Why Exactly The Need (for People) Applies To All

I'm 66 in November - fairly convinced I'm retired now - and frankly, I do not really see very much of the need for the usual socialization and join-us group routines. I must admit something, however, and it is revealed at the end of my long-winded story here, in the last paragraph or so below.


I was a techie from around 1990 through 2008 or so, and then I managed to survive up through 2017 in pseudo-technical administrative roles - some much more technical than others - until they fire you or the people you supported. Then when those around you get it then you know it was a matter of time before you get iced as well.

Here's the thing: I've struggled endlessly with the people games, the endless mingling behavior that companies try to enforce to squeeze more production out of me, to do and say what the groups I'm stuck with expect of me, and to act as if I'm enjoying their company.

Oh initially I'm very interesting and refreshing to them ... my ways of expressing myself always appear real and I surprise them with my honesty, sincerity, and relevant subject matter to them.

They aren't used to someone who doesn't sound canned and packaged in the group conversations. I seem to short-circuit them into extra smiling, blushing, laughing.

But as the days go by and I'm forced to be in the middle of them, forced to listen and pretend to laugh at their aggressive verbal questioning and fielding the "I'm just curious" hook at the end, my body language seems to give me away because I do my best to avoid groups at all costs. Then predictably, they drop me. They always do.

Before anyone goes into the you-can't-be-isolated routine and I come across another "socialization" lecture in print of how I need to increase the brain's plasticity let me at least come out with this: I kind of enjoy being in a cave and hiding.

I've always enjoyed my own company - I have a million interests and yes, the internet is a hiding place, yes.

And no, I value my privacy and I absolutely refuse to become a social media person, I've no "connections" for Linked-In, I refuse to touch Facebook and its ilk, I use my technical knowledge to the best of my ability - not super great knowledge but quite useful - to continue to be a moving target so I am (not) packaged, and sold, and my data, location, and info about me is (not) used for purposes I don't want it to be. It's a losing battle but to me (nothing) is more important than my privacy.

I was ok as a database programmer but then suddenly I was too old. I married a Japanese woman in 1989 and it will be 29 years of marriage in a few months. No kids and thank goodness for that. Who needs the "friends" thing? Why? What would I do with friends? Socialize? I haven't got any money to do that.

Besides, I say one thing that shocks them and then the time is lost, the money is lost, and it's worthless in the outcome. I love my own company and my wife's. Family? No, there we go with the questioning again.

Make an attempt to "un-retire"? Are you kidding? I'm a male with a drooping face. Eyelids drooping, mouth ends curving down, facial skin falling. I'm going on what kind of interview? No, I won't pay in the "attempt/risk" to fix it.

Every single job I've had from 1990 through 2017 has done it's budget conscious thing of cutbacks. But before that happens, new management is brought in, and I'm humiliated and ridiculed before I'm fired. This although I've been told countless times that I'm a good worker and receive excellent reviews. You see, I don't go to the bars with them, I don't go to lunches with them. My lunch time always belonged to me. It was my precious moments away from them.

Why do I want to do that again? And for that matter, why would I want to lose so much time in each day with going to "meet" my friends. I can't afford them.

I won't go to a doctor and I try not to go to a dentist. They're businessmen competing with other doctors, dentists. They play the medical coding game as well. Tests tests and then 4 more doctors suddenly join your tests. Any of my friends or family going to help me pay the $5,000 ... $10,000 that materializes for nothing?

Yes I'm on Medicare. Yes I get social security. My wife works hard but I've eliminated much of our debt with the money I once had from the jobs. She will be 63 in November. She can't get any reasonable coverage for at least 2 more years. I'm not living off her money. I'm living off mine.

My days are fulfilling because I wake up and help her, then I spend my days as the house husband. This is puny one-bedroom in a well-kept old "dump" of a building they constantly market off as "old-world charm" and that kind of garbage.

To me it's my cave. I'm happy here. I have a million interests. Yes I use my brain. No, I don't always "exercise" my brain. Yes I do exercise. I was a road cyclist for many years. I still ride a 2-wheeled rocket using my human engine ticker, but the only doctor I went to in what, 20 years .. told me I have not only a heart murmur but an enlarged aorta. I chose to basically ignore him and his push of the drugs. Bull. I wont' put drugs in my body.

So that's my story. I found this website because the one thing I haven't brought out here is why I did.

You see, if the dependence I have on my wife's love (not money - I have more than she does, but neither of us can last forever ... another car and its costs are one huge example) ... is suddenly ended then what will I do if she is hurt in her job, or on her commute? What if the worst happened to her? Who will I have then?

You see? That is the one pin in my balloon ... and I'm trying to resolve it knowing that I really can't with the lifestyle I've always led.

Comments for Why Exactly The Need (for People) Applies To All

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Encouraging!
by: Laura in Vermont

How encouraging it is to see that I am not the only one who is not terribly social! Most people seem to be better off with more people to be with, but I've always been uncomfortable with crowds and the whole people for people's sake thing. And I don't do Facebook.

Like you, I have a spouse around whom my world turns. If anything happens to him I'm planning to adopt pets. I have a couple of friends and some social contacts and a brother in a city far away; those will have to do.

So while I make a big deal of social contacts for people who want them, it's not mandatory at all.


More People Live Alone
by: Fern Canada

Our census shows more elders living alone than ever before.

It is a skill. There are steps one can take to manage being alone, or being without family and friends.

Yes, we will all be alone sooner or later. For me it came sooner, so I'd caution that big dependency on the spouse for friendship and socialization.

Find one or two things you enjoy doing by yourself. Maybe it is picnic in the park, or shopping a specialty store, or cooking. One person I met likes to read aloud in the park to anyone who might enjoy his favourite author.

It just takes being inventive!

It will not be going to parties, I expect!!

A bit of research might help to find sports and activities that are done alone. Hiking, horses, cycles, photography and much more.

Once in awhile, challenge yourself, smile or speak to someone on a bus bench or in the grocery store, you might be surprised. If not, the cave awaits.

There are ways to feel safe. I imagine a business called "Bodyguards for Grandma's" for example. I know what I would want a bodyguard to do or say when I am in the street!!

Another might be "Walkers for Grumps", they would walk but not speak to you. Fun!!

The Need for People
by: Chandler, AZ

I get the sense that you feel your viewpoint is somehow unpopular or "politically incorrect", but I think many of us feel exactly the same way you do. Its just that the truly solitary among us don't usually reach out to others on public forums! We are the lurkers.

The suggestion that you volunteer (if you deem necessary) at an animal shelter is viable. The only problem is that the dogs and cats usually have human caregivers, which puts you right back in the situation you just left.

Let the dust settle for a while. Take some time to settle into your retirement. You may have a change of heart, or maybe you won't.

When you get older and God forbid your wife is gone - you won't be left to die in the street. Very few people actually are left to die in the street.

I wish you good health and contentment and many happy years with your wife after she retires.

THE FLOW
by: loyce!

We all adapt/endure one way or the other

Comments and Feedback
by: Anonymous

I agree with much of what you said, and it is not a popular viewpoint.

I don't have many friends, and don't seek them. The friends I have/had are from work, and nothing in common anymore.

I have my husband and my home, and my pets. I also have a million interests which stimulate my brain. One of my big hobbies is quilting and that is supposed to be very good for the brain.

I sure agree with you about Facebook and other social media. I was on FB for about 9 years, then I went cold turkey, what a relief. I also agree with you about privacy. I ALWAYS felt exposed on FB.

I also agree with you about looking for a job. When I first retired, I looked frantically for another job. I finally found one in a daycare, the first day I learned I was supposed to clean toilets. Lasted one day in that job and never looked for a job again.

People or no?
by: Anonymous

Go volunteer in an animal shelter, they are the best friends you can have and will fulfill any socialization needs you may have now or in the future.

I totally agree with the no doctor visits and no drugs. You will live longer and healthier without them.

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