“The quality of an individual’s life can really only be measured by that person. It is very easy to assume that living with illness becomes a burden, yet the elderly often accept their physical limitations, a price worth paying for living longer. Loneliness, many tell us, is a far harder burden than ill health, and this is a sadness hidden in plain sight, a modern epidemic.”. p302, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix.

A “sadness hidden in plain sight”

I tend to self-isolate.

Routines, chores, work, often fill my days but are a poor substitute for human contact..

I blame my lifestyle somewhat on the pandemic.

I also blame my nature. I am an introvert.

Reading, writing and drawing make me happy.

I feel out of sorts if I don’t make time for these solitary activities.

I like my own company. **

The Golden Mean Meets the Checklist

Yet, I do like and need people. I love talking and sharing ideas and experiences.

I know that I operate better when I have a routine and a system.

Left to my own devices, I will grab a book rather than call a friend for a walk.

So to help me connect more, I compiled a checklist of easy “people activities”, virtual and in-person.

Easy Ways to Connect

  1. Visit the reading room at the library. I can read in solitude with others. Passive, but I am with people!
  2. Attend events at my church, adult center, library, gym.
  3. Participate in local VILLAGES* activities (TED talks, no-guilt book club, happy hour, walking groups).
  4. Call friends for walking dates.
  5. Schedule video chats with friends.
  6. ZOOM with my Fab Four friends every week
  7. Participate in classes and events at the Adult Center, Parks & Rec, local colleges, the art museum
  8. Invite friends for dinner, tea or happy hour.
  9. Connect more with my wonderful WordPress buddies, that means you!

Of course, in addition to myself, I must think of and respond to the needs of others especially lonely elders. Fortunately, that task is made easier by the many service, religious, and government organizations that provide a framework for interacting with seniors.

“How  we deal with the most vulnerable members of our society is a true test of our values. Having accepted their contribution to the public good during their working lives, how should we support these weary elders? How do we enable them to experience satisfaction and self-worth, not in return for making a contribution, but simply for being their unique selves?” p303, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix.

*Villages or the Village Movement which supports seniors aging in place.

**Today as I write this, there are workers in my home going in and out of the front door and up and down the stairs. My house is in disarray. They are installing new carpet on two levels of the house. Long overdue! No solitude today or tomorrow!

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva, http://www.pexels.com. I chose it because I like the idea of the woman opening her door with a welcoming smile.

6 thoughts on “Loneliness

  1. I used to feel lonely without a little contact at least. But when I understood my fears even that diminished drastically, simply because my fears were built on the ‘need’ for so many things, interacting included. And I accept me so that inner looking for love and happiness ‘out there’ is no longer there, because I found it within me. The fears actually block us from looking within because we are afraid to, those fears are built on what we believe, that we aren’t good enough or lovable in some way. But yes we are humans and are built to interact to some degree, and even in the silence of grief needs an outlet. Plus I have a coffee mate who mirrors me and pulls me up short when I need it, and fills me in with the world that I ignore most of the time 😀 ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A good list, a wise list, one we can all embrace. It helps, too, to remember that “alone” need not always be synonymous with “lonely.” In her book When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chödrön writes about the concept of cool loneliness”– as distinct from the panic of hot loneliness that rushes to do something, anything to make it go away — and suggests 6 ways to cultivate a peaceful co-existence with this very human emotion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Birds of a feather. 🙂 I’ve only ever felt ‘lonely’ when I’ve been alone in a crowd of people, e.g. at a party. Blogging has given me the connections I /do/ need, and they have given me the sense of belonging I rarely feel in the ‘real’ world. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. To My Love Lori,

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and your life. You have given me the guideposts to your happiness. “I am listening.”

    Liked by 1 person

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