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Thread: The biggest threat facing middle-age men isnít smoking or obesity. Itís loneliness.

  1. #21
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post



    I seem to get along better with older people then with those my own age, who want to drink, get stoned, play on the computer all day, etc. I don't really share interests with those of my generation and there are some things I enjoy, that others don't want to do, because it is work (shooting for instance, a lot of cops don't want to spend a day off at the range).
    well I am in my 60's and a lot of people in my age group want to drink, get stoned, watch tv or play on computer all day. There are all types of people in every age group. The difficulty is in finding them with everyone's head buried in a cellphone or behind a screen.

    I go back to my original suggestion. People are not going to come knocking at your door.

    For instance, I go to the gym. Groups of people go at the same time and you see friendships form as they work out together and do things like races. Some work a few hours at the gym.
    Golf, bowling, hiking and biking clubs, people who get together to root a sports team, gardening clubs, people who volunteer to organize the parades, rotary and lions clubs, the possibilities are endless. We have a biking friend who was single and childless, whose lovely wife died of a horrible cancer, who worked Saturdays at the local bike store. It was a perfect transition to his retirement as he was doing what he loved. Now he works part time after retirement and heads a charity to recondition donated bikes for disadvantaged teens. Some people docent at historical houses, gardens museums and so on. DH joined a model train club. A bunch of old guys playing with trains. He loves it. I belong to a quilt guild and work on my clay at a pottery studio. I am in heaven.

    I volunteer at at the library one or two days a month. I cannot tell you how many older men hang around to talk to the volunteer on duty (there are two of us a day working the used book rooms.) . They are just plain lonely. I suggest they volunteer there and several have. They just didn't think of it.

    Here's another thing. Dissatisfied with the current or past government? Find your local political party group. They are always looking for boots on the ground to make calls, fund raise, drive people to polls.

    If if you try something and don't like it, don't do it again. Try something else. Baby steps.

    Imagine what your life would be like with no phone, no TV, no computer. What would you do all day?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowerseverywhere View Post
    I go back to my original suggestion. People are not going to come knocking at your door.
    Yes they are, solicitors and Jehovah's Witnesses. (and you can have fun with them)
    If if you try something and don't like it, don't do it again. Try something else. Baby steps.

    Imagine what your life would be like with no phone, no TV, no computer. What would you do all day?
    The activities that I am interested in, are or tend to be solitary ones. (or ones you wouldn't want someone else to muck up).
    What your describing sounds like preindustrial society, or I would be back in the woodshop, building something. (again, not a group thing)
    Some of us aren't wired for groups.
    I have been in a room of close to 200 people that I know (some you would classify as friends, others long time aquaintence), and still feel alone, like an observer rather then participant (even though one is the later). Sometimes the feelings have nothing to do with reality.

  3. #23
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    Great article. You're lucky you're starting to deal with these issues at 37. That's 10-20 years earlier than many men. Countless others never tackle them. There are a thousand roads out, and you'll find your own when you're ready. I'm almost 50 and still traveling mine. If it helps to know you're not alone, check out "Understanding Men's Passages" by Gail Sheehy. In fiction, try "Steppenwolf" by H. Hesse. Also pay attention to the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." There are lots of this archetype out there. Rick Blaine in "Cassablanca," Jules Verne's Captain Nemo, the butler in "The Remains of the Day." In real life, we had Elvis, Thoreau, Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. The list goes on. Some of these characters might seem so different on the surface, but underneath, they are and were all being eaten from the inside by the same disease.

  4. #24
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    The activities that I am interested in, are or tend to be solitary ones. (or ones you wouldn't want someone else to muck up).
    What your describing sounds like preindustrial society, or I would be back in the woodshop, building something. (again, not a group thing)
    Some of us aren't wired for groups.
    I have been in a room of close to 200 people that I know (some you would classify as friends, others long time aquaintence), and still feel alone, like an observer rather then participant (even though one is the later). Sometimes the feelings have nothing to do with reality.
    all well and good, but the situation the OP wrote about in post #15, about being ill and no one to call n to help, or check on him. It is not a bad idea to have some acquaintances that at least you could rely on someone if you had to. You don't have to be besties but it does not hurt to have some relationships. I think many of us are loners to some degree, but we do some social activities that are not our favorite just to keep,some contacts up. Most of us are far removed from small town living with lifelong neighbors, friends and an extended family.

  5. #25
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    I'm not going to pay 99 cents to read the article, but I was under the impression middle aged white men's life expectancy was going down as more die of suicide and drug and alcohol addiction due to declining real wages and the realization their generation is worse off than the one before whereas their expectations were the opposite, and that men of color aren't seeing shortened life spans because in the era of mass incarceration they never expected a fair shake from society to begin with.

  6. #26
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    While I have not read the article either, one comment that I would make is that older men often seem unhappy. I have wondered why as they have reached the stage where they have succeeded and are reaping the results. Their wives/partners seem to be quite content. What came to me was that women reach out to others to serve whereas men have difficulty doing so.
    I watched DH struggle because he had trouble making a commitment to serve. Was it the fact of facing daily commitment to the job for so long that it was better to avoid commitment? Was it lack of social skills since the job had a defined role? There was nothing that he would not do for me or our children and the involvements that arose that we undertook. He would not do anything solo though or with others.
    The tragedy is people then become self-centred in their unhappiness and start the addiction downward spiral.
    Good thread, UL.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  7. #27
    Senior Member UltraliteAngler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    I'm not going to pay 99 cents to read the article, but I was under the impression middle aged white men's life expectancy was going down as more die of suicide and drug and alcohol addiction due to declining real wages and the realization their generation is worse off than the one before whereas their expectations were the opposite, and that men of color aren't seeing shortened life spans because in the era of mass incarceration they never expected a fair shake from society to begin with.
    It seems like some folks like to gloat over white men being lonely, suicidal, drunken, opiate addicts.

    Like: "Ha! Your life used to be all steaks and Ferraris. Now you have to have a crappy life of relative poverty in rural Ohio! Serves you right!"
    ďI came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  8. #28
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    The tragedy is people then become self-centred in their unhappiness and start the addiction downward spiral.
    Good thread, UL.
    So true.. I've seen that with BIL. It's always "all about him." He never asks how I am, or what was my day like? I'm not seeking his interest in my life, but I've found that the people who are the happiest are the ones who put themselves out there. My MIL was the same after she retired. We tried to get her to go to the Senior Center, but she just withdrew into her aches and pains and apathy toward life.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  9. #29
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I don't "put myself out there," and I likely wouldn't respond positively to an invite to the old folks, er Senior Center, either. My partner is a whirling social dervish. People are different, and have different motivations and needs. Mostly, I'm happy as a clam in mud here at home. I'm glad I don't have kids and in-laws tsk-tsking about my life choices, frankly.

  10. #30
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I don't "put myself out there," and I likelu wouldn't respond positively to an invite to the <s>old folks</s>Senior Center, either. My partner is a whirling social dervish. People are different, and have different motivations and needs. Mostly, I'm happy as a clam in mud here at home. I'm glad I don't have kids and in-laws tsk-tsking about my life choices, frankly.
    I'm sorry if it sounded like I was being judgmental, but she was not "happy as a clam" at all. She was very unhappy and probably depressed. Ironically, I remember her prodding her own mother to go out and meet people. I loved her, and I am not "tsk'ing" I would have loved for her to have enjoyed her life at the end, that's all. I'm very sorry she didn't.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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