Friday, 24 September 2010

It's got to be for you.

A recent comment from Anna has prompted me to write this post, and hopefully I can shed some light on the relationship between feeling lonely and depressed living as a single person, and whether the amount of money you have can make a difference.

Let's take the lonely and depressed bit first. I have been living on my own ever since I left home when I was 18, so you could say I have had plenty of practice. Although I appear to be sorted now, I have gone through some lonely and depressing times, some of these have been triggered by my Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD lots of interesting stuff if you google it). Having low self esteem has been very difficult to deal with at times, but on the whole I have usually managed to pull myself out of it.

My singleness comes from the fact that I have an independant streak, and coupled with a very demanding job, I have never had the opportunity to meet the right person who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I am not lonely or depressed, I feel very lucky for the life I have now, and the confidence I have which has grown with age and experience. About fourteen years ago I had a boyfriend, he promised me everything, how we would be together for the rest of our lives, how he loved me more than anything. I believed him, but there was a price to pay and it took me a while to spot the flaws in our relationship. Basically I did all the giving and he did all the taking. He wanted to control everything I said and everything I did. Everybody noticed the changes in me, I was turning into the person he wanted me to be and I lost my identity. The questions and the accusations were terrible, I know now that he was an evil man. Thank goodness I eventually saw sense and got out, but it wasn't easy, my confidence was rock bottom because he had such a hold over me.

Eventually I managed to turn things around, you don't just stop living when a relationship breaks up, you have the rest of your life in front of you. I made myself get back out there, pick up the pieces and start afresh. I didn't know many people because I had moved to a new area, to be with him, I needed to meet people. What I did was to start an introduction agency/singles club. I made up a programme of events, social nights out, and advertised it every week in the free paper. It grew and grew, I made lots of friends, and in three years we had three weddings, people found partners and friends, and I found a new boyfriend.

What I am trying to say is, that if you wait around for something to happen you will wait for ever. When time is lost you can never get it back. The new boyfriend by the way, finished with me after about two years. He couldn't cope with the age gap, I was 14 years older than him. But that was his choice, I respected him for being honest, and I got on with the rest of my life.

One thing I don't do is pine for something I haven't got, there is no point. I have been given a life and my only responsibility is to me, to make the best of it. No one else is responsible for making me happy, it is entirely in my own hands. This is why I go out on my own.

I realise that everyone is not like me. When I ran the singles club I sometimes had to go out into the car park of the pub we were meeting at, and speak to someone in their car because they were too shy to come in on their own. I was the meeter and greeter. Once they got inside and met a few people they relaxed a bit more, and after a few visits the change in them was amazing. It was taking that first step which was the hardest.

Anna, you say that people don't want to know you, now you have no money. I am not sure how they would know you have no money, unless you tell them. There is no need for anyone to know what you have or have not got. I am happy telling people that I don't have very much spare cash, because I am proud of my simple penny pinching lifestyle. If people judge me on my material posessions and don't look at me the person, then I don't care if they don't want to know me. I have rich and poor friends, they are all the same to me.

I am sure the cost of living is quite high in London, but you can still go out even though you don't have much money. The library is free, cycling is free, some museums and art galleries are free, some colleges offer free courses, walking is free, and donating blood is free. Dog walking is one of the best free activities that gets you talking to people, and it doesn't have to be your own dog either. London can be a lonely place to live, but if you make that effort and be the first one to speak, you might be surprised. Even if you go to the local shop for a paper and say 'Good Morning' to someone, it's a start, you never know where it might lead.

Anna, I hope you don't find my post dictating or patronising, I don't mean to be. It's just that I am a firm believer that our destiny is largely in our own hands, the only exception being that if we are unfortunate enough to suffer from unavoidable ill health. Please please please look after yourself, and that goes for anyone else reading this.

11 comments:

  1. well said Ilona. I am almost 52 and still single. I know I always will be. I have a special gentleman I have known for 30 years but there is no desire for marriage and responsibility so we just remain friends. I have spent much time alone and it is so true that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with anyone else. I will keep Anna in my thoughts and prayers and hope she gets out and about. People who only want to be your friends when you have money are not friends but freeloaders. As I told another friend today, life is too short to spend it on people who annoy you.

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  2. Good for you, Ilona. Marriage, realtionships, money, status are nothing compared to selfesteem and independence. Plenty of married people are lonely or depressed and so are people with plenty of cash! Hope Anna takes heart from yourwords.
    By the way I've been offering some odds and ends free on my blog - check in case there's soemthing you'd like.

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  3. Bravo! (Applause) one of the best posts EVER! Great points all around. Totally agree with Jee. I know so many married people who are lonely and that is even worse, because you are stuck and lonely. Chin up Anna! get out and make friends, best of luck darling.

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  4. i totally agree with you, like you I had the boyfriedn who promised the earth, and i lost so much of myself, he lied, cheated and abonded me and our children, now i coudl do 1 of two things, get down, depressed and give up, or live my life, I chose to live my life, you only get one, and being depressed and down woudl serve no purpose. I take y kids everywhere on my own, and when thy are off visiting relatives i get out ther eon my own, life is to short not to

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  5. Another singleton here, I have been married and have grown up children but I live alone and as widow/pensioner at bottom of monetary pile! If you need company I think it is up to you to invite someone round for coffee (cheaper than going to a cafe) or arrange to meet up for a walk. Although I live in the country I quite like walking in a town, lovely smooth pavements and no obstacles and plenty of gardens to look into. I love living alone, please myself but you do have to be proactive if you want company. Lovely post Ilona, thankyou.

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  6. Even seen from the perspective of a comfortably off person with a family this is a wonderful post. Life is what we make it whatever our circumstances. The pleasure that I get from life doesn't usually come from spending money but the interaction with others. I would suggest to Anna that it might be helpful to find a cause close to her heart and give some of her time. Meeting people with a similar perspective on life can lead to friendship, satisfaction and other pleasant surprises!

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  7. brilliant post,nearly gave up on you. I'm not a walker, so got a bit bored, sorry. Please write more items like these they are so inspiring.

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  8. Dear Ilona! Thank you so much for your words of advice and encouragement. Reading of your enormous courage to overcome your own personal hardships in life has given me the much-needed courage to pick myself up and carry on the battle with mine. You are one strong lady who I greatly admire. It is absolutely true that our future lies in our own hands and life is what we make it.

    I think for too long I have been sitting around feeling sorry for myself. Two years ago I lost a job I liked very much not due to the recession but because a new boss came along with whom I did not get along, neither did anyone else. The new boss made our lives hell and humiliated us. I tried hard to get along with her but after a stress-filled one and half years with her I decided I had not choice but to quit. Soon after, the recession hit and, at the age of 48, it is proving impossible to get another job although I keep on trying. I still feel much anger towards my ex-boss which I know I must let go of but the memories of my hell seems too fresh still. I realise I have always been too sensitive and need to grow a thicker skin. Also my confidence has been greatly knocked by being out of work, although I spent one of those years successfully completing a diploma to improve my computer skills.

    I have been single for nearly 10 years since my fiance was killed in a car crash. Like you I have always been financially independent, taking great pride in working and supporting myself and I have never liked to rely on anyone else for money. I feel that if I could get another job soon, then my confidence would return and everything else (social life etc.) would gradually fall into place. I pray to God that I will find work again. I have always enjoyed working and it is very important to me, not just from the financial aspect. Being without a job has come as a big blow to me.

    In the meantime I am living off my savings which I had hoped to keep for when I am a pensioner. Thanks to your wise and excellent advice on frugal living, Ilona, I have at least been able to make these savings go further whereas in the past I used to literally throw my wages away!

    Anyway, I will let you know how I get on. In the meantime I thank you and your kind followers for your advice, prayers and encouragement. I am already feeling more positive and hopeful.
    Best wishes to you all. God bless you!

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  9. Thankyou for sharing this Ilona. I would agree particularly about dog walking. I have met some fabulous people (some who have become good freinds) through the dogs stopping to meet one another.
    I also endorse completely your comment about smiling and speaking, strangers are only friends you haven't met yet and that may be the only contact an elderly person has had with another human being for days.

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