Thanks for letting me vent…

Evelyn, Age 73

Live in Iowa, my birth state. I have always loved my native state, all four seasons. But as I get older, the snow and frigid weather of winter is taking its toll on me. My husband is 71 and his reaction to winter is sitting in front of the tv 16/7. Seriously. The only time we go out is to church, store, doctors. He has a volunteer job six months in the summer. I have a volunteer job at the same place whenever needed. We live out in the country 18 miles from the nearest town, in a small retirement community near a big lake. Most people here go south for the winter. We have lived here for over five years. I usually keep busy with my writing projects. But for the first time, I have become terribly depressed this winter. A couple of health problems have raised their ugly heads, which is no doubt part of the problem. But I am not coping very well. We have two children, four grandchildren, two great- grandchildren. They live two and five hours away. We all visit fairly often, but it’s not like running over for a quick visit. I read a lot, try to stay busy. Most of my friends were left behind when we moved here, so don’t see them often. They do tell me to “get out, exercise, join …this and that.” But my health prevents much of that. Lest someone say I am looking for excuses to not do these things….believe me, I would love to if I could! Thanks for letting me vent. It helps.

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8 Responses to Thanks for letting me vent…

  1. Laurie says:

    I think that deciding to move at our age is extremely difficult, but perhaps you would feel happier if you lived in the same town as one of your children and could immerse yourselves in the grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s activities plus have a child around to go with you to doctor’s visits, etc.

    Could you rent an apartment in one of your children’s towns to just try it out before you actually move there? Or an airbnb for a month?

    Do you have the option of going south for a visit to soak up some of that sun this winter? March and April are lovely in Florida.

    Could you visit one or two of your neighbors in their southern location for 4-5 days? Even that might perk you up.

    How about going on a visit to one of your dear friends from your previous location? Or could she come to visit you, if you aren’t up to traveling right now?

    Who are your resource people? Call them.

  2. Diana says:

    Evelyn, is there one small change that you can make? Just one to start you off.

    Go into town by yourself? Walk though Marshalls? Hang out alone in Barnes and Noble? Search online for volunteer opportunities without your spouse?

    Can you look inside yourself and ask – what will make me feel alive? And then do it!

    Take care of yourself. You matter.

  3. Bobbi Fisher says:

    Dear Evelyn,
    One of the reoccurring themes I notice for those of us who have lit 70 candles is that it becomes more of a challenge to find meaning in our lives. I believe that that meaning comes more and more from what is inside us and less about what we do.
    If you have a faith tradition, how can to tap into it? A way to start is with meditation. Sit for 20 minutes, noticing your breath, letting go of thoughts. I am amazed how this brings me to a place of contentment and peace both at the moment of meditation and at other times during the day. New insights and peace flow over me. Then there is prayer. There’s no ‘right’ way to do it, so follow however you feel called to communicate with a higher being (which I call God, although the name doesn’t matter).
    As a prayer person I pray that you will be lifted from this depression and find purpose. I have faith that things will shift for you. Bobbi Fisher

    • Fran says:

      I believe that too. Because I further believe that old age is primarily for preparing to die. Strange, I just read the other day a slight variation from what I read on the Medicare/Medicaid web site this past year: Most people take SS at 62 because the majority of people are not working by age 62 due to illness and/or injury. M/M web site stated that at least 50% of the people who turn 65 each day are already not working, due to illness and/or injury, and the vast majority will never work again. //// I do realize that people don’t want to hear about old age in terms of preparing (internally and externally) for death. I also realize that a lot of organizations/businesses do not want to address this either: If we listen to them, you would think that there is something wrong with us if we’re not climbing Mt. Everest at age 80. A slight exaggeration. So I don’t talk about it much. //// So, for instance, someone turns 65, they are sick and/or injured, they have lost their ‘work family’ and most of them know or at least suspect that they’ll never work again. If they are fortunate to own a computer, know how to use it, and can afford Internet, they get on the web and find out that not only are the invisible to their society but they are invisible to their peers also. //// We prepare financially for retirement or sickness/injury in old age (at least we try to — no matter what, money is always a big issue around voluntary retirement or forced retirement. But few people prepare for retirement mentally, emotionally, spiritually and educationally . And if we don’t like to read (or we just read romance novels) and if we don’t have a computer hooked up the Internet, older age can be a fate worse than death. Things have to change. I’m serious that when a person retires (voluntarily or forced) the government should give them a computer, pay for their internet connection, and offer classes on how to use it all. Secondly, we need to stop pretending that we’re not getting older, that we’re not losing our strength and stamina more and more every year — and this is normal and natural. As for churches — they do the same: we are invisible. I live in a city (a fairly large one) where only one church — ONE — has anything of quality for 65+. The rest — the churches all have groups and support for youth, young adults, marriage couples, usually singles — but nothing for 65+. Or they have a Pot Luck once a month. Or they have a group that meets once a month (for nothing) and which is called “Super Agers”. How so very cute. How sad. //// The medical profession almost around the world treats loneliness as though it were a disease. But I think solitude (the positive side of loneliness) is a gift the gods give us to help us prepare for death. //// I bet I’m going to get banned for this web site. My posts are always way too long.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Dear Evelyn,
    I relate! I am 72 & depression has hit hard this winter. I will try to figure out how to communicate with you further.

    • Diana says:

      Jeanne, depression should never be ignored. Too often, it can’t be ‘talked away.’

      It’s difficult to self-treat because when you’re depressed because it’s harder to focus or find solutions.

      Do you have someone knowledgeable that you can talk to? Doctors often use a combination of exercise, mild medication, and even talk therapy to begin treatment. Depending on the cause, sometimes only exercise or therapy is enough to sustain recovery.

      Please take care of yourself.

  5. Patty says:

    How about a part time paying job?
    Be creative and don’t volunteer where your husband does… I know I have worked with my husband 20! years…that is tough. If you want volunteer somewhere else. In Florida I volunteered for a bright futures type thing 45 minutes a week 3 times a month. Because of that a young teen age girl got a free 2 yr college education. It was fun and rewarding and if it didn’t work out there were more kids that could apply. It really made a difference. These are the most at risk kids but they want a life too! Check around for something small you will find it. Pata

  6. Fran says:

    It’s hard to live in a state that has such cold winters. That’s why a lot of people head to Florida, AZ, NM, NV, etc. Plus, you’re SO far away from town — or any big city.

    I do realize that it may not be possible for you, but, if it is possible, I strongly suggest that you move back to where your friends are. Really good friends are often more important, in older age, than family.

    I know you didn’t ask for advice and/or solutions. Good thing. Because moving back is all I have.

    PS: I live in the middle of my fairly large city — I wish I lived a little farther out — but I don’t think I could live 18 miles out. Secondly, the weather here is great —
    mild change of seasons, but I still spent most of winter inside. Thirdly, I live alone, which I love. My second husband watched TV 16/7 — I was SO bored with the breathing stick of furniture that, after three years, I left him. BEST thing I ever did re relationships. LOLOLOL And he was rich, handsome and charming — and I have never had one moment of regret over leaving him. 🙂 I am rarely lonely now that I live alone (20 years this month). I was always lonely in that marriage. (I AM NOT suggesting you leave your husband. Truly. Divorce is rarely a wise thing to do in older age. I am simply telling you that I understand — at least I think I do.)

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