sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

4 Things Most People Don’t Get About Loneliness After 50

By Dami Roelse December 09, 2023 Lifestyle

Many Sixty and Me articles discuss loneliness and the myths that go along with it. Here is another light shed on that topic.

Feeling Alone and Lonely Is Highly Individual

I encountered loneliness in my late teens. Even though I was born into a large family and connected with friends through school and university, I felt the acute existential loneliness that comes with an inquiring mind.

As I explored the meaning of living and practiced techniques for emotional and spiritual happiness, I found that my loneliness wasn’t tied to having or not having intimate contacts. It was true that my intimate relationships fulfilled me enough most of the time to not feel lonely.

However, at times I felt deeply lonely living with loving people. At other times, I felt totally connected when hiking solo, and I felt totally happy and connected alone at home. Am I an exception to the norm? I don’t think so. The many different reactions people have to being alone indicates that the feeling of loneliness is a highly individual one.

“But you will cease to feel isolated when you recognize, for example, that you do not have a sensation of the sky: you are that sensation. For all purposes of feeling, your sensation of the sky is the sky, and there is no ‘you’ apart from what you sense, feel, and know.”

—Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity

Mindfulness Can Help to Resolve Loneliness

At the time when I lost my husband of 20 years I felt out of balance; vulnerable to the point I couldn’t stand to be around others. To cope with the pain I felt inside me, I went back to practicing meditation.

I sat down on my cushion, wrapped myself in my blanket and started watching my breath and the sensations in my body. After doing that for a while I felt held, wrapped in the arms of my own attention.

I no longer felt alone, lost and vulnerable. The change in how I felt was so radical that I put two and two together. Mindful attention in the moment, I realized, was the essence of connection.

Living Alone and Being Happy

We are social creatures; we reach for others in the hope of getting their attention. Throughout the ages, being part of a social structure has meant survival. In our wealthy Western society that premise is no longer true. Our systems of survival are being automated more and more by the day. We can live alone and survive. Can we live alone and be happy?

Tools for Living Alone

I’ve found that by filling my time with activities and people that require mindful attention I have safeguarded my happiness. I spend some time meditating to sharpen my mindfulness abilities. Creative endeavors also put me in the Flow, a state of absorption similar to a meditative state.

I connect actively with nature, which creates a sense of belonging to something bigger than me, bigger than the vicissitudes of daily living. And yes, I spend time with people who can give and take attention and caring. Living alone has become a choice, a way to explore myself in ways I never could in a daily partnership.

Living alone has given me the tools that I need to avoid feeling lonely.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What activities help you to feel totally connected to life? Which ones are your flow activities? Do you find that meditation helps with loneliness? What are your thoughts on living alone and being truly happy? We invite you to join the conversation.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chrystle Fiedler

I love the quote in the intro and your phrase “wrapped in the arms of my own attention.” Mindfulness allows us to feel what is going on and embrace it rather than run from it. Thanks for the reminder!


I thought this was great. I don’t feel lonely. Something happened about 2 years ago that was really bad and I felt very very insecure. I found I had to rely on my friends a lot more in the sense that I felt like crap and I moved to really rely on that they saw me as a good person. It meant that I became a lot less caring and distant about other people (ie acquaintances I was trying to please) and felt more emotionally dependent and vulnerable with people in my inner friendship circle which is about 7 people and 3-4 I speak to regularly via WhatsApp. It’s been a very positive thing after that crappy year and I just don’t feel lonely now. I’ve also developed 3 new friends this last year. Two are students on a course I’m doing (a 40yo man, a 38yo woman) and the fiancee of a workmate (she’s 28). I work 30 hrs pw but none of my employees are my “friends”. I think being in nature helps as well as doing art activities. Absolutely.

Renee Lovitz

I have been living alone for the past two years, since the death of my husband. At first I was very lonely but have grown to embrace the situation and now I’m more and more comfortable. Just the passage of time has helped. Now I don’t want anyone else living here. I do have many friends and I go out often.
That helps!


I am a ditto on this situation, I am content with living alone but the problem I almost dread schedules and obligations to others outside my grandchildren. I found that society makes me feel guilty almost selfish for feeling this way


I have experienced the same. After 50 years of marriage the loss was very difficult! I still get “lonely” but now being alone has become actually a good place for me. I still want male friends, but don’t want to share my home space.


I loved the sentenced…Wrapped in the arms of my own attention! That was so moving to me. My husband is a truck driver and is gone alot. My friends ask me if I get lonley…I do once and awhile but not often! I do ME when I am alone. I read,sew,or just sit and enjoy the aloneness. Great article. 👍


Having alone time allows “Me” time. Like you I love choosing what I do and when. After raising children, working as a teacher and then supporting my husband as his health failed, I deserve the freedom of choice that being alone brings!🥰

The Author

Dami Roelse encourages her clients to live life with engagement. She blogs and coaches women 50+ to walk, hike and backpack. Her second book, Walking Gone Wild: How to Lose your Age on the Trail, was published in May 2018. You can find out more about Dami at Transformation Travel

You Might Also Like