Loneliness has been described as “when one door is closed, but the ‘other one’ has yet to open”. Or “an ‘inner worm’ that gnaws at the heart”. It can visit at any time in our lives. But circumstances and events we encounter as we get older: the loss of a life partner or difficulties with our hearing, seeing or walking, create incentives that make it easier to be more withdrawn, alone and less likely to be involved in social activities and organizations.
But we are social beings - meant to be with others. And although it may feel more comfortable just talking to ourselves (at least that person knows us), research has found that social engagement is better for both our physical and mental health. (Maybe because there is someone there to kick us out of our funk and encourage us to keep moving; or be that cheerleader who believes in us when we start losing confidence in ourselves.)
But if you are one of many who doesn’t find socializing easy or natural; and who reacts to a large group of strangers (meaning two or more) the same as a dentist’s drill, you might find these suggestions helpful.
First, social encounters can be tricky, but don’t interpret them as rejection or hostility - and then blame yourself. Focus on the positive and not on what you may have thought went wrong.
Second, it may be easier to meet new friends while attending a class or lecture - something you can talk about with others instead of having to start a conversation from scratch.
And last, but most important, give it a chance. Whether attending Meals-on-Wheels lunch or a church service for the first time, most groups have established social relationships built over time. And although they are open to new friendships, don’t expect them to welcome you like the prodigal son. Give yourself time to establish your own relationships. And as a rule of thumb, try it for at least six times before you decide that it doesn’t work for you.
Life has much to offer during all stages of our lives. But you have to keep your eyes open and your antennas up. Get out, engage in conversations and develop new friendships. And then because you have the emotional connections with others, when the grandkids are gone and you are alone, you can enjoy the peaceful solitude that provides comfort and offers a time for reflection.
Ten percent of all health care spending comes from fraud and abuse; while Medicare and Medicaid loses $65 billion each year to criminals. Those are just a few figures highlighting the importance of catching and preventing healthcare fraud and abuse. The next Tuesday lecture will present a Webinar produced by AARP called “Protect Yourself from Healthcare Scams and Frauds”. The presentation starts at 11:00 at the Center and is open to everyone.
Here is another opportunity to confuse your brain with what it doesn’t expect: the Center’s music announcement for October 29th - from back to front. (But be forewarned, next week I will step it up a notch.)
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The brand of O-gauge model trains popular in the 50’s was made by Lionel - which Bill Van Nice remembers Bill Schonley, Portland Trail Blazer Radio Announcer, using to nickname Lionel Hollins "The Train”. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on November 16th is Jerry Phillips.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, who wrote the satirical comic strip described by John Updike as “a comic strip with fire in its belly and a brain in its head” that ran for 43 years from 1934 to 1977 featuring the Yokum clan of hillbillies; as well as colorful characters Marryin’ Sam, Moonbeam McSwine and Senator Jack S Phogbound? E-mail your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an original copy of “The Life and Times of a Shmoo” published in 1948.
Well, it has been another week with my nose pressed to the glass looking to see all that can be seen. Until we meet again, as the old cowboy Mike once said, “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” Lois Lowry