Alone or lonely?

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?

nov10f

Solitude

Solitude – the state or situation of being alone. Is this what solitude means to you? For me it implies being somewhere away from others and sitting in peace and quiet. According to the various definitions I have seen it is also about being alone and/or feeling lonely. So ┬áthis could mean for me that I live in solitude, I am lonely and I am alone if you look at all the definitions. So what does it actually mean to me? Well, I live alone and have done so for most of the last twenty years. I spent some time living with my son but that was not for very long. Certainly the last seven years I have lived alone.

But am I lonely? At times I am. But you can be in a crowd of people and still feel lonely. I suppose that what I miss most about living alone is the companionship of others, the chat and the sparking of new ideas that comes from talking to others. However I do see people; I run two groups where people come to my house and we learn different things. I also attend a couple of groups. But one of the things I miss is having someone around to share the load as it were.

But I am lucky compared to many. Although I live in a complex of bungalows where we are all pensioners, in the winter I do not see any of the others very often. We all stay inside but we do look out for each other in that we check if a person has got up that morning and we tell each other when we are going away. So I have solitude and I am sometimes lonely as well as being alone. Being alone and being lonely are two different things. Perhaps you could think about these differences and see if you can help those who may be feeling lonely this wintertime.

My photo this morning was taken earlier on looking at the snow on the shrubs. A beautiful sight but cold.

first snow