Trying to keep on keeping on!

by Marcia
(East Stroudsburg, PA)

I am 76 years old and moved from New York to Pennsylvania a year and a half ago and gave up driving about 4 years ago. Never thought I was moving but life takes turns you never expect. So not driving and living in an area where you need a car to get around is proving to be depressing.

My son lives in the same house and does run errands for me and takes me shopping and to the doctors but that also takes away my independence.

I can walk down the road to the supermarket (when my knees allow it) but I wanted to join some senior groups or other activities but nothing is within walking distance. I haven't even met most of my neighbors -- I never see anybody.

I was 51 and the company that I had worked for 17 years closed the New York office and moved to Washington, DC so I was out of a job. That wound up being a good thing because my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I was able to be there 24/7 for 16 months until he passed away. I got involved with volunteering to keep my sanity and then I found a job with a woman who ran Expos and I was able to work at home.

I worked for her for a number of years and finally realized that I was working many hours and making very little money. I took early retirement to collect my pension. I became a newsletter editor for two nonprofit organizations and found that very fulfilling.

I learned how to drive at 54 years because I had never learned and got tired of taking 2 or 3 buses wherever I had to go and I had our car just sitting in the driveway. I was very proud of that accomplishment. I was with the organizations for 12 years and eventually both chapters closed and I was adrift again.

At this time my mother was getting more and more confused and had numerous trips to the hospital. We had a two family house and she lived on the second floor so I took her downstairs and gave up my bedroom and slept on a couch in my office room. I took care of her for six years and she finally passed at age 95 1/2.

It took me a couple of years to get back to my routine and get over the loss of my mother. The loneliness started to get to me again.

In one year I had five episodes of water coming down in 4 separate rooms of my house and the walls had mold from all that water. I had holes in all the ceilings.

My son had sold his house and moved in upstairs and was going to redo my mother's apartment and move down to her floor but when we finally got the estimate, it was staggering and didn't even include what it would cost to fix my apartment.

At this point I said it was time to sell the house and move somewhere safe. He has always loved Pennsylvania and I surprised myself when I said "let's move to Pennsylvania".

We ran into quite a roadblock with the building of our house. What was supposed to be a six month job took two years. For eleven months I stayed with my son's friend in Pennsylvania and that proved to be horrendous. She made my life miserable. One of the problems is she has OCD and a very bad case of it so she was on me constantly. We had many verbal shouting matches.

So I am now living in our new two family house and are still having problems. The builder really didn't do a good job in a lot of areas, but at least we are finally here. BUT I am tired of being on the computer. I am tired of watching television. I don't know what to do with myself and when talking to my friends they all tell me the same thing. We all have health problems with limitations. I really don't know why they call it "the golden years".

When I was in high school I had a French pen pal and the thought just popped in my head that maybe I should look into that. And so, here I am. I don't know what exactly to expect but I hope that it will be something nice. I am the type of person who looks at a glass as being half full not half empty.

Comments for Trying to keep on keeping on!

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Response to Marcia
by: Patricia Murphy


I think there must be some senior activities around you. Some volunteer opportunities. Do you knit? Crochet? Sew? Craft? There are probably places where you can put your talents to use as a volunteer.

Question - why did you give up driving? Since you don't, I know there must also be a bunch of senior transportation places about - there always are and usually very affordable. Some are free. Contact some. Get a ride to a senior activity. But do get out and get busy. You are the only one who can change who you live your life and how you feel about it. Only YOU. So do yourself a favor and change things.

And for Anonymous - good idea for having pen pals, but you fail to give her any ideas of how to contact pen pals. How did you connect to them?

Wendy: Register for the Community and there are 2000+ retirees there, search the database for interests, locations, whatever and then read their profile page!

From Trying to Keep on keeping on
by: Marcia/East Stroudsburg, PA

To Susan/Peoria: I gave up driving because I was paying over $2000 in insurance and the car just sat there most of the time. I don't belong to Facebook. Yes, there is a senior transportation if I need.

To Pen Pals by anonymous. Am going to look up ways to get pen pals and I also prefer snail mail.

To John A, I love your "if you don't do anything you never know when you are done". I am going to use this as my kick start if I get depressed. It is priceless and a good motivation.

To Elizabeth/W Va, I will look for pen pals. I think that will be good for me to do as I had in the past.

Thanks to all of you for your advice.

I recently had a "wake up" call and have gotten my creative side back and look forward to pursing some of my old passions (reading, crocheting etc).

Trying to keep on - Me too!
by: Susan/Peoria, IL

Marcia, May I ask why you gave up driving. I also am 76, soon to be 77 and also gave up driving 2 years ago. I take a couple of pretty heavy meds to control pain. Thus no driving. Have you looked into any Sr transportation available?

Are you on Facebook? You could private message me and we could be Pen Pals. I know of no other way to be in contact privately.

Of course, living with your son probably keeps you from being totally alone, but if I were you I would want my own privacy. Check out local churches to see if they have any Sr groups. Lots do now even just to go out to eat.


Pen Pals Are Fun!
by: Anonymous

Marcia - I think that you might enjoy writing to some pen friends again! I have more than 20 snail mail pals, and every day it is a treat to get the mail because I just might find a letter from England or France or Germany or Australia.

My pen pals are all women, who are in the same general age group as I am. It is so much fun to learn about their lives and to hear their thoughts and opinions about all sorts of things. We have truly become good friends over time.

You can also find email pen pals. This is not for me, but you might like it. Some people like the quick turnaround. I, myself, like to have time between my letters - more to talk about in the next letter. (Another advantage of emails is that you do not need to purchase a stamp.)

You can find both types of pen pals through various sites online.

Don't Go Crazy
by: John A

From my vantage point, you need to find something, anything to keep your mind occupied. You must get out and find something before you drive yourself crazy being idle. The problem of doing nothing is that you don't know when you are finished.

Wendy has tons of great ideas listed in her web site on retirement. Take some time to read though them and you may find something that you would like to do. Those ideas may also get the creative side of your mind working and possibly do something new and add to the list in Wendy's site.

Do not procrastinate; do it now and strike while the iron is hot.

Good luck in your endeavors.

Snail mail pen pals
by: Elizabeth , West Virginia

You mentioned having a French pen pal, I currently have 12 active pen pals. So nice to go to the mail box and see something other than bills. Have been a member of "Lex" for over 15 years, made some really close friends, from all over the country and several overseas friends. Take a look at their site on the web.

Join the Retirement Community
by: Wendy


Start by joining the Retirement Community. There are 2000+ retirees there, some chat, others don't, but all seek senior friendships.

Search the Member area for people your age, in specific locations, hobbies, whatever, and see what pops up!

Best Wishes!

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