The crushing loneliness experienced by very many elderly people apparently has become epidemic in Britain. I feel old, said a terminally ill woman in her 70’s and another person I talk to on the phone said how glad she was to see a face other than her cats! She was talking about her son visiting her. Visits are landmarks in the vast empty landscape of each day. Oh yes I LOVE visits she said.
Solitariness, a disposition toward being alone, doesn’t hold the suffering that loneliness does. I would hope as the years pass we could adapt and evolve from social to solitary and revel in that space. The full emptiness. Not because most will end up living alone anyway but because there is a positive in being alone. A simply joy in moving from doing to being. And you don’t need to have lived long years before enjoying that!
Anyway, here is a Guardian article titled Britain’s Loneliness Epidemic. There is help to hand, the problem is being addressed, alternative living arrangements are being developed. There is no doubt there is a problem and huge suffering comes as a consequence of loneliness. I just wanted to speak up for being alone as a quite alright kind of way of living. And why do I think that there might be a shadow of shame in announcing I live alone. Or perhaps a feeling of life failure to have ended up alone. Now is the time to learn to be comfortable in ones own company. That’s not encouraged unfortunately.
And the former Archbishop of Canterbury is speaking up for the elderly in this Telegraph article.