Compared to many blogs, TGB has a consistently compelling comment section. In addition, I needed to carve out time away from the the computer so I've invented Rewind the Week, a weekly (or so) compendium of some of the provocative, informative and stand-out responses to posts from the previous week.
For the time being, this is an experiment and we'll see how it goes. If you enjoy it or don't or have suggestions for it, let me know and I will place it in consideration.
Monday's post on Loneliness in old age was the most commented upon this week. Apparently, a lot of us have personal experience with loneliess – if not now, at some time in the past.
Several people told us that they have chosen to live in retirement communities precisely to avoid loneliness. Lynne Spreen explained:
“The center of the community is the lodge (clubhouse) where you can join or start a group, attend activities, or just hang out and say hi. Also, there's always somebody walking, biking, sitting around the pool, or having a meal in the cafe.”
“I think she does not feel 'elderly' as she sees the residents. But she does nothing. No friends there. No activities that she joins. No connections there. I want her to have a full life. But she is not interested in any of those things, and finds reasons they would not work out when I make suggestions.
“So is she lonely, or just a person who prefers to be alone? I am not sure.”
Vera spoke up for the happy loners among us:
“...even as a kid I never had any close friends. That's just the nature of an introvert, one of its many advantages is that you are quite happy on your own, no depression, no nothing. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.
“I know in my area they are trying to do some senior health program where they somehow think people like me would need company in our old age or we will pine away and die. There is nothing further from the truth.”
My favorite comment on the story, The Privilege to Grow Old was left by Gaga Cheri:
”I recently asked my 10 year old granddaughter if she thought I was old. I am 60. She said, 'No, but you are getting there. That's how I choose to look at it, too.”
Until they reach their teen years children, I think, are the great truth tellers.
Time Goes By readers or, at least, those who comment are mostly enlightened about the futility of following the cultural status quo to do anything and spend any amount of money trying to appear younger than we are.
“I've changed my goals from trying to LOOK good to trying to FEEL good...” wrote Nancy Wick.
“I have changed my diet radically to reduce my sugar consumption and increase my fruits & vegetables consumption. And I have added swimming to my yoga and r routines. I don't try to be beautiful anymore, just healthy. I think if I stay healthy, I'll enjoy the coming years much more.”
As she so often does, doctafil summed up in her own inimitable way:
”Every comment above is gold. I never lie about my age. Today I piped up in my ESL volunteer job classroom and flat out said I am 71. Nobody fainted or dove out the window.
“No way will I apologize for looking, acting, being this age...Nobody should be kicked off the dance floor of life.”
A lot of you had a good time with Crabby Old Lady's retirement coach story and apparently most of us agree, as Catherine Summers wrote, that they are “just another racket.”
“By the way,” wrote Marc Leavitt, “would you like to buy a bridge? Let me tell you about it, on the way to Brooklyn.”
Elizabeth left us her prescription for life as well as old age:
“Be all you are. Be yourself; everyone else is taken. You can do anything you choose to do. Follow your heart.”
And here is Darlene Costner's response:
“I'm speechless!!! I never thought a person would need someone else to teach them how to live. If they haven't figured that out by the time they retire I doubt if there is any help for them.”
Just one more thing. The number of comments a story receives is a rough – and only rough – indication of reader interest to be taken into consideration along with the number of unique visits and page views.
On Tuesday, I told you about the new book, Farmlines, written by our own Dan Gogerty who is a regular contributor to The Elder Storytelling Place. Even though visits and page views closely matched other days of the week, hardly anyone commented.
It's not often that one of our community publishes a book, particularly one who is as gifted a writer and observer of life as Dan. If you don't know his work from ESP, maybe take another look at my post where I've quoted from a couple of his stories.
What Dan does beautifully is compare the life we knew as children with life today. Even with the dramatic increase in everyday technology over more than half a century, you would be surprised at the connections Dan finds.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Bettijane Eisenpreis: Carless in America