Is it possible to be alone, but not lonely? When your empty nest years arrive, you could enjoy the experience of solitude and lack of responsibilities. Unfortunately, many of us spend our golden years feeling lonely and longing for other times when we felt more needed either as a parent, spouse or in a meaningful demanding job. Maybe it’s time to look around for opportunities to serve others, if you feel this way.
No man is an island. Unless you live in a cave, you are surrounded by occasions where with a little effort you could make a difference in someone’s life. It may be necessary to pull yourself out of your comfort or complaining zone. Just a perusal of the local newspaper headlines could open your eyes to the need for a listening ear at a family shelter, community hospital or assisted care center. Volunteering in a neighborhood school classroom or public library to tutor one on one with a disadvantaged student could help them improve their reading and conversation skills. There is no lack of opportunities. By opening your eyes and heart to serving someone else, your own life will increase in richness and purpose. Many church groups have lists of volunteer service needed. Sign up for something that interests you.
Making new friends does require courage and effort. It’s easier to stay home and be unhappy and lonely, but what a waste of time. Reach out, develop new interests or hobbies. Share a talent you have with family or friends. Learn something new, read books, join a club or service organization. Take a walk, breath deeply. Don’t give up on life, it’s still worth living no matter your age or health challenges.
In your journal, make a list of skills or hobbies you have developed over the years or new ones that you’d like to develop. Do you have a bucket list? It’s not too late to develop one. Take a community education class and you’ll meet others with like interests. While you’re at, contact a lonely neighbor and involve them in a new adventure with you. Check out your immediate or extended family members. Is there someone that could use a little extra attention, a visit, phone call or letter to cheer them on in life? In no time at all, you’ll find that you aren’t lonely or alone. NEXT TIME: Meditation