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Loneliness, Solitude and Isolation in Life’s Third Trimester

After our last Discussion Topic of Exclusion and Inclusion, I began seeing how I exclude or include myself as a Third Tri.  It’s true for me that I enjoy solitude much more now than ever I did. But, I wondered, does that lead to isolation and eventually to that old bugaboo “loneliness” and all that entails?


I found a wonderful blog post from http://www.timegoesby.net and am taking the opportunity to quote some of her thoughts here about solitude, isolation and loneliness.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

“…we who enjoy a lot of time alone are often seen as suspect by the culture at large. Look at how negative are the words we have to describe such people: hermit, recluse, loner, lone wolf, introvert, outsider. It's not far from there to believe anyone like that must be lonely and therefore in danger of illness, even early death.

Not true. Not always.

Carl Jung's seven tasks of aging, which come to many elders quite naturally (without even knowing who Jung was), pretty much demand introspection and, therefore, solitude:

• Facing the reality of aging and dying
• Life review
• Defining life realistically
• Letting go of the ego
• Finding new rooting in the self
• Determining the meaning of one's life
• Rebirth – dying with life

It would be a mitzvah [a good deed] for all of us to be alert to signs of isolation and loneliness in friends and neighbors and to help when we can. But we should also be careful to make the distinction between those who are unhappy or depressed about it and others who enjoy their solitude.”

So I began exploring these ideas more for myself and found a few other things that relate to this topic.

I found that it doesn’t matter if you are married, coupled, single or have many or little friends. Experts have found that it is the quality of relationships that effect if we are lonely or not.  It’s also a matter of how we look at life.


For instance Barbara Dane, an 85-year-old jazz and blues singer who lives in Oakland, Calif., has seen this play out in her relationship circles.

“As you get older, you see the world writing you off,” she said, adding, “So you tend to become passive and think, ‘I don’t want to bother anybody.’ You lose contact with your own kind, your tribe. And before you know it, you’re feeling bad.”

“It’s kind of life a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your eyes start to fasten on the sunset, and you start walking toward it.”

So for this next Meetup, let’s look at loneliness, isolation and solitude.  Let’s tell each other what we fear about living alone (or not) about being older and how relationships may have supported or evaporated for us.  Come ready to talk about your own view at this stage of your life and what you have learned as you’ve aged.

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  • sia

    Loved hearing everyone's thoughts and experiences

    1 · November 27, 2013

  • Sandy M.

    I found out some things about myself that I hadn't realized. also appreciated how each individual shared of their own experiences.

    November 26, 2013

  • Gee-Gee

    This is very important for people to think about and evaluate where they are on the continuum of loneliness to solitude. And it is important to maintain quality relationships. I spend a great deal of time alone here in AZ, since my husband still works full time back in PA. But I am also building new relationships here in AZ so that when I don't want to be alone, I have people with whom I can connect. Great topic!

    1 · November 13, 2013

    • Sandra O.

      Gee Gee, I am working on building relationships. Its easy to meet alot of people, which is fine, but finding nicely bonded relationships is not as easy. Bonded relationships are the best. To have bonded ones, it seems you need to go thru the trenches together or have a really great time. Sharing life's experiences is a good way too.

      2 · November 19, 2013

  • Sandra O.

    I agree that the quality of the relationships you have make the difference. Having alot of people around that you do not relate to is possibly worse than being alone. But I believe that people are meant to have a group or a pack to belong to and when we do not have our pack we feel lonely and "off." I think that nature gives us signals to tell us when we need company. Humans are social animals. We need our feel good chemicals (seritonin) for our brain health and some of that chemical comes from interacting with others in loving and friendly ways, to get that seritonin. Eating is one way also. It is natures whole set up. We need to laugh too. Have you ever done a laughter yoga session? I did one once. Laughter is necessary for good health too. I love company but also I love my alone time. We need a balance I think, I know I do.

    4 · November 17, 2013

    • Sandy M.

      Sad to have missed your input Sandra. Stay in touch and come next time if you can.

      November 19, 2013

    • Sandra O.

      I sure will, thanks, I really would have enjoyed this topic, a real big one for me, very important one.

      November 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yes I agree that quality of the relationships is everything. I have learned that I have to tolerate illation rather than open the door to people who can do more harm than good. It is nice to see so many here value their solitary time. My time is always solitary, now by choice although at first that was not the case.
    It is good to see so many write here finding positives in the Third Trimester. I don't share that vision in the least, but find it interesting that others can do more than tolerate aging.
    Wish this group met in a restaurant or something as it did the time I attended. Since much of the time I am unable to drive, academic. :-)

    November 17, 2013

    • Sandy M.

      thanks for your comments and sharing your experience Deborah. We will not be meeting at a restaurant again but we do try to have social outings once a month and are often at restaurants for those. Wish you well in your own challenges.

      November 17, 2013

  • June F.

    Ok Sandy,
    Have noted the date as 11/19 and will be there Good Lord Willing. June

    November 14, 2013

  • June F.

    Compelling topic Sandy. Thanks for continuing the notices. I shall be there on the 26th. As a person who has been a gregarious Gemini most of my life, I find that I enjoy solitude more and more. Have made some wonderful friends since coming to Tucson; but the relationships are very different from those in my earlier life. Look forward to the session.

    November 14, 2013

    • Sandy M.

      Oh June - I agree it is compelling. But we are meeting on the 19th not the 26th. I'll send you an email too. Hope you can come then.

      November 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Some wonderful thoughts you raised above.

    1 · November 13, 2013

    • Sandy M.

      thanks Deborah, I'm sure you will have good ones to share as well.

      November 13, 2013

  • Gee-Gee

    I'm not sure why this is happening, but last week' mtg is also showing on my calendar today, and next week's mtg is listed as 2:30, Nov 19 - 4:30, Nov 26. We are mtg next week, right?

    November 12, 2013

    • Sandy M.

      yes, they mixed it up somehow and I've written telling them (the meetup techno people) We ARE meeting on the 19th

      1 · November 13, 2013

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