Monday, 27 March 2017

Cultural Pursuits

Crazy Gym Woman has been working on her social life.

In the past two weeks I have attended three Events.
Four, if you count a memorial service. That was emotional.

It has been an interesting personal challenge, to get out there and find Other People.
I have spoken to: two women of a similar age to myself, an engineer, an air traffic controller, several postgraduate students, one undergraduate and some researchers.  None of these people had ever crossed my path before, so from that point of view it has been positive.

But it is hard, being out in the world as a lone woman with nothing but a knitted sock and an asymmetric fringe to hide behind.
I have seen two cracking films, though!
And I have learned much more than I ever thought possible about: fungus, extreme rock climbing and the nature of the self.
I sure know how to live!

It has been disconcerting to discover how casually bitter other women can be.
One entertained me to a lengthy diatribe on the subject of professors who park at the sports centre without doing any sport.
Another explained that she had steel rods in her back and that she would like to give her pain to people who use disabled persons' toilets.
Do I have a particularly sympathetic look in my eye?!
Or is this just how women interact with each other, on the basis of an assumed shared misery?
That is of no use to me.
If I am going to talk to a stranger, I do not want to know about their unhappiness or anger within 30 seconds of meeting.
It happens in the workplace too.  So much female negativity!

So I find myself talking to the men.
But I don't have any patience for football or rugby, the common currencies for idle chat.

Which leaves me talking to myself...
Or reading, or writing, or knitting, or dancing, or walking the fields, or gardening, or...
I want to live a full life, dammit!

So I take my sock out and about.
We share a coffee, my sock and me, scanning the horizon and eavesdropping on other people's conversations.
Thinking:  "You could be my friend, if only you knew me!"
Smiling quietly to myself.

I ponder moving into the city, but it is a relief to retreat to my hermitage.
Maybe I should make it mine, after all.
Invest more energy into making it my home.
Somewhere I might invite friends to visit without feeling the need to apologise, to excuse the wreckage of the past.
But that feels like a betrayal.
Which brings me back to thinking I need to start again somewhere else.
A fresh start.
Become another person.
With other people.
But where are they?


  1. God, it is incredibly hard to find people who we really connect with and finding the first one or two is by far the hardest. One person can introduce us to another, who introduces us to another... but trying to find the way in at the beginning is hard - I'm trying to do it myself after having kids and dropping out of people's orbit somewhat.

    But don't you think you are being somewhat harsh and judgemental yourself, dismissing people after one or two comments - they are possibly trying to find their own way in and are just being nervous and clumsy rather than knowingly negative. They might be trying to flex their social muscles too. Just keep putting the positivity out there and hopefully people will respond.

    1. Guilty as charged. Maybe that's why I am alone!

  2. Roo, reading this post was a lot like a replay of my own thoughts. We are of similar age, and I am restarting too (divorce for me). I find much of what you touched on to hold true on this side of the pond too. It's a good thing I like my own company :=) Were we not separated by thousands of miles of water I would suggest coffee and a chat, no whinging, but definitely knitting! Carry on Roo, I admire your spirit.

  3. Good for you for getting out into the world. Since you work in a University, is there any prospect of finding kindred spirits there? There are quite a few social groups that are organised within my school in the university that I work in - walking/hiking, cycling, crafting, baking plus the obligatory staff socials (BBQ, pub quiz etc).

  4. Wouldn't you think?! The fungus, the self and the memorial were all Uni events. But there seems to be a distinct absence of anything less formal.

    1. Organise your own, maybe? One of my colleagues initiated a casual crafty/coffee once a month which was nice--and a surprising number of people knit and crochet.

  5. It's difficult no matter your circumstances to find friends to really connect with as the years go on. Ten years ago my husband and I moved 7 hours north of San Diego up to a small coastal California town. We moved from a semi rural area to a small town. We have no history with these people even and even thought they are "mail box" friendly I've yet to really connect with them. They often make instant judgements about us that really are not true often based on how they perceive us. I miss my old workmates who are some of my best friend that I've known for 40 years or more. I have found one new friend while walking my dog over a casual chat, and she is a treasure and we continue our friendship even though she doesn't live here full time. I believe the location doesn't make for friends, it's more of putting yourself out there and being willing to talk with people. You never know where new friendships will grow up. If you feel you are too isolated you can move but remember people are isolated living in apartment buildings in huge cities too.

  6. Sometimes people are just frustrated at the moment and pick a convenient nearby person to share their frustration. I do not believe it is a female trait or that women are generally bitter. I hear a lot of grousing from both genders.

    Please don't assume other women are not worth your efforts. There are kind, funny and lovely people of both genders.

  7. I've worked in a female dominated profession for decades and found that women are bitchy. When a man or two was part of the shift it was usually a more harmonious day. Some women learn that being whiny and complaining is okay.

  8. I always find it interesting what sticks in my mind's eye, that filters through from the nonstopping world around me. You know how they say if you buy a red car you suddenly see all the red cars that zoom by? I so want to give you words of advice and encouragement and it really is none of my business I know. But I do believe you are on the cusp and that life is unfolding as it should so I'll just add thankyou for sharing your journey in all it's colour and honesty.

  9. and so frustratingly so many are online. Which is good, love my online community but I'd love to meet you Roo, and other amazing women I've come across online. I'm in Aus and sometimes it feels so far away.

  10. Interesting. I tend to think it is a woman thing, the whining... To my horror I sometimes find myself do that as well ( so thank you for pointing this out - aware now, which is the first step to improvement ) and then realize I sound just like my mom... Who is very dear and sweet, no harm meant, but ailments always seem the first topic of conversation...

  11. Women can be incredibly negative! I understand the need to connect with others in a positive and affirming way. Finding others like that can be very difficult.
    I don't have any solutions! I just encourage you to keep going.

  12. Why don't you invite people to your home _ Teach them to knit - make a weekend of it - share the cooking - share some laughter. I know what its like to adapt to being alone after a lifetime of relationship. It's not an easy journey but it can be rewarding I wish you well.

  13. I enjoy your blog -- when I retired and was looking after my grand children I felt very isolated during the day. The people I'd worked with were younger and I hadn't socialised a lot with them. I joined a mystery book club at the local library - mainly because it met on a Saturday afternoon. I did meet some friendly people through that. I also joined what is called here the Rady centre- its a jewish facility (Im not jewish) but it has fitness classes and gym so I go workout each day I find the fitness classes friendly but the zumba grop there runs Zumba trips to Mexico, which are hugely poplar, it has book clubs and talks etc. The other thing --I am not religious - churches often have lots of events that are a good way of meeting people-one of the women in my book club had a career in a symphony in another Canadian city and later moved to the city I'm in (smaller city) as a way of getting a social life she joined a local church and sings in fund raising performances (musicals) and runs one day a week a second hand book shop out of the church basement - not religious books, novels non fiction etc. - , she also volunteers at things like cello festivals, and volunteers once a month as an usher at the local theatre - she has created a life here.
    I do think it is hard - I m looking to the future when my grandchildren won't need me there each day and thinking what I will do. All good wishes.

  14. Dear Roo, You and your sock remind me of the funny/sad movie Shirley Valentine- remember it?
    She used to talk to the kitchen wall- she'd make a comment and end it with 'eh wall?!!
    A lovely movie. Must watch it again