And breathe…

After last week proved a very frustrating one at work, I was hoping for a calmer one but hope was forlorn. Oh my goodness…it’s been the most ‘full-on’ one I’ve had in my two years there. Every man, woman and their dogs needed HR input, and it’s overtime week too so I was up against a tight deadline. I’ve worked over by several hours but my week has now ended as I worked on Monday instead of tomorrow.

The reason for this is because tomorrow I have the hospital appointment to discuss the results of last week’s scan on my foot. After that I will be travelling to Bedfordshire to visit my daughter. I loved driving to Shropshire when she lived there, Staffordshire was ok, and Northamptonshire tolerable, but my one and only excursion to Bedford (in August when she moved there) was not a success – I decided that in future I’d go by train! As a bonus, at £12 for a return ticket, it is cheaper than the fuel for the car, and it should be a lot less stressful.  However, it just so happens that Daughter has a meeting in Birmingham tomorrow morning so after the hospital I shall catch the local train to the city centre and return to Bedford with her.

I’ve had to turn down an invitation to coffee this week, and two more invitations for next week – one for lunch and another for coffee. It’s great having a big circle of friends but with work and family commitments, and a host of other calls on my time it’s a rare occasion when I can say ‘Yes’, with only a week’s notice. My October diary pages are ‘chock-full’ or to put it another way – overflowing! November and December are starting to fill up too. Would you believe that I have taken to diarising free time?  I select a day and cross it out, writing the words KEEP FREE diagonally across them!  My diary is an old Filofax which I’ve been using since c2006. Back then, I used to have a page a day but nowadays I’m ok with two days on each page. I even make a diary note at the start of October to buy new pages ready for the following year!  My 2020 ones have just been ordered and I already have around a dozen entries to write in when they arrive. This does not include birthdays/anniversaries etc. as they are listed separately on pages at the back. I really do need to write out some new ones as the ones in use are at least six or seven years old and have lots of scribbled notes alongside them (such as how old people were in certain years to help me keep track of special dates).

I know that I am very lucky to have good friends and to be able to say that I never feel lonely.  I also know that it is possible to feel very alone even when surrounded by other people because I have seen loneliness at very close quarters. However, I feel very strongly that not being lonely is something that must be worked at. My mother was a lonely person and I am convinced that this contributed a great deal to her diagnosis of dementia in her early seventies.  My father had died at a comparatively young age (49) and I suppose that work had been her saviour, but post-retirement she would often say that she had done nothing and seen no-one for days. I would suggest that she invite a particular person for coffee. “Why should I?” she’d ask, “she never invites me.”  Other suggestions were similarly met with a shrug and no action on her part ever followed; the effort was the responsibility of others. After retirement when the social contact of work is lost, most of us will feel a need to replace it. Building a network of friends is never going to be easy – it requires an investment of time and reciprocal support; it requires making an effort.

My diary is full; I sometimes wish for more time to myself, but I am proud that I continue to make that effort.





  1. What a busy person you are! I think it is important to have time for one’s self but equally important to maintain friendships. Friends are a precious and priceless gift but it does take effort to maintain them; well worth it of course!


  2. I so agree with you about friendships. I have a wide range of friends and lots of family and yes I do diarise them! I know what loneliness is like. During my lonely time, I’d to go to places where there were people, like a cafe, or a library, a beach, park, or walk through the local shops, just to be with people. I joined things to make friends. It is just to sad being lonely. It all worked, though, and now I have a busy and full life.


  3. I really liked what you wrote about friends. When I retired my son and his wife had no children, and then their first came along and I heard they were looking for help with child care, and I became a full time grandmother helper. It has been a wonderful time, there are now 2 grand children, and
    I still help but not such long hours. However, I realised at the beginning I was missing out on adult company, so enrolled in the local library mystery book club, which was fun, and I made friends there. Since then I’ve made friends at my local fitness centre, at leisure classes I’ve attended etc. and I value my friendships, We have a small group of workplace retirees and we get together for lunch. My mother who died when she was in her 90’s worked hard to keep a small circle of friends, phoning back and forth when she became to frail to get out to see them. jean


    • It’s good to have different groups of friends with different history and interests. One thing most of my friends have in common – we all like lunch out!


  4. It’s really wonderful that you have such a vast circle of friends and that your diary is always full. You must feel enriched.
    You are so right when you say that loneliness must be kept at bay. It pulls you down in every way.


  5. That’s great that you’ll be able to visit your daughter, even if it means you have to turn down other invites. It does sound like you have a very active social life. I agree with you, though, that it takes effort to cultivate and maintain friendships.


  6. I’m waiting for new Moleskin to arrive. New year new agenda.

    I told my sons when they left school not to take friendships for granted. It does become hard to make and yes, maintain friendships as we mature.


    • We got my step son a Moleskin a couple of years ago. It was a lovely quality item but I am very attached to my dear old Filofax!


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