Are you lonely tonight? Maybe your lonely most every day? Are you alone or are you lonely? There is a big difference between lonely and alone.
I am very fortunate that I have family fairly close, a best friend not too far, and lots of friends and neighbors that I can call on to go for a coffee or help should I need it.
I was quite shy as a child and didn’t have many friends at school. The rest of my siblings were very popular and outgoing, as were my parents. I thought every family had a dumb kid and I must be it. The family never thought that about me, but I did, because I was different inside.
I realize now that I had a very minor learning difficulty and remember clearly being told that if I just worked hard like my sister I would do so much better. Advice like that’s going to help … not.
It took till high school graduation where I had the option of going to university despite never studying that I realized I must have some brains!
Remember that this was in the 1960s and there wasn’t a lot of information about being learning disabled.
I have always loved having alone time and have guarded it well. When young I thought I didn’t measure up so I would certainly measure up in my daydreams.
Long before Dr. Seuss’s book ‘Oh the places you’ll go.’ I was off to so many places in my mind and while reading.
The time when I started to come out of my shell was just after graduation. I had had a secret crush on a boy I had met in grade 8. There was no dating while in high school in my family. You got your education first, then you could date!
I met this fella in band class and he was one of the best in the class. He played trumpet. He was an average student and not great at sports. He was a little overweight and wore glasses. I was smitten (silently) and carried a torch for this guy till I left that school after grade 11. It suddenly occurred to me that if I could have a crush on a guy that was less than a stud, then maybe somebody could think I was kinda cool and they wouldn’t necessarily have let me know. This was freedom for me.
From that time on I became an extrovert and felt it was my responsibility to help others not feel so shy or scared in public. I frequently seek out shy or people looking scared or alone in a crowd at events.
I was the one at work that always volunteered to give talks to the public regarding poison prevention. I talked at well-baby clinics, immigrant groups, and senior groups. I think I had as much fun as they did.
Helping people feel confident in a new situation helped me feel more confident as well.
Here you are in a new situation. Feeling a little out of your league. Your retired and you are not sure how to go forward. You were held in respect in your job and now what. You may feel lonely but you don’t need to.
What to do?
Find what you would like to do. Find what you want to do. Don’t rush it. You have all the time you need. What do you want to do? Are you in an area that has your old friends? Do you need new friends? Consider volunteering a few times at something you like. Look for people that look like they are nervous about being in a new place. Be the one that goes to them and introduce yourself. Believe me, you will be received very well.
One last thing
Don’t forget to smile. Somehow a smile is what you need to help you go forward. It will be forced at first but then you will find it comes naturally.
You will find that if you are looking to help others out you won’t be lonely for long, but make sure you keep some time for you. Your alone time.