I too work long hours and have a long commute, plus a house and yard to keep up and by the end of my work days have no desire to get out and do much.  I do fill my days off with lots of activity.  I have a small group of friends and try to make at least 2 or 3 "dates" with these girlfriends each month.   I volunteer a bit, but my schedule at work is not Monday-Friday, and my days off vary from week to week so it is hard to find volunteer opportunities that fit around my schedle. I find that I would more naturally just prefer to be alone or maybe I am just too lazy to make the effort.  But I do enjoy being alone.  I love to read, hike, bike, camp, kayak and these are all activities that can be done solo.  

I am also trying to date the opposite sex, but am not very successful on dating sites either.  I go in spurts, trying, but then decide that it is too much work.  I can't believe that I can't find a guy who likes the outdoors like I do?  

And last, I so agree with your feelings of discrimination in the workplace.  I work in a HUGE organization, have all the right experience, degrees and great evaluations but I cannot get an interview for a different position.  In 3 years I have applied for over 20 positions that I was totally qualified for and have gotten only 1 interview.  I find it hard to believe that it is competition versus discrimination...

Janet

Jypsy Janet
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Hi, Janet. Thanks for your comment. If you are looking for guys who like being outdoors, you ought to try Colorado. I get the impression that 98% of the guys here spend at least 98% of their free time outside (that probably includes winter when it's snowing, since that's ski time). So many of them say they love the outdoors that I think sometimes that they're making it up since they must spend some of their time grocery shopping, doing laundry and other household chores that most single people spend time doing. The other thing they say they do is "enjoy a glass of wine in front of the fire", meaning that 98% of guys in Colorado have fireplaces, too. They don't read much because they don't have time or interest in that but if it's outdoors-loving wine lovers you want, Colorado is full of that.

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@kt1909 wrote:

. . . . Why am I working so many hours? You mean why am I working full time, 40 hours a week? Nobody will TELL you it's age discrimination but most older job-seekers will concur that the older job seeker is either told they have "too much experience for the position" or are just told "we went with another candidate".


As differing from "not enough experience" or just told " we went with another candidate" when younger applying for a 1st or early job.

 

It's competition - not discrimination. 

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Nope, it's not just competition. It's age discrimination. They want younger, less experienced, CHEAPER people, so whether it's age discrimination or "wage discrimination", an older, more experienced mature worker will be passed over in favor of the 30-year old one. Even people in their 40s are reporting they are starting to experience it. For someone who makes an average wage, I don't know how they could think of supporting a  40 to 50+ years' long involuntary retirement.

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This site gives me so much "insight" if you'll pardon the pun.  I log in and find out, boy, I'm not the only one.  So far, I've been able to avoid caregiver requirements.  Lucky in that vein.  I have my own car, my own house and everything I need is relatively close by.  Being without a car would be a MAJOR problem.  I've tried to research alternative transportation venues and so far haven't had to rely on any.  When that day comes, and I know it will, I'm going to have to deal with it.

 

I just renewed my licence and I'm turning the big 72 this Friday.  I enrolled in a writing class at a nearby senior center and an AARP driving class.

 

Anyway, have a good '18."  Like my mom used to say, don't take any wooden nickles.

Honored Social Butterfly


m907706g wrote:

This site gives me so much "insight" if you'll pardon the pun.  I log in and find out, boy, I'm not the only one.  So far, I've been able to avoid caregiver requirements.  Lucky in that vein.  I have my own car, my own house and everything I need is relatively close by.  Being without a car would be a MAJOR problem.  I've tried to research alternative transportation venues and so far haven't had to rely on any.  When that day comes, and I know it will, I'm going to have to deal with it.

 

I just renewed my licence and I'm turning the big 72 this Friday.  I enrolled in a writing class at a nearby senior center and an AARP driving class.

 

Anyway, have a good '18."  Like my mom used to say, don't take any wooden nickles.


Hi @m907706g    Nice to see you posting.  

Glad to see that you are investigating options for the day when you can no longer drive.  I live in an urban suburb and we have both taxi service and of course now Uber and Lyft.    If I have a day when I need an unexpected ride home from work I can take any of those options or the bus but that is not nearly as convenient.  Maybe you could check with the senior center to see if there is anyone offering car service.  

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
Honored Social Butterfly

@m907706g, @nyadrn, You took the words right out of my mouth regarding the car service and senior center. When I lived in NY State there was a handful of seniors that volunteered their time to take others where they could no longer take themselves. Fortunately I did not need this help and am still driving myself at the age of 79. No idea though how long I shall be able to do so.

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This site is helping me cope.  My cousins just left for 6 weeks in Australia.  They are my main source of moral support.  I tell my cousin she is so much more functional than I am.  Catching planes and such.  She says, bull.  I say, it's not bull.  I could no more pack and make my way through security to board an airplane, let alone foreign travel.  I would have just as much chance going to Mars.

 

Aside from that, I've decided I'm going to be an informal volunteer in an ARC thrift store.  I've found there are a lot of little things I can do to help organize without any formal acknowledgement of volunteer status. 

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Jypsy,

Love your name.  I don't know if this is too late to chime in but on the subject of loneliness.  I was in a gathering and I could only describe myself as socially awkward at best.  There seemed to be 12 to 14 people and everyone was speaking at once, loudly and rapidly.  The entire evening was almost unendurable and I was so glad when it was finally time to leave.

 

This morning I began searching sites on social ineptness.  Nothing I found was particularly helpful and absolutely nothing was mentioned about what to do if you can't hear.  I can manage to do well with 2 or 3 people but a roomful leaves me entirely copeless.  Is that a word.  Don't think so.

 

These circumstances have occurred several times within the past year or two within the identical acquaintances.  I feel welcomed but so unable to contribute conversation relevant to whatever is being said.  Party atmospheres are spontaneous and if you can't follow along, you are at a real handicap.

 

The situation is clearly embarrassing at best, not only for myself but for other members of the group as well when they pick up on my inability to respond.  The best I can do is beat a hasty retreat, relieved it won't have to be repeated soon.

Honored Social Butterfly

@m907706g - I truly empathize with you, as an elderly aunt who lived with me was very hard-of-hearing, and she didn't cope well at all. She refused to get a new hearing aide that might have helped, and then was suspicious that when she couldn't hear, it was because people were whispering about her!

 

If there's any way for you to improve your hearing, it's worth the investment! If not, I almost think it would help to have a nice pin that says "I can't hear you!". Better for people to know why you're not interacting, than to assume you're aloof or anti-social!


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Honored Social Butterfly


@ASTRAEA wrote:

@m907706g - I truly empathize with you, as an elderly aunt who lived with me was very hard-of-hearing, and she didn't cope well at all. She refused to get a new hearing aide that might have helped, and then was suspicious that when she couldn't hear, it was because people were whispering about her!

 

If there's any way for you to improve your hearing, it's worth the investment! If not, I almost think it would help to have a nice pin that says "I can't hear you!". Better for people to know why you're not interacting, than to assume you're aloof or anti-social!


I agree @ASTRAEA  my dad was hard of hearing due to the war and his hearing aid did not really help too much and it was so hard for him to be part of a group and contribute.  

 

 

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
Super Contributor

I had a kind of unique situation in a volunteer capacity I was in.  I would read to a vision impaired senior once a week.  The arrangement was I would help him with various things like mail, filing, etc. etc.  To make a long story short. he became an avid supporter of the current administration and I decided I just had enough.

Contributor

Solitude is enjoyable. Loneliness is not. This researcher seems to equate being alone with loneliness. They are far from the same. I have been single and living alone for 42 years. Sometimes I was lonely, but not all that much of the time. Mostly I enjoyed my solitude, and still do. Different people have different social needs. There is the matter of what you expect, and what you want, versus what you get. That is what can lead to pain.

Social Butterfly

Appropos of the discussion here, I thought I would add this link to an article in "NextAvenue" which popped into my email inbox this morning.  I'm sure many of us have had some of these same thoughts and musings from time to time and it just goes to show how pervasive feelings of "being alone" or of being lonely can be.

 

The article quotes some sources and makes some suggestions but is not a "blueprint" as much as a letter of encouragement to others out there who may have some of the same feelings.  Sometimes a little encouragement is all we need!

 

http://www.nextavenue.org/lonely-not-alone/?hide_newsletter=true&utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsle...

 

For those of you not familiar with "NextAvenue," it's an email newletter sent out by the PBS system.  Per their website:

 

"Next Avenue is public media’s first and only national journalism service for America’s booming older population. Our daily content delivers vital ideas, context and perspectives on issues that matter most as we age."

 

"Our mission is to meet the needs and unleash the potential of older Americans through the power of media."

 

Twin Cities PBS Logo

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." ~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Honored Social Butterfly

@Prosecco6247 - I get the NextAvenue mailings too, and thought the timing of that one was perfect, for this discussion!


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Honored Social Butterfly

@vernakI agree with Astrea about this being very well put.

 

I never minded being alone but sometimes we do feel lonely and need to reach out and keep in touch with family and/or friends. I do think some socializing is good for us, but I also I understand that we don't always mind being alone. I had a boss that used to say "at times the only intelligent answer is one you give to yourself". I often found he was right.

Honored Social Butterfly

@vernak - Very well put!


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Contributor

As I was reading your story I realized you and I have a lot of the same issues. 

 

I have fibromyalgia as well and I have very painful days. Some days I have all I can do to get out of bed. I have had this for over 30 years now. I would advise you to, no matter how bad the pain, to make yoursef get up out of bed then you have accomplished at least one thing for the day. Keep track of all the littlest things you do because they add up and at the end of the day hive yourself kudos for the things you did accomplish. 

 

I also joined a couple of online fibromyalgia support groups but make sure they are positive ones and not.ones that dwell on the pain.

 

Can your doctor give you some medicine to counteract your allergies so you can go to Church?

I love to go to Church but I am basically homebound due to severe migraines at this time. 

 

I have been through two abusive marriages and am currently single. I am homebound right now, depressed, anxious, lonely, etc....

 

My children are grown and they were world, I had two abusive marriages, I had no time for me so I never got to find a hobby I like or things I enjoy. I still feel guilty if I buy myself a necessity because I still have the mindset that someone else needs something first.

 

I am also on Medicare, disabled, and barely have enough to live on. I have a payee that pays my bills for me and then I get so much a week or what's left over.

 

Medicare does have a reduced payment plan for medications make sure you call and ask about it. 

 

I hope it helps to know there is someone else out there who understands what you are going through and I pray you get the help you need. 

 

God bless you!

Newbie

I was attracted to the report about loneliness since I have been feeling lonely lately. In 1990 I had a brain-stem stroke that destroyed my balance and left me with very deep and nasily speech. Since 1990 I have not been able to particIpate in a conversation about anything or argue a point. By the time I get a full point out the conversation has moved three topics on. Initially I dedicated my time to writing two books and did not feel lonely. Now that I'm not writing a book (because my first two were not well recieved) I feel lonely. I'm acutely aware of the fact I have no one in my life.

Honored Social Butterfly

Social Isolation Looms Large as More Adults Live Alone

http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/loneliness-growing-health-problem-fd.html...

 

This article appears on the AARP page and seems related to this discussion.  

I have never faced this issue.  We have a larger family and I work at a large company and I am surrounded by people all day  : )   so when I get home I need some isolation..   If I were to relocate after retirement that could be an issue so lots of the places we looked at were part of active communities that have lots of social time planned into the community.  While this is not for everyone is is one answer.  Another big issue is health which can isolate you more than you would ever choose.  But lots of discussions on this subject point out that society seems to be moving more and more to social media contact rather than face to face contact.  We have come a long way from small town American where everyone knows your name and business (and they still due) to the big city life where you don't know your neighbors.   Socializing without face to face kind of dehumanizes the contact.. you can say things because you don't know the person.  

It will be interesting to see how things go.

Life's a Journey, not a Destination" Aerosmith
Newbie

I have never been a "social butterfly".  I lost my adoptive Dad/best friend/mentor in June of this year.  He and I did everything together.  I feel lost without him.  I have friends 85 miles away (they were closer to his area), and they all have full family lives, so I don't think they feel comfortable around me, because I never married nor had any children, so they feel there is no common ground between us.  I have lived alone since 1999, and I only have a small dog and a single cat as company.  I have been feeling more alone than normally, since his death.  I just work, go home, listen to music and read or play downloaded games on my tablet.  I have never logged onto any social media, because to me, that is a very HUGE security risk.  I'm a six year Air Force Veteran, and security has always been a big issue for me.  I don't trust in humanity, just look at all the stories of attacks in the news lately.  I sometimes feel as if my biggest fear will come true, that I will die all alone, and it will be days before anyone finds my body.  I just live one day to the next at this point.

Honored Social Butterfly

@l136780y - I'm sorry for the recent loss of your surrogate dad! Since you mention being a veteran, are there any American Legion posts near you, where you can start developing a network of friends? Don't assume that you need to be 100% the same as your friends, to feel comfortable together! It's common (and a good idea) to have friends with whom you enjoy one or two things, so you can spend some time with each of them.

 

Your experience is a good lesson & reminder to all of us singles, that it can be very dangerous (albeit easy) to become so dependent on a single relative or friend, for our entire social life. Not only do we need variety, but the flexibility to still have other friends, if something happens to one of them.


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