What I’ve Learned from Loneliness

 

Young woman walking in lake

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 32 – 3/16/15

I do believe that friendship and other social relationships lead to vital aging; however, I’m one of those people who also needs some alone time. I learned about what it was like to be lonely as a child. However, in the long run, I also learned about the blessings of alone time. 

I was a solitary kid. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends – I was simply shy and introverted. I kept to myself more often than not.  I don’t remember having friends at my house when I was in elementary school.  My family situation was often stressful. My dad was an alcoholic, and that, along with other dynamics, didn’t make my house a welcoming place.    

I walked or rode my bike to our local library by myself – the library was my haven.  Losing myself in books was a relief and a pleasure. I also wrote a lot of stories and plays; I had quite an imagination in those days. 

As I got older, I broke out of my shell and developed typical teenaged friendships, and also met my two forever friends. Yet there were still times I felt achingly alone – never feeling like I quite “fit in.”   

I’m not looking for sympathy.  It’s what my life was.  While at the time, I didn’t find anything redeeming about loneliness, I realize now that it certainly didn’t scar me for life. Instead, it taught me some things: 

  • I don’t mind being silent at times.  I don’t always need to fill up space with words.  Sometimes it’s better just to listen. 
  • I learned how to be self-reliant.
  • I learned that there’s nothing wrong with eating alone at a restaurant.  
  • I’ve sometimes been lonelier in a group of people than I was being by myself.
  • I hate talking on the phone.  Get to the point and hang up, that’s my motto.  (Really?  That’s a lesson from loneliness?  Maybe not.  Could just be my old introverted self raising her head).  

Way back in 2011, I  wrote a post listing the five benefits I got out of solitude. This hasn’t changed over the years.   Because I’m  more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been, alone time has become more important than ever.  

What about you?  Do you enjoy solitude?  What benefits do you get from that time alone? 

 For additional reading: 

Bella DePaulo (Social Scientist, Blogger, Author and more) provides many links that lead to articles describing what experts have to say about solitude in her article titled. What’s Great about Solitude: Here’s What we Know 

I also enjoyed this article from the Greatist website, which talks about the Joy of Missing Out. 

Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. (Paul Tillich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

May I Have This Dance?

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 28 – 3/6/15

bea

Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

So I was on my way to work, listening to a new radio station (thank goodness for Sirius XM radio):  Alt Nation, since I’m trying to shake up my music tastes a bit.  And I heard this singer singing about some girl telling him:  “Shut up and dance with me,” and of course, he was talking about the new love of his life. 

But what I heard was life talking to me. Life wants us to dance – to get down, get funky, get your back up off the wall, get your groove on, baby.  (Sorry for the goofy metaphors: I came of age in the disco era).

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I haven’t been doing enough of that.  Have you?

How can we dance with life?    By taking a chance.  By facing our fears.  By trying something new. By doing what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. 

By taking part in something bigger than ourselves.

And even when life gives us a tune we don’t want to hear – one we can barely stand to dance to – we remain resilient.  We bounce back. We pull out that strength we know is inside of us.  

Dancin’ with life.  It’s what vital aging is all about. 

 

7 Keys to Age Empowerment

So here’s the question of the day:

Are you simply getting older, or are you growing older?

The key is in the word growing.

Think about it this way:  You can be a “Senior Citizen,” or you can be what my 74 year old sister chooses to be: “Age Empowered.”

Baby boomers, we have a choice to make every day.  As of 2014, we range from the age of 50 to 68.  We can’t turn back the clock and return to our twenties or thirties, and do we really want to?  I know I don’t.  I don’t want to be young again.  I DO want to remain healthy and happy as I continue this journey into “old age.”

We can all do that by having an age empowered attitude:

  • Never stop learningFrom continuing your education, no matter what your age, to playing brain games, to fearlessly trying new technologies; we can keep our brain cells active and strong. 
  • Open your mind to other possibilities. Let’s face it, we all tend to get judgmental, and set in our thought patterns, especially as we age.  Seeing things in black and white, however, is limiting; it keeps us from opening our minds to other people’s points of view.  We can learn from each other!
  • Stay physically active. Exercise is such a powerful life enhancer. We don’t have to be marathon runners (though many of us boomers ARE), we don’t have to be body builders or world-class athletes.  But we can, and should, take care of this body and brain we’ve been given – this gift of life – and do our best to ward off those age-related diseases, protect our minds, and keep ourselves from getting frail and weak. 
  • Stay connected to others. Loneliness and depression can come with aging, if we keep ourselves isolated from others.  Stay socially connected through your church community, your local senior center, a volunteer group, a walking or running club, a quilting club . . . .
  • Accept the changes that come with age.  The Help Guide website has a wide variety of articles that talk about the basics of healthy agingHelp Guide is a great resource for people of all ages.
  • Stop and smell the stinking roses, would ya?  This is even more important over the age of 50, because you just don’t know when your time will be up on this earth.  Enjoy those grandkids, learn to forgive, continue to make great memories with family and friends.  Take time to go outside, breathe in that fresh air, and thank God (or whomever your higher power is) for this gift of life you’ve been given. 
  • Find the humor in life. Laughter is an absolute necessity in our lives.  Laugh at yourself, laugh with others – you’ll relieve stress and worries, and you’ll remain healthier.

For further reading:

National Center for Creative Aging

Older People Become What They Think

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Thinking – There’s Power in It!

I’m currently reading an e-book I downloaded for free from the Guideposts website. When I was a child, my mom bought the Guideposts magazine regularly, and I loved reading it for its happy stories.

The book is Positive Thinking 2011: Rediscover the Power of Positive Thinking with Norman Vincent Peale and you can download it simply for signing up for inspirational updates from Guideposts.

Norman Vincent Peale, Christian preacher and a...Image via Wikipedia

Norman Vincent Peale – Isn’t he a happy looking man?

 

 

 

 

 

I read the original Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, as a young teenager because my dad collected books of all kinds, and as I kid, I loved to read. Well, I still love to read, and will surely love it up until the day I pass from this earth. As a child, though, it was my escape from real life.

Even as a kid, I wanted to be inspired, and discover the goodness in life – simply because my home life was not so positive. Of course, it was one thing to read about it, and another thing to put it into practice.

I’ve lived the negative version of life – it often permeated my childhood, and dragged on, even into adulthood, because I didn’t know how to let go of it. Somehow I finally figured out that by changing my thoughts, I could find a sense of serenity. I also had to let go of the past – not an easy task. But now I choose to live the positive way, as much as possible. When I do feel down in the dumps, I don’t let it get the best of me.   
I truly believe, as written in the 2011 version of the Power of Positive Thinking, that we do choose whether we are happy or not.  Sure, circumstances can be difficult at times; but have you ever noticed that some people still find a sense of happiness and peace even as they face difficulties, and others let negativity control their lives, no matter what their circumstances?  I’ve known people that let their past control them, and it ain’t a pretty sight. 
When I’m on my deathbed, I want to smile as I look back on my life.  I want to believe that I’ve made a positive change in the world while I lived in it. 

By the way, the Guideposts site has some cool stuff, for those of you looking to be inspired.  Free e-books, podcasts, and videos, and links to inspirational topics, not to mention uplifting articles and stories.

Quotes of the Day:

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. (Herm Albright)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think, we become. (Buddha)

And one of my favorites:

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Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings us, but by the attitude we bring to life.  A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes.  It is a catalyst . . . a spark that creates extraordinary results. (Author unknown)