“I always loved running. In my twenties, I decided to join a running club to be around like-minded people. After winning a few races among professionals I was hooked and my competitive running career started. I did two-to-ten-mile races and everything in between every year for over 40 years. Also, half marathons, marathons. Since then, I run about 20 miles every day. I am 76, and still out the door at 6:30 every morning. Yet, my greatest competition started only after I retired. I bought this house with all the intents and purposes to start a family here, but I ended up living my life alone for the most part. My mother used to say to me ‘get married Christy, it’s a lonely old life’. I had good intentions to get married. I’m by nature a family man but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way… Before my retirement, I managed a busy life so loneliness could never really catch me. It was only at 65 that my race against loneliness began and it almost ate me up. I used to wake up at night terrified thinking that I was going to die lonely. I often went to a football match, surrounded by thousands of people feeling completely alone. Loneliness is a terrible disease! I heard that ALONE had this wonderful volunteer visitor service, so one day I decided to give them a call. Soon enough, I got approved for volunteer visits which made a tremendous difference in my life. Sean comes to me every Tuesday for the last four years now. We have similar interests, we talk sports and politics for the most part. I consider him a great friend. You see, not getting lonely at my age requires effort and planning. I consciously fill up my days with all sorts of activities. Besides exercising every day, I am active in my community and I regularly visit old friends. If I didn’t have my daily routine and I didn’t make a conscious effort to be around people, I believe my mental health would have suffered much more… People living alone have no choice but to join this race and to get out and make the effort to keep themselves ahead, just as if it was a running competition.”
This post was highlighted by ALONE Ireland.