In my post of August 20th I made a glancing reference to loneliness. Loneliness is a condition that is prone to appear at any and all stages of life; however it may be at its most present in later life.

Notice how I am using this word “loneliness” in a purely negative sense. I think of it as a state of mind in which you have to feel lonely. You shouldn’t be declared lonely by someone else (although we can’t stop other people from forming their judgments).

The modern world of the device

I have made this observation before about retirement: in the on-line world of gadgets you may appear to be the opposite of lonely – can we say engaged – when in fact you are not. On the surface you may feel connected, important and busy; as you respond to endless emails, WhatsApp messages, Scrabble, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, but this may not truly satisfy a deep need.

But I would say that in most cases - where I rephrase deep need as meaning – this meaning can be found in community; for example:

·      Friendship.

·      Family;

·      Clubs, societies or classes.

My summary

I think of individual time versus community time; time on your own in superficial busyness versus time actively spent with other people; finally the electronic world where time is merely your own watch ticking versus communal time where there is a clock for all to appreciate together.

I think that a strong sense of community will be the antidote to loneliness for most people.

Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.