On Christmas Day, as I was sitting at a table in my local park, I realised just how alone I was. Both my adult children were visiting their father and respective families, and I was enjoying a Coles salad in a neighbourhood I don’t live in. I saw two older woman walk past, talking and walking their dogs. I realised, I haven’t made a friend in years. In fact, I barely had any friends. I could count my friends on one hand and even then, I don’t know if my children count as my friends, nor does an old work colleague.
Day in, day out, I do things alone. I was never married but separated from my children’s father in 1996 and since then, I’ve lived either with my kids or alone. I look for jobs every day and sit by myself in crowded places. I sit alone on the bus or train. Then I go home alone. I don’t remember the last time I made a proper friend – I have forgotten how to be a friend and keep them. Sure, there’s people who I can speak to online, but I don’t have anyone calling or messaging me without me trying first.
I don’t know where to start – I don’t really like sport and I don’t feel “old” enough to play bridge or bowls. I don’t drink, so the pub is out. I don’t have the money to travel either. I enjoy coffees but I don’t have anyone to go to a coffee shop with except my son or daughter. I sometimes think there’s something wrong with me. I feel like people are staring at me or judging me, which might play into my inability to trust someone. Even the bus driver hates me but still, I maintain to my kids that I just like being by myself but truth be told, I’m jealous when I see some older women in a group together, chatting away. I never see women my age by themselves unless they’re aimlessly pushing a troller filled with their belongings.
Is it my fault I haven’t gone out and found friends? Is it my fault I was an only child who didn’t keep in contact with school friends or feel comfortable making more in my 40s, 50s and now 60s? Or am I destined to be a loner until I die? I feel like if there was an opportunity for me to get together easily with some people my age with similar interests then I would be more inclined to go. I feel like a stereotypical bowls meet-up isn’t for me. But what can I do? I’m hoping someone else is in my situation.
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