This week there have been several articles in the national newspapers about dealing with loneliness. But there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I have been with lots of other people, friends supposedly, yet I have felt quite lonely in that crowd. I live alone and have done for over twenty years now but I am alone not necessarily lonely. I do get out at times, not so much in the winter but in the summer I get out as much as I can despite the difficulties of getting on buses and moving around.
I enjoy being alone a lot of the time but there can be days when I would really love to chat to somebody, not on the phone or email, or texts but sitting together and chatting. If you are with someone then there is a difference in the way you react to the words that are said and you can read about groups of people having brain storming sessions where ideas are bounced around between all those taking part. Conversation works in the same way. Texts do not have the same reactions because of the time lag, likewise with emails. Phone calls can be good for conversation and for bouncing ideas around but they are not quite the same as being with someone. So if I ask for this type of contact does it mean I am lonely? No, it does not; it means I want to discuss something with someone face to face so that my thoughts can be made clearer or muddier as the case may be.
Older people living on their own can be lonely but just putting them together with others for a coffee morning is not always the answer. I have been to these kind of coffee mornings and barely spoken to anyone else. Meaningful conversation relies on having things in common to talk about. Many older people, those much older that I am, often spend a lot of time watching television and they can then talk about it with others at coffee mornings and when out shopping. I read and don’t really watch the television apart from specific programmes. This can make me seem boring when with older people who do watch the TV. Loneliness is not easily dealt with and there are organisations around that try to help. However just because you are over seventy doesn’t mean you will get on with all those others of the same age. We are all different and we all have different thoughts and ideas. Being a druid sets me apart from many people my age as my perspective on life is so different from theirs.
What are your thoughts on being alone and loneliness?