Loneliness, Solitude and Isolation in Life’s Third Trimester

After our last Topic of Exclusion and Inclusion, I began seeing how I exclude or include myself as a Third Tri.  It’s true for me that I enjoy solitude much more now than ever I did. But, I wondered, does that lead to isolation and eventually to that old bugaboo “loneliness” and all that entails?

lone person on pathI found a wonderful blog post from http://www.timegoesby.net and am taking the opportunity to quote some of her thoughts here about solitude, isolation and loneliness.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

“…we who enjoy a lot of time alone are often seen as suspect by the culture at large. Look at how negative are the words we have to describe such people: hermit, recluse, loner, lone wolf, introvert, outsider. It’s not far from there to believe anyone like that must be lonely and therefore in danger of illness, even early death.

Not true. Not always.

Carl Jung’s seven tasks of aging, which come to many elders quite naturally (without even knowing who Jung was), pretty much demand introspection and, therefore, solitude:

• Facing the reality of aging and dying
• Life review
• Defining life realistically
• Letting go of the ego
• Finding new rooting in the self
• Determining the meaning of one’s life
• Rebirth – dying with life

It would be a mitzvah [a good deed] for all of us to be alert to signs of isolation and loneliness in friends and neighbors and to help when we can. But we should also be careful to make the distinction between those who are unhappy or depressed about it and others who enjoy their solitude.”

So I began exploring these ideas more for myself and found a few other things that relate to this topic.

I found that it doesn’t matter if you are married, coupled, single or have many or little friends. Experts have found that it is the quality of relationships that effect if we are lonely or not.  It’s also a matter of how we look at life.

 

For instance Barbara Dane, an 85-year-old jazz and blues singer who lives in Oakland, Calif., has seen this play out in her relationship circles.

“As you get older, you see the world writing you off,” she said, adding, “So you tend to become passive and think, ‘I don’t want to bother anybody.’ You lose contact with your own kind, your tribe. And before you know it, you’re feeling bad.”

“It’s kind of life a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your eyes start to fasten on the sunset, and you start walking toward it.”

So leave a comment on loneliness, isolation and solitude.  Let’s tell each other what we fear about living alone (or not) about being older and how relationships may have supported or evaporated for us.  Share your own view at this stage of your life and what you have learned as you’ve aged.

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Filed under Aging, Change, Choice, family relationships, friendships, Health and Well Being, social, Spiritual