Saturday, November 14, 2009

Aging Alone

Aging Alone

©2009 Celeste Billhartz

 I am 70 years old, live alone, have friends, a family of cousins, a decent retirement, pretty good health, a car, activities I enjoy, and a volunteer commitment I take seriously. And, I’m lonely.

 Why am I lonely? How dare I be lonely??           

 I think Loneliness is still in the closet ...:) I find that many people are quick to tell me what to do to not be lonely .... volunteer! do this! do that! They don’t know how to just .... listen. They want me to fix my loneliness, they rush to tell me what to do. So, I stop talking. I smile, and I listen to them ... I ... listen .... to them. I am losing hope of ever finding someone who will just ... listen to me. I think half my loneliness is for want of a listener. 

 One of the true pleasures I had when I lived in my house “out in the woods” was going outside about four times a day to feed walnuts to the squirrels and birds. I will have to find a handy place to do that here, in the city. I will find it. I will find some squirrels and birds to toss a few walnut pieces to ... and I will ease my loneliness. I will fill my need for good-giving.

 I love purposeful work, thus, I volunteer. Also, I love to sing oldies. I am asking around for a pianist or guitarist to accompany me. I emailed one fellow who had been recommended ... but, I wonder if his interest slipped into amusement when he read that I am 70. I’m just saying ...:)

 I am also putting together a program of poems and stories, songs, to share with local groups. Not everyone in the theatre/performance business I approach for advice is helpful ... or kind. I think there is an underlying ageism/sexism going on here. Really. I think if I were 30 and asking for advice I’d get advice. I suspect if I were a 70 year old man, I ‘d be heard with more respect. What I am getting are verbal pats-on-the-head and assurances that .... ha ha .. no, you don’t need a publicist ... ha ha ... you just need to put some things together and put on a little show in your living room for friends, then go to some poetry slams ... and get the word out to some senior centers ... just get out there ... just do it! 

 I wonder how many other old women have talents and desires to perform and are not taken seriously? How many just shut up and never tell anyone else about their wishes and ideas? I wonder how many old women I pass on the street or see in the grocery store or in the coffee shop go home to their apartments and houses and stare at their closets filled with binders of poems and stories and songs they will never get to read or tell or sing? I hope each of them will read/tell/sing a few pieces to someone, anyone, before she passes from this earth. It’s that important to her. It really is; she really is ...:)



Anonymous said...

I very much like what you said and I linked to it. You can find it here.

And I think the work you do in adoption is to be commended.

Celeste Billhartz said...

thanks, Jess .... Best, Celeste

Anonymous said...

I am extremely glad to find your blog post and totally. I will be 65 next month. Divorced. Live alone. 3 grown kids.

I am a writer and activist (in adoption, too!) and do a lot of volunteer work. Am active and LONELY! And belonging to a church doesn't help either, Everyone is so nice - but them they go home .. to their FAMILIES. I hate the holidays especially cause it it is about "family."

Today I was snowed in an no none of my neighbors helped shovel or dig my car out! what a world! And It affects women far more than men.

I just write about this on a list I started at DailyStrength.

Anonymous said...

check this out:

Celeste Billhartz said...

Thanks, Anonymous .... very sorry your neighbors are not helpful. Thanks, too, for the link. Please email me the piece you posted at DailyStrength ... Best, Celeste ....

Von said...

Growing old disgracefully in a 'can-do' society helps, if you haven't got one create on.Hope it gets better.

glory said...

I often wonder if older women in all societies and cultures tend to feel this loneliness. Why do I feel it is coming for me, that it WILL be part of my life?

Celeste Billhartz said...

thanks, Von .... hey, I love the quotes on your Once was Von page .... please, keep in touch ... Celeste
email me at

Glory ... oh, I could write pages and pages about this ... :) I think it helps to have other beings ... human or animal ... with whom we can exchange energy ... those moments of touch or eye-contact, expressions, etc. I have that when I feed the wild animals. A blessing in my life.