Wednesday, 20 August 2014

You have two choices.

Good evening. I am dead chuffed when I get complementary emails dropping into my 'in' box, it puts a big grin on my face and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Such a lot of you tell me I'm an inspiration, well let me tell you it works both ways, you are an inspiration to me. From the lengthy comments and emails you send me, I get an insight on what's going on in your world, and there are a lot of people who are far more talented and cleverer than I am. That's a new word I have invented, cleverer :o)) 

I get inspiration for blog posts from you. This quote came in on an email recently from a lovely reader.'I always enjoy your blog because it spits in the face of my worst fears- ending up alone in my retirement'.

As soon as I read that I thought, aha, yes, I may be alone but I am not lonely, there is a difference. Living a single life on your own is nothing to be fearful of, lovely reader. You have two choices, if you live in the middle of a town or city and stay indoors all day, you will be lonely, or you can say stuff it and get your coat on and go out and meet people. I have never let my singleness stop me from doing what I wanted to do. When I was a teenager I went long bike rides by myself. Took some sandwiches and had a picnic. When I got a motorbike I went even longer bike rides on my Honda 125. I once set off from my home in the Midlands, kept on going, and ended up in Aberystwyth. I was only there about half an hour when I had to set off back. Boy was my bum sore that day, ha ha. 

I wanted to go a bicycle ride in France so I booked myself on a coach trip. They wouldn't put my bike in the boot so I had to go without it, and have a walk round Calais instead. I wanted to go to Germany on a coach trip, so I booked it and went. We stopped for a break at Lubeck and I wandered off, then couldn't find the coach. They eventually found me. We went through Checkpoint Charlie to the Eastern side, for a look around. I asked all my mates if they would go on holiday to Moscow with me. No one did, so I went by myself. It was amazing, very cold but amazing. I fancied having a cottage in the Lake District but no one wanted to go with me, so I went anyway. Had a lovely time exploring, in my battered Bedford Viva van. 

Look at me now, all these walks I have done, and days out. I don't wait around for someone else to say, I'll go with you, I get on with it and do it for myself. No one is going to hold my hand. So, I know I have two choices, I either don't go anywhere, or I go by myself. 

So lovely reader, ending up alone in your retirement need not be scary, you have two choices. Stay in, or get out, and maybe join a group, get a dog, do voluntary work, help friends, chat with neighbours, coffee mornings, gardening, join a gym, keep fit classes, there are all manner of things you can do when you are retired. I'm sure lots of our lovely readers will add to the list of things you can do as a singleton. 

Retirement is when you stop living at work, and start working at living. Best of luck lovely reader, you'll be fine.Toodle pip.

Please excuse small writing, don't know how that happened. Too late to start messing around with it now, I'm off to bed. Goodnight.



  1. What an inspiring post :) Maybe a lot of people also don't realise how lovely it can be to just enjoy the quiet and your own company.


  2. Wow....good for you! Moscow by yourself, amazing. Great post.

  3. Good for you! You know how to get the best out of life!

  4. From Margie in Tronto - Good for you Ilona - couldn't have said it better myself. I cannot believe how many women I work with have never been to a movie or out for a meal by themselves - it boggles my mind in this day and age. I often enjoy a day out or a vacation by myself - it gives me time to think and to really appreciate what I'm doing right in the here and now.

  5. You have certainly inspired me to get offmy bum and move!

  6. Brilliant. The best thing about the internet is the amazing, inspirational people we come across. I don't know whether you are born with it or it is something you have learned over the years but I like your roll the sleeves up and do something attitude. I have change considerably since I started following your blog. I have become more crafty, I reuse and rethink everything, I yellow sticker, I have taught myself to sew, I shop in charity shops and car boot sales, I don't care about what other people think, I don't take life too seriously - it all rubs off on us. Isn't that brilliant?! Debbie.

  7. Absolutely. And I will second the person who said why they loved reading your blog. I'll say it isn't a fear of mine though, but that is because I have been lucky enough to always know people older than myself who have paved the way and shown getting older is nothing to fear. I knew a couple of 80 year old ladies with your philosophy and they lived and enjoyed their lives to the fullest possible. I would love to emulate them. Sadly Moscow was on the agenda for one of them, just as she was due to go she was taken ill and didn't recover. She was 83. All the people I know who have fun when older are single and I don't know if that is coincidence. They really are enjoying life too. I think they have learnt how to do the things they like, and just get on with it.

    I have friends both male. One who enjoys to have a coffee but won't do it on his own, or go anywhere on his own, so his is quite miserable a lot of the time. Another, has little money but travels on the bus, takes a sandwich and flask of coffee, and loves the journey as well as the destination. He is always off out, mostly alone. I love to go places alone too. It's nice to share with friends but my own company is nice too.

    I do like your blog a lot because you show a good example by living it - you don't talk it and you are not pushy. Most other frugal type bloggers are show-offs in comparison. Anyway, keep on enjoying life. It shows that you really do.

  8. Great post today thank you for your commonsense and wisdom Ilona.
    AussieCheryl : )

  9. I love to see women who get out and do things by themselves. I started doing that when I was much younger. I decided if I couldn't get anyone to go with me, I could either go alone or stay home and be bored. So I chose to get out there and enjoy. Have fun! You are indeed an inspiration.

  10. Truly, this was one of your best posts and good heavens there have been so many excellent ones. I am happy to read that we, your supporting readers help make your life "glow" too.
    Jan F

  11. Ilona, I too am alone but not lonely. I do things with a number of friends but I also appreciate having my own space. I would not want to live alone in a very rural area. I live in a suburb that is near a medium-sized city and also very close to the water so there is a lot to do.

  12. Great advice and so true! One must be comfortable in one's own skin and not be afraid to do things alone. I am not brave enough to tackle a big trip alone but good for you!

  13. As you say,being alone needn't be lonely.
    Jane x

  14. A great post Ilona, I do so agree.
    I have experienced both being alone and with doing everything with husbands.
    I have been married twice, my first husband died after a year of marriage and for the first time I was alone. Widowhood brought out qualities that I did not know I possessed, I coped and had a good life.
    After a few years I married again, we emigrated to America and after nearly 20 years of marriage, he left me for a 25 year old. Again I was alone, my strength returned after a period of shock and I travelled alone and did many new things, quite enjoying my independence. I went back to work after 20 years of being a housewife, I joined a temp agency and did many interesting jobs, ending up with a permanent job as a doctor's office manager. Yes I was scared and had many a wobbly moment, but I knew that only I could do it and make something of my life.
    When faced with adversity I think we all have inner strengths and courage we did not know we had. Something about making lemonade when life serves you lemons.
    Good luck to you and your readers, keep on doing what you enjoy, taking a few chances along the way, you never know what you might find.
    Love from Pam in TX

  15. You have the best can do attitude; see what you want to do and find the way to do it. When you write "toodle pip" it makes me smile.

  16. I honestly think of you as a friend - even though we've never met, you have a way about you that I find to be very satisfying. You write your blog as though carrying on a conversation - you share your adventures - your "knocked out" meals that always look so tasty, and of course, your creative talents. I look forward to your posts every day and even if there isn't one, I know that there is likely to be an extra special post the next day. I love your courage and your heart - the furry fluffs that you take care of and the helping hand you give to your friends and neighbors. Don't let anyone kid you - you are one special lady and the best part of that is you are who you are naturally - you don't have to work at it. Ranee

  17. This is so true I have some lovely friends but have never relied on them to go any wherevor get stuff done. Ive had to be independant since my kids were just tiny. My bloke walked out on us and we were left to fend for ourselves. I had no choice but to just get on with it.
    I had no help people just wanted to sit over me. No thanks
    I taught myself diy how to decorate and fix things up all with libary books. Nowadays thank goodness for you tube.
    My friends mother went to china on her own at 75 because most of her friends were too set in their ways to try something different good for her. You definitley dont need to be joined at the hip with anyone.
    Read the poem by Jenny Joseph called 'When im an old woman I shall wear purple'. Its on the internet, just google it, thats the attitude to have. Ive just bought my first pair of doc martins at 64 much to the amusement of my two sons.

  18. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
    And run my stick along the public railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
    And learn to spit.

    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
    Or only bread and pickle for a week
    And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
    And pay our rent and not swear in the street
    And set a good example for the children.
    We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

    But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
    So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
    When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

  19. Hello Ilona
    I have been following your blog for more than a year but have never commented on your posts so far. I absolutely love reading about your life and the things you do. Your common-sense approach to life is wonderful. Your blog is uplifting and it never fails to cheer me up when (on the rare occasion) I feel low. I always look forward to reading your posts and thank you so much for sharing your life with your readers. Kind regards - Julia.

  20. Brilliant post Ilona.

    You really do inspire us, I'm so glad we inspire you a bit too. Being alone can be so liberating and as you say, unless you make it that way, never lonely.

  21. You are an inspiration...your blogalmost always leaves me thinking...or smiling!

  22. Hi Ilona,I have never commented before but would like to say how I look forward to your blog every day. I am inspired by you and although my life is different to yours ( I am a widow with two grown up children) I agree with nearly all you say ! I can,t drive and go everywhere by national Express coach or free bus pass.I have some good friends and have made many more at our local U 3 A .For those watching their budget , most activities cost about £1. I go to Folk singing and love it! I go out with friends sometimes but quite often think I would like to be only own to concentrate more fully on what interests me ! Being on your own is not so bad as you so rightly say !

  23. Another great post, I agree with everything that you say. I walk out most days and stop and speak to every person that I see. Most are happy to stop for a moment and chat, some are too reticent to make the first move, the fear of being ignored maybe.

  24. Hi Ilona, What a wonderful post! It must have been some adventure to go to Russia by yourself. I always wanted to go to Ireland because my grandmother grew up there on the west coast (County Mayo) and I have always been interested in seeing where she came from but my husband doesn't want to travel that far (he's not feeling well most of the time) and my sister is afraid to fly! No one wants to go or can't go for some reasons of their own. I might just think about going myself. You have inspired me to think about doing that. Thanks! Keep up your walking adventures so we can all enjoy your travelling posts.

  25. Truth(we're on the same page:)!

    You are as young as you feel(we all have the power:)!


  26. Thank you for sharing your brilliant life with us! You have been so many places and had so many experiences.
    Very inspiring!
    We have always wanted to travel to England, so we are saving our money to make it a reality. Love the pictures that you post of your travels.

  27. Hi Ilona and all readers, you are a great inspiration to me. I start every work day morning reading your blog to see what you wrote the night before. I have used many of your common sense, money-saving ideas. There have been many a time that I was about to do something and I wonder what Ilona would do! Your long walks are such an inspiration and they make me want to get out and do something. I'm not alone but I don't think it would bother me and more women lose their husbands than the other way around so I am prepared for that. I find traveling with a companion to be a distraction. When you are alone you can choose where to walk and what to see. With a companion you always have to compromise. A wise woman said to me once "It's better to be alone than to wish you were alone." Thank you so much for writing your blog and showing us your art. I only wish it was published someplace to reach a wider audience!

  28. I have only been reading your blog for a few months but I so enjoy it. Our situations are not the same (are anybody's?) and because of our circumstances we don't travel far, but I do enjoy reading what you get up to - even enjoy the fact that you live somewhere I have never been! I travel with you... and take on board some of your ideas.

  29. Your no-nonsense attitude and simple life with common sense has always inspired many. I`m also one that will not dread old age or being on my own. I`ve got so many plans for my retirement that I shall never ever be bored, feel alone or lonely, no matter what befalls us as we get older. As someone already mentioned, it mostly happens to us women that we are left behind when partners/spouses pass away. And your comment about two choices is so very true. I know which choice will be mine!

  30. Wise words oh great one! I love seeing someone else out there having fun. It's a state of mind that can be had regardless of relationship status x

  31. I have ordered my purple dress and red hat!

  32. One of our campers is in the Lake District at the moment with a single lady and her border collie, they are having a great time without needing someone else along with them. It can take some confidence when you take the first step to do things solo but is very rewarding :D

  33. Ilona - this post is why I keep stopping by. You are definitely an inspiration!
    ~ Pru

  34. Very true, if you wait around for someone to go with you you wouldn't do much.
    There are lots of things i've fancied doing when i was younger but didn't. I go on my own now but nothing as adventurous as Moscow at the mo.
    I had a Honda 125 when i was 17 but never went more than 20 miles from home.

  35. Great post, and great comments.......😎


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.