|04-19-2009, 01:53 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pittsfield Massachusetts
I'm 74 ... not stupid!
I am searching for advice on how to conduct myself as a 74 year old. I've had a good life with husband (now deceased) two daughters (3 grandchildren) and some good friends. My life's concentration was on helping to care for my husband (disabled) and raise my children. I worked (and still do at 74), loved, nurtured and tried to be an honest and caring person to those in my life.
But it all went away when my husband died 7 years ago. Everyone was there for a while and then gradually faded out of my life. The visits were fewer, the lunch dates became nil, the calls from children and grandchildren were few and far between. Everyone had a life attachment.
Please ... I'm not whining. I have searched my actions and reactions and found nothing amiss ... I don't cling, call too often, demand or control. I'm just the same person who has always loved these folks -- I'm independent and not a burden in any way to those I know. But now ... I'm on the fringes of everyone's life and my acquaintances and loved ones have other concerns. I'm trying to accept it but I'm very lonely.
I don't feel needed (wanted) unless I'm giving them things -- out to dinner and paying the tab, cooking big holiday meals during which they present, eat, talk more to each other than to me, say goodbye (leaving the dishes for me to do) and, one of the grandchildren occasionally "borrows" my car for the long, long trip to Vermont to spend the night (!) with his girlfriend at her college and then drive her back here to home for the weekend and, of course, the return trip back to college. No matter what I think about this last one, I never speak about it but just "happily" hand him the keys.
Don't judge them. They are all great people. It's just that I'm not on their map ... and probably rightly so. I'm 74. They have to grow up and I have to learn to "grow down." It's nature's way. The bible promises us four score and 10 (that's 70). The problem, if there is one, is that I'm fit as a fiddle at 74, no aches or pains, active, still working full-time (albeit from home) from 4 a.m. until 9 a.m. every morning and loving it. Wanting/needing to be NEEDED to talk, interact, laugh, argue, be opionated, get silly with ... all those things that happen during a day. But no one needs it (now I'm bordering on whining).
How did you handle it. Tell me.
P.S.: I've tried all the volunteer things: Church, cooking at food kitchen, community development, ... these are worthwhile but to not fill the bill for me. I need my "peeps."
Last edited by rita1934; 04-19-2009 at 01:55 PM. Reason: correction in misspelling
|04-19-2009, 02:17 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Nong Seng
Hi Rita, first of all: welcome here!
I sense different things in your post. What I write may come across as blunt, but my intentions are OK.
- You give a lot and seem to be taken for granted by your family. That can only happen if you are behaving like a doormat: everybody's walking over you. You cook dinner for them and clean dishes? Ridiculous! You lend out your car but really don't like that (for whatever reason)? Stop doing that! Do you share with them that you miss them and like to see more of them? (Not that they should, by the way, it's their choice. But you do need to communicate your needs.)
- Loneliness is not fun. You seem to want to avoid loneliness by having relatives in your life. There are lots of other options. Meet new people, young and old. As long as you believe that somehow your relatives should fill the gap in you, you're doomed.
- You're 74 now. How old do you want to become? What goals do you want to reach for? What passion is there in you? Suppose you get to be 124. What will you do the next 50 years?
One of my goals is to become 120 years old. And to have a full and interesting life.
That's what I wish for you too.
PS if I'm in the neighourhood, I expect dinner, OK? And can I borrow your car?
|04-19-2009, 03:02 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
So, you need your peeps. And you recognize that others have their interests and pursuits. What it sounds like you might be missing is: being the source of what you want.
"Trying" all your volunteer stuff is great, but sounds pretty dull and unengaging. What would light you up, what would have you leaping out of bed in the morning to get started on it? THAT's what's going to have you engaged and fulfilled in relationships -- your own engagement and fulfillment in your life, regardless of what others do or don't do.
You've been making a priority out of the wellbeing of others for most of your life, now how about your own -- in your ideal life, what are you doing? What kind of people are you hanging out with, and what are you accomplishing on your own and together that has you in love with your own life? You are in a great position -- healthy, intelligent, safe and supported -- now what are you going to take on that will challenge and excite you, and have peeps falling into the orbit of your being the change you want to see?
Lots of love,
|04-20-2009, 06:59 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Hey Rita, can't give first-hand advice, but wanted to stories of a couple of old people I know.
Firstly, my great-aunt. She's 91 and she's a wonderful lady. Never had any kids, her husband died about 10 years ago and she lives in a retirement community where she does have a few friends. Like her friend Joan who drives her to church each Sunday. She's active with her church and runs the prayer circle. We try to visit her -- my husband and I, my mom, my aunt, her living brother and a few of his kids -- but we're all in different cities and busy and it's hard to make time. I do love to spend time with her, though, and I try not to leave too many dirty dishes behind or let the kids trash her apartment too much. Still, it's probably less than half a dozen times a year that we get to visit her... but we all stagger our visits a bit so that she usually has company once or twice a month.
Second, there's a seventy-something-year-old lady who comes to my weekly juggling club. She didn't start until she was in her late sixties or early seventies, I'm not sure which. She's a neat lady as well, and well liked within the group.
One idea. Do you have any family or friends that make up a natural group that might like to set a standing date for lunch or something once a month or so? You could use evite to send out invitations and see if people would enjoy meeting up and maybe playing some games would be fun too.
|04-20-2009, 02:44 PM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Las Vegas, NV
I suggest Toastmasters. We have some lovely older people in our club, aged 70+ who come every week. They are passionate, sharing, and lovely people. I adore hearing their speeches. Some speak about their war time experiences, some talk about life, the universe, and everything. You just need to find new peeps. some who will appreciate you and all you have to offer.
Erin Pavlina, Intuitive Counselor
Connect with me on: Facebook
|04-28-2009, 04:06 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York, NY
Im thinking of my grandmother, who is also a recent widow (1 year) and 14 years older than you (but in amazing shape)....but I can tell you she too is afraid to seem needy and clingy and as a result she hardly ever calls. I try to call her as often as possible (she lives n another country) but often I forget, as my life is very intense. I love talking to her and being with her but if she were to call more often, that would make me very happy.
What Im saying is dont be afraid to call often, even if they dont call you, and be part of your family's lives.
Set aside time to be with your grandchildren. Im sure they'd love it, and so would your children. I find that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is such a special one. So besides all the other suggestions here, I think you should really invest in the relationship with your family, even if at first it seems one sided.
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