Loneliness

Let’s start off from my last post:

“I feel like I’m supposed to be getting more social, but that push is more like a “living up to society” requirement and not one of my own right now.  We’ll see….”

So in my Gerontology class about a week later we had a speaker come in and discuss loneliness and the aging. She provided this statistic and it really floored me.

Here’s some information/links I found:

https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic

“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.” Douglas Nemecek, MD, chief medical officer for behavioral health, Cigna https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20180504/loneliness-rivals-obesity-smoking-as-health-risk

From Amy Mornin on https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you-can-do-to-combat-isolation.html: “There are several reasons why loneliness can be deadly. First, it reduces your immunity, which can increase your risk of disease. But, it also increases inflammation in the body, which can contribute to heart disease and other chronic health conditions. Stress will also affect you more if you’re lonely. Financial trouble, health problems, and everyday obstacles may take a bigger emotional toll on individuals who lack social and emotional support.”

So getting back to my last post, this obviously scared the shit out of me. I’m learning so much in my class and thinking to myself I need to plan for the future and stay as healthy as possible to enjoy it, but I never thought about how loneliness had such an affect on the quality of our lives. Many of you know I work from home and sit behind a computer all day as a mobile app developer. I’m divorced and live by myself …well I have two dogs : ). My social life is pretty much nil, other then a couple of folks I go out to dinner and hikes with on occassion.

Like I said in my last post I thought this whole social thing was more of a society push, but this information has pretty much changed that thought process. I believed I’d be fine if I was older and alone from time to time. I’m doing it now and enjoy my freedom and privacy, but….jeez I certainly don’t want to being checking out any earlier then I need to.

Amy’s article goes on to explain more:

“Loneliness isn’t the same thing as being alone. Some solitude is good for you.

But, being alone needs to be a choice in order to be healthy. Elderly people who want companionship yet lack visitors, for example, are more likely to experience the physical and emotional effects of being alone.

It’s also quite possible to feel lonely even when you’re around people. If you don’t feel as though those around you truly understand you, or if you fear that they wouldn’t accept you if they knew the ‘real’ you, being around people won’t necessarily resolve your lonely feelings.”

That last paragraph really resonates with me. I feel it everyday and it has gotten to the point where I’m tired of just the basic chit chat shit. I crave for deep convos without judgement. Let me be clear this is not just an older adult “thing”. I crave for nonverbals showing I’m not crazy. I crave someone just getting me as I am, not agreeing with everything I believe, but just accepting me.

I feel like this is the only place where I can get some of this fullfilment, but understand I need a lot of this face to face with someone. I need to be touched. I need to be hugged. I need some coffee time chats : )

How about you?

19 thoughts on “Loneliness

  1. right there with you Dwight. I’ve only very recently started experimenting with CHOOSING to be alone, after years of dreading being alone and yet feeling lonely no matter how many people I crammed into my life to “fill the void”. I think the “being alone”/”feeling lonely” distinction is crucial here. And if you enjoy your moments of solitude because you truly love your own company then those are beautiful and precious moments to be cherished 🙂 And then I also think all humans need to be touched and unconditionally accepted for who they are, and that requires making meaningful intimate connections, with others and first and foremost with ourselves, and both can be combined! 🙂

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  2. Those are some shocking statistics, Dwight, and it’s important to share them. I get what you mean about the “basic chit chat shit”. While we all have to indulge in small talk at times, I think we long for deeper connection and engagement – it’s an essential part of being human. I hope you’re able to find what you need and deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, as a wise man said to me “Give yourself credit for pushing out of your comfort zone”. 😁 So, yes, solitude can be a lovely thing – certainly going for hikes and such is a gift that allows you to process your thoughts. Now it’s time to push past that and allow yourself to be vulnerable. To walk into a coffeehouse, or a group that you have an interest in, and be fully present and interact. Is it going to come naturally – uhh, no. But I know you have it in you to find more friends that allow you to have those conversations that resonate. ✌🤞😁

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  4. This is such a major topic. Who among us hasn’t felt lonely, even in a crowd, at times? I agree that sobriety WP gives so much that we perhaps lack elsewhere. Namely, honest people having honest conversations. Anyone who has done any kind of recovery work knows themselves and their limitations. It’s hard to find that, sometimes, “out there.” But yes it is possible. I love what the other ladies said, above.

    I have difficulty reaching out and making the effort to make new friends in real life. I have had a few opportunities, but I keep hermit-crabbing here in my own house, talking through my keyboard. Yet I also learned that when my psychological world seemed to be crashing down around me, it was so very important to have those “real-life” contacts. Yes, someone to put their arms around you and hug and all that good stuff. It can’t be beat.

    But maybe I’m not a good one to advise on this topic since I’m not single, so not in the same boat.

    Oh except maybe one thing… I once read a book that I bought in a second-hand shop, as a joke for a friend who loved all things kitsch (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3027965-get-married-now), and then ended up reading on the bus home and loving it. It’s maybe old-fashioned, but I think the principles were helpful, in being very conscious of how we select a person to be our mate, and with idea about how one goes about putting oneself out there. The title sounded very cheesy and the language was Christian-based, but if you can overlook all that, it could be interesting. Of course there must also be many more modern alternatives to this kind of book out there by now.

    Hope you don’t mind my rambling, Dwight. Sending hug. You’re a beautiful person!

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    • Thank you Nadine for your kind words. Prior to marriage I had a pretty decent social life. That continued for a short period once being married and then kind of faded away. I don’t know if I was just to tired with work and the kids or what. My wife became my best friend and I let the other friendships fade. NOT a good plan. Funny how you realize things after the fact. As many have said it takes effort and faith, but I’m understanding it’s so worth it. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • So true about 20/20 hindsight. And the kids, and work. It can be a very tiring time and I often don’t have the energy to do extra social stuff. But never too late and yes, worth it. ❤️

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  5. Oh, I can relate!
    I struggled with loneliness after retiring.
    I had to force myself to meet people for coffee. It helped a lot, though, and I love deep conversations, too! I’m still better one on one, than in a group.
    Big hugs!
    I tell my husband it’s so important we are social. They say even going to a ball game helps.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m right there with you on being better one on one. Get me in large groups like weddings and all I want to do is get the hell out of there. Hope you have a great upcoming week Wendy. Enjoy those beautiful fall colors around you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I also think it depends on whether someone feels lonely. Some of us don’t mind being alone, and don’t experience a sense of loneliness. In that case, there is likely no detrimental effect on our health.
    Just think of how stressful negative interactions with other humans can be. It would be interesting to read a study about whether or not those affect our health adversely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loneliness is a tricky feeling.Im afraid is impossible to fight , there will always be that time you feel lonely but you must fight to feel it only on the odd time or else it will devour you.

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  8. Pingback: Getting a bit social | Faded Jeans Living

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