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Old 12-24-2016, 05:39 AM
Location: Central Mexico and Central Florida
7,101 posts, read 3,461,680 times
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We travel a lot both in US and internationally. When we go abroad, we tend to stay for a month or more. When we are 'at home' for an extended period, we take a trip for a week out of every month.

We find we prefer meeting and engaging with strangers in other countries/states than we do spending time with our neighbors, many of whom never travel and have not traveled much in their lives.

We prefer social isolation to interacting with boring people, which sounds stuck-up, but I'd rather when home, curl up with a book or be in midst of planning our next travel adventure than chewing the fat at a block party about crabgrass, local politics, grocery sales, and other such nonsense.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dothetwist View Post

We prefer social isolation to interacting with boring people.......
Sadly it seems to me that a high percentage of retirees lead lives that are very boring to me. Even so we have found a large circle of interesting friends and acquaintances. The common factor is the OLLI program of learning for seniors. This group also includes a lot of people who travel frequently but the more common threads are interests in the arts, poetry, writing, history and culture.
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Old 12-24-2016, 07:14 AM
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I love this thread. It seems to me that we all have different levels of comfort as far as how much social contacts we prefer. I love my alone time now. I have recently retired from the healthcare field. All I did all day was interact with the public and with co-workers and bosses. I had zero alone time, not even my own work station. Sometimes I had to go to the restroom just to get a moment's peace from human beings. So now I crave my alone time. I hope I never have to give it up.
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Old 12-24-2016, 10:03 AM
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I love that there is variety on this thread/forum. There isn't a one-size-fits-all retirement with x amount of social interaction needed or wanted. This is a good thing since it shows that just because we share an age range or phase of life we are still individuals and haven't become generic old people.

I just hope no one makes the mistake I made in forcing myself to become more social than I really was comfortable with in retirement. Part of this stemmed from the need to fill my time (I escaped from working, rather than running towards a fulfilling retirement---I've now achieved the fulfilling retirement, but it took some time and effort). Part of it was that my entire career was helping others in health and human services, so it felt weird not to be trying to help others. I thought maybe I could contribute something positive by being a good friend to anyone who would have me.

But the major reason why I forced myself into near constant socialization was caused exactly by articles the OP referred to. All these studies say that happiness can only be found through other people. That social isolation kills. But after several years of being a friend to numerous other people and not being valued or treated well, I've said enough is enough. I have since found articles that show that ambivalent relationships (think frenemies) can actually be more dangerous and cause higher blood pressure than isolation! And all the socializing (lots of Meetup groups, with the inherent problems associated with this, as well as one-on-one friendships) actually was making me feel lonelier than when I'm alone. Here I was sitting or walking with friends, ready to have meaningful conversation or just pleasant chitchat, and they'd be playing on their phones. Or disparaging what I felt and thought, even though I accepted them and their thoughts, feelings, interests, quirks.

I believe in clean living. I eat clean. I exercise in a healthy manner. I even practice good sleep hygiene. So why was I willing to accept less than clean/healthy socializing? Partly due to my ego (that I was a good person by befriending people who needed/wanted a friend, that I could bring something positive into the world, etc.). And partly due to fear---that all my efforts at being happy and healthy wouldn't be effective unless I had lots of people who I was constantly interacting with. But now I understand it's just the opposite.

I'll never be a complete hermit. I love interacting with people at the gym. A few well-chosen friends. Micro-interactions like talking to someone in the line at Starbucks. In fact, I treasure the micro-interactions since they can be so pleasant and interesting, just connecting with someone briefly. Too often when I've attempted longer interactions, it's gone downhill. Diminishing returns. I recently had someone over for dinner. He stayed four hours! There was nothing to be gained after hour two or three---he just is the type who hates being alone and didn't want to go home.

This was a long-winded way of saying be true to yourself and don't blindly follow what the experts say. If you don't want to socialize or want to but can't find the right people, there is still a lot of happy, healthy living to be enjoyed!
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Old 12-24-2016, 11:58 AM
Location: Lakewood OH
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These articles can be very worrisome when people believe they must measure up to standards shown that are really not right for them.

There are no polls, studies, guiulines, etc. that fit everyone.
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Old 12-24-2016, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
These articles can be very worrisome when people believe they must measure up to standards shown that are really not right for them.

There are no polls, studies, guiulines, etc. that fit everyone.
Excellent response! I agree with you that not everyone fits into the same category.

For some, socializing is a necessity. For others, it creates anxiety. For others it's mid-steam, doesn't matter that much to them one way or the other.

There is a group that meets in my community on a weekly basis to sit and drink coffee and talk about 'whatever'. The only thing about this arrangement that doesn't work well with me is that you are 'expected' to attend every week and if you're not there you're chastised. . . too much like having to go to work and keep a schedule. I'm more of a free spirit, I'll be there when I choose to be there.

They also make decisions to do other outings together and again, if you don't join in you're viewed as not liking them anymore. Too childish for me.
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:23 PM
Location: Northern panhandle WV
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I am a person who never had friends. I had a very few when I was in grade school. 50 years ago. I have not had any other friends and few aquaintences since then. So how do I fit in, if not being social was going to kill me, you would think it would have done it by now.
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Old 12-24-2016, 02:08 PM
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If I'm correct, the article was addressing the fact of a kind of forced social isolation more than it was referring to those who prefer to have a lot of alone time. As a social phenomenon, loneliness, and in some cases just aloneness could well be a cause for concern in the aging populace. I have two single sisters who have found their retirement years as single women to be anything but fun and inviting. Instead they tell of a rising invisibility of those who are aging and living alone. Neither are pining away for a coffee klatch kind of existence but moreover they'd like to belong to some kind of community, but don't make the effort to do so.

I'm wondering if some of us haven't painted ourselves into corner of sorts, excluding the Latino culture and some Asian tendencies to keep family close, most of those of the Euro persuasion are steeped in the notion of stoic acceptance of the consequences of a demand for privacy. I see the local Mexicans interacting as one big family, often getting together with their neighbors while the others in the neighborhood barely even know their neighbors let alone have anything to do with them. Loneliness in old age can be traced to a long history of our notions of privacy and "minding our own business."
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:32 PM
Status: "Smacking fundies." (set 4 days ago)
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I can relate to those upthread who grew up in small houses with large families.

In my case, I shared a single bedroom with 5 siblings for 14 years. An uncle lived with my parents and us, making for 9 folks in a small house with a single bathroom.

I came to flat-out TREASURE alone-time.

Now, I'm 65 and live alone in a rural area. My average social contact in a week is chatting with cashiers when shopping and texting my sons occasionally, who live a 2-1/2 hour drive away. I rarely bother answering my phone because most of the time it's a telemarketer.

I would be happier with a compatible female companion but will never morph into a social butterfly in order to find one.
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:31 PM
Location: Central NY
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^^^^^^^^^ How in the world did you all manage with 9 people and one bathroom?? I can't even imagine.
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