This is my opinion. I know our forced life in Elsewhere was a disservice to mankind. The repercussions that the virus created played havoc for there is nothing worse for the human spirit than, loneliness after 50. Never again! Yes, I say never again with anger because loneliness is foreign to the human spirit, and in my opinion, the act of the lockdown was inhumane. Why did it work? Fear. And, that fear created a civilization with messed up children and depressed and lethargic adults. How do we combat this disservice? We say out with the old, in with the new! We pick ourselves up and start all over again, as the song so appropriately says. We have to pledge to combat loneliness after 50 this year. Will you take the pledge with me?
Let us be positive women after 50, dependent on ourselves, to climb out of the trenches and see sunlight. We know as wizened women that too much time alone is not good for our mental health. So, let’s make a pact: We are going to return to life in 2023. Amen.
You’re not the only one that needs to combat loneliness after 50
Our lifestyle is different over 50 – and that’s why we have to work harder than the younger generation to combat loneliness after 50.
Last week my close friend Jane and I finally caught up. We spoke on the phone for a long time; we had not spoken in a year! We met and became friends in Palm Springs. Though my ultimate concierge and I moved away from the charming sleepy town (too sleepy for me), our friendship, because of a solid foundation, remained intact. You know the saying, “we just picked up where we left off.”
Unfortunately, but fortunately, like most of you, I have a lot of friendships similar to Jane’s because everyone, including me, has moved often and now lives elsewhere. No pun intended. Emily, my close friend from Honolulu, now lives outside Washington. Cherye and Cassie live in Honolulu and California but we became friends in Honolulu. Susan, my dear friend from our FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation) lives in Manhattan, Sharon’s in LA, Liz is in London, and Sheila is in Michigan.
Our friends may be doing their own thing around the world, but we have to adjust!
I could call these women at 3:00 am and they would pick up the phone. But, who wants to pick up the phone? I wish all of them and others lived in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, after the age of 50, there is a lot of moving happening. Our friends move or we move for different reasons. This becomes a problem for women after 50. We become lonely.
Truth be told, after living in my beautiful Chicago for 31 years, I have one best friend, Gail. We have been friends since we were little girls. My other best friend, Barbara, passed away a year ago and I miss her every day. When my ultimate concierge and I sold our home and left Palm Springs for good we moved back to Chicago full-time.
Unfortunately, Elsewhere was the lifestyle; everyone was either behind a mask or behind closed doors. That situation coupled with the past 30 years of traveling the world with my ultimate concierge out of Chicago and spending 6 months of the year in Palm Springs did not leave time to form bonded friendships. And, now that the lockdown is over, life is just not the same because people are just not the same. Many still stay cloistered. Many are lethargic. Many are afraid to venture out because of crime. Many many people, young, middle-aged, and older are very lonely and…stuck!
For the woman after 50 it is harder than ever to bond with other women because of life’s normal situations. Retirement. Empty nesting. Downsizing to a new location. Illness of their spouse or themselves. Widowhood. Families scattered. And last but far from least, the attitude of women in Elsewhere. They have lost motivation to pick up the phone, make a lunch date, or join a club for social activities.
The pros and cons of living a life of solitude after 50
Some women, after 50, have replaced the word lonely with the word solitude. They find being alone healthy and positive. These women tell me they are not as stressed. They have time for themselves to be more creative and productive… on their terms, they have built up their mental strength. And, I like this one: They have the opportunity to plan their life – they find a purpose! I believe, darling, quiet times and solitude provide an opportunity to think about your goals and the changes you want to make in your life…up to a point. Remember, there is a difference between solitude and social isolation!
Many many women have not replaced the word lonely with a positive word such as the word, solitude. They put loneliness as the biggest negative in their lives because it is an involuntary situation. They tell me due to loneliness they have become lethargic, depressed, socially deprived, and sad. I can relate because “No man is an island. No man stands alone.” In order, in my opinion, to keep the human spirit alive, women require interaction with other people; all types of people so they can continue to bloom.
THE BEST OF TWO WORLDS
The fortunate woman maintains a degree of both. She finds time for solitude and has the opportunity for engagement. But, what if she finds herself lacking the opportunity to build new relationships, and seek out women of her choosing? She has to become resourceful and make certain changes in her life.
After the age of 50, most women have come to realize it is quality over quantity. Finding friends is an obstacle at every age but for older women, it is can be more difficult because she tends to be less active in environments that gave them the opportunities to meet women of her quality. I understand this.
When I was younger, I was the Chairwoman of many organizations and I belonged to many groups. Through these organizations and groups, I met women and made several relationships; some lasting to this day. I don’t care to be a chairwoman any longer or belong to several groups. I have other vital interests at this stage of life.
Unfortunately, my interests are primarily solitary and though I do enjoy my alone time, I find myself looking back on my life before the virus and saying to myself…I want my old life back; a mix of solitude and engagement with girlfriends. My daily tasks have not changed drastically but my social life has immensely and I am not a happy camper! I miss my girlfriends scattered here, there, and everywhere. So, I have made up my mind to make some changes so I can add the sugar and spice back into my life… girlfriends.
Combat loneliness after 50 by adding girlfriends back into your life
Make time and space on your calendar for new friendships so you can combat loneliness after 50. Without time and effort, there is no gain; there is loneliness written all over your calendar.
Look at women of all ages that you know (I think multigenerational friendships are sublime). When you feel a camaraderie, seek them out at your church or synagogue, your condo building, a group, or your neighborhood.
Strengthen an existing relationship and see where it leads you. Make a lunch date. Visit an opening event at a museum. Go for a walk.
Since the virus pandemic, women have retreated to finding friendships online. Facebook groups are the rage. Look for a group where you have common interests. I started a private FB group about two years ago and the engagement is incredible. Friendships online and meet-ups offline are occurring. My group is Celebrate Life for Women after 50 – if you’re not already a member, you should be!
Try volunteering in a group where you have common interests. This is probably the best of the best to meet women that have interests that mirror your own.
Invest yourself in a plan. Make your plan and work your plan. For example: If you are moving to a new city, investigate and choose a community wisely!
What do you desire in your friendships after 50? This is key! Weed out fickle friendships. Every woman has her own individual chemistry. Your heart knows her ‘scent.’ Step out of your comfort zone to strike up old and new friendships. It is normal to feel nervous and awkward. So what! The alternative is worse. Loneliness.
Lastly, REVITALIZE, darling, REVITALIZE! Have some attitude, some optimism, some time, and some faith to seek out new friendships and revitalize the old. Loneliness is not your friend. A woman is!
Have you struggled to get out of your bubble of isolation? How are you pledging to change things in 2023?