“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
- Visit the reading room at the library. I can read in solitude with others. Passive, but I am with people!
- Attend events at my church, adult center, library, gym.
- Participate in local VILLAGES* activities (TED talks, no-guilt book club, happy hour, walking groups).
- Call friends for walking dates.
- Schedule video chats with friends.
- ZOOM with my Fab Four friends every week
- Participate in classes and events at the Adult Center, Parks & Rec, local colleges, the art museum
- Invite friends for dinner, tea or happy hour.
- 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.