Sunday, November 12, 2017


Section 8

Staying Connected

As we have put it - One of the dangers that faces you is disconnection; or to put it another way, isolation. There’s a bitter irony to this; you will be at your most vulnerable, most reliant upon others since your infancy, but somehow or other - and we have all witnessed it, maybe even within our own families - connection tends to wane at this time. Bonds are tested to their absolute extreme. The become responsibilities, and can become obligations. Burdens.

You and Those Closest To You

A common misstep with the elderly is to rely heavily upon their closest circle, hoping them to fulfil other angles of social life. Such a relationship sets up an opportunity for disappointment, because there are different forms of conversation we may be eager to have, and not all of them are appropriate for all listeners!
What’s more is the strain this can put on relationships. Becoming emotionally reliant on one person asks a lot of them, and what would be worse than resorting to manipulating one we love?

If you feel lonely, stop and ask yourself: what has your strategy for enticing other been? Are you making an effort to meet them half-way, literally and figuratively? Are you doing your best to listen, as well as talk? Are you allowing people full autonomy, or just moaning people into spending time with you?

Finding Community

There is evidence that the number of groups that a person is a member of is a unique predictor of self-esteem, resilience and mental health. [17]

Maybe it’s nothing as dramatic as loneliness as such, maybe it’s just the feeling that you haven’t expressed yourself verbally in a while. Whatever it is, this feeling can sneak up on you, and by the time it has done you’re in a bad place.

Especially in Western, increasingly secular societies, there is a real lack of community. Many of us never meet our neighbours, let alone actually speak to them. We have disregarded rituals as silly, but when nothing has taken their place we have an uncomfortable silence.

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, church and Bible studies are a great way to socialize.

If there is no existing community for the specific things you are interested in, it is now easier than ever to start your own. Computer literacy is a must.  Reach out to people or create a ‘space’ for them. Interact. See what happens.

You may even decide to share your thoughts through a blog or a vlog.

I suspect we all have someone in our life who in old age appears to be grumpy, and reclusive. I’d like to suggest that perhaps this is what happens to something as simple as shyness; when a person has never learned to say hello.

And this isn’t simple.

But the crucial thing to know is that everyone else feels like that. Truly extroverted people are actually quite rare.

The natural way of finding a community and social partners is to not go out explicitly looking for them. They are something best hunted for obliquely, as in, go and do something you care about, and let the someones introduce themselves or tag along as they please. Then you and the people you interact with are bound to have something talk over. A common starting place. 

Case Study: Paul 

From early on in his life Paul was known to be a gifted speaker. He could get his friends laughing, and then through university he realised that he made a good centre to a dinner table. People just listened. Naturally enough, he landed a job in sales, a position that funded a secure life for himself, his wife and his children. It was his favourite thing to talk about. (Even if people were bored of hearing about it.)

When it became obvious to him that he could no longer stand working for his boss, he decided to withdraw his talents, but he began to see that he only had so much time on Earth, and began to prioritize.

What he regretted most of all was not bearing present for his children as they were growing up. At the time, he reasoned that he had paid for the house, and that that should be his role - but now there were grandchildren, and he suddenly realised that he wanted to make it up to himself, and spend time with them.

In time, though, he felt a nagging. He certainly had talent that was dying to be expressed. His wife at first recommended that Paul get these thoughts in a book, but Paul never liked being sat at a desk - his talent had always been his voice.

It was around this time that podcasting became a thing, although Paul could barely understand the concept at first. He had the idea of just recording a seminar he used to give into his headset - if only for his own curiosity - but he found after posting it on a forum that people were asking him very interesting questions - and that his answers only generated more interest.

Soon people were saying he could just compile his forum posts and blog entries into a book (with the help of an outsourced editor).

The Question:

What obstacles are impeding you from easily capitalizing upon your strengths and interests?
If it’s simply inefficient to learn a whole new alien skill, who could you rely upon for help in this area?


This is the continuation of a serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Ugandan Petero Wamala and American Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., which ebook is available through for $0.99: 

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