So another Easter weekend is over. This year I spent time thinking about the fact that Easter (and Christmas) are traditionally family times, when families gather even if they are not Christian, enjoy a Sunday lunch and generally spend quality time together. Yet the numbers of Boomers who spend this weekend alone, due to families living in other cities or even on other continents, widows or divorcee’s (I have mentioned the growing grey divorce rate) or Elder Orphans like myself who never had children for whatever reason, grows. What do they do with a 4-day long weekend?
I wrote last year about the difference between Loneliness and being Alone. I was alone for the greater part of the weekend, but it was a matter of choosing whether I would spend the time mired in loneliness or if I would use the time constructively. For those who do not have activities to keep them occupied, loneliness may prove to be the easier option.
For some, shopping may alleviate the sense of being alone, but for others being in a shopping centre surrounded by hundreds of people, yet still having no meaningful interaction, a busy centre can be a very lonely place. In my youth, I used to go to movies happily on my own, but nowadays I find it a lonely place to be, and would rather watch a movie on Netflix in the comfort of my home, with the dogs snuggled close on the couch.
Fortunately, my love of walking as mentioned a few weeks ago provided some diversion. Friday I joined my regular weekend hiking group and the morning was spent pleasantly chatting as we traversed the area surrounding Silvermine Dam. And Monday morning, a friend took up my call to find company for walking, at the last minute. Somehow even on the days I walked alone, I passed others engaged in the same activity and it did not feel lonely.
After my walk on Monday morning, I joined a friend who also lives alone, and we took ourselves out for coffee. She has family nearby, but they were doing their own thing. Together we discussed the fact that living on one’s own can prove to be a lonely place when highlighted by all around you busily celebrating the long weekend.
For me, the saviour is keeping busy. I have several projects on the go and buried my head in those. I am currently painting the exterior of my house which is physically taxing and left me exhausted by evening, ready to slump in front of Netflix as the darkness arrived. I even found a very young Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench in that wonderful movie “84 Charing Cross Road” to while away one evening. I read the book way back when, but don’t think I ever caught the film.
I also rewarded my exertions with escape into a pile of books that I selected at Book Club the previous week. Somehow disappearing between the pages of a good novel will never lose its appeal for me. I was a book worm as a child, and after a long spell of studying or working too hard to find time to read for pleasure, I now devour books on a regular basis. I find that is one of the privileges of being semi-retired and having more time to do what I want to do. Snuggling up with a book for several hours is also one of the advantages of living on your own.
Were you Alone this weekend? What did you do to ward off the Loneliness? I would love to hear what you do when faced with a 4-day weekend now that you are retired.