Loneliness is a taboo subject. In fact, most of us would rather admit to having an affair or carrying too much credit card debt than to admit that we are feeling lonely. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps we see loneliness as a personal failing. Or, maybe we just don’t want to be associated with the images that are connected to loneliness in the media. The truth is that loneliness is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, everyone experiences loneliness at some point.
Women over 60 are used to dealing with stress. Over the course of our lives, we have raised families, navigated careers, built relationships and travelled the world. Many of us have experienced a divorce, separation or death in the family. Through it all, we have emerged stronger than ever.
I love Facebook. It is by far the most powerful tool for keeping up to date with the people in your social network. Like many of you, I have come to rely on the service to know where in the world my friends and family are and what fabulous adventures they are having. There’s a problem though. According to several studies, in certain situations, using Facebook can actually make you more anxious or even depressed.
When we are children, our dreams are limited only by our imagination. But, the time we reach our 60th birthday, many of us have had our crazy ideas and wild fantasies beaten out of us by a cold, cruel world.
The good news is that life after 60 offers the possibility for a second childhood.
If you tell someone that you are dealing with loneliness, they will probably give you a list of a hundred things that you can do to meet other people. They may say, “If you’re feeling lonely, why don’t you just take up a new sport, join a dating site, go dancing or find a book club?” If only it were that simple!
A few weeks ago, I asked the women in our community whether they thought getting in shape after 50 was possible. For the most part, they were positive about their prospects for finding fitness after 50. However, as I read through the comments, one response to my question stood out.
Let’s be honest. By the time we reach our 50s and 60s most of us have a few extra pounds tucked away for a rainy day. Unfortunately, losing weight after 50 is tough. Besides, in a world filled with a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store on every corner, having a calorie packed “rainy day fund” is about as useful as having a refrigerator at the North Pole.
Many years ago, I had a good friend who had just gone through a very difficult loss and was overwhelmed with sadness. All I could do for the first few weeks was sit with her while she cried. Over time, she revealed the depth of her guilt and sadness and I realized that it was going to take her a long time to heal.
Reporters love to write about the “strange tricks” that people use to reach their 100th birthdays in surprisingly good health. According to this article, centenarians have credited all kinds of “secrets” to a long and healthy live, including: olive oil, friends, a good cigar, laughter, volunteering, love and scotch.