Is life boring? Nowadays, I mean? For we awocs, we older folk. For as I focus on ageing without children, alone, childless, it seems condusive to our issues and thus, merits discussion.
Now, at this point the over 60s who leap onto coaches (any coach to be honest) join groups and clubs (any group/club to be honest) have lots of 'friends' (just lot of friends, to be honest) and go out a lot (anywhere, just anywhere) will howl profanities, mild ones like 'you swine you' at me.
Do you recognise these people? Oh hell - is it you?
'What a miserable old git she is' you will be thinking. And you will be correct.
Because I do none of the above things. I would rather keep company with my dog than talk grandkids with the 'girls'. For 'girls' it is. Not a bloke in sight and if there is a sighting he will be in the firm grip of a smartly coiffured, blonde female with very white teeth and a deep tan.
I've come to the conclusion that similar back stories is the glue. Keeping you together as mates. Girls or boys. But girls more than boys. And I can't find anyone else, like myself, who enjoyed the party lifestyle, a bottle or three of good, red wine, half a French loaf of garlic bread of a night, and the occasional puff of cheroot. That's shared with partner, by the way. I didn't drink three bottles of Medoc of a night on my own. Ha ha ha…seriously?
Friday nights, released of the work pressures, giving it large down the local dance hall or disco. With our group of like minded mates. Home at 3am not a minute before. And that went on for years.
I, like so many retired folk, now live in a market town and the religious building appears to be the glue. Not so much for me, so my outlook may appear to be somewhat different to theirs. Not being ardently religiously glued could be the reason I'm to be seen flayling, in an ungainly fashion down the nearest footpath of an afternoon, with a little, white rug for company. No direction in life, you see.
Meandlilley were meandering through the hayfields surrounding the medieval ruins of Tupholme Abbey, near Bardney, Lincoln. We will be back to photograph the actual ruins, very soon. Lovely, peaceful nature - again.
Everyone's background or lifestyle is the one - for them. It's not for me or anyone else to decide what's right or not.
So, for any interested parties reading this, please take note - if Lilley and I are perfectly happy on our solitary walks leave us alone, alright? We are OK. I've had my life of fun and hecticness. I enjoy solitude ('til I don't but that'll be different). Repeat: we are OK. I can't talk grandkids, I just can't and everyone does. We're best on our own.
Right, that's sorted - carry on -
Thus, I got to thinking - this is it. My life as it is now.
So what to do as an ageing chlldless person? And this is written for the childless let me be clear on that (straight from the Rishi songbook, there).
I've had to dig deep to think this through.
Remember, I live alone with dog Lilley so we are an item. Some of you may prefer human company. The company I like is nearly always younger, married (steady now) with a husband or partner (gotcha there). Single, older, very excitable women can send me over the edge - but that's just me. I'd hazard a guess the feeling is reciprocated. No one wants an old misery guts tagging along, do they? Me, I mean...
Someone told me once I ought to join the local flower arranging group. I was insulted. Clearly I need to put in more hours in front of the mirror. Image may need tweaking? Also, talented expertise needed for this. I don't have any.
Another thing - why are so many of the single, older women always like Tigger? Bouncing here, bouncing there, got to be doing. Why have you? Sit down. Meditate. Do nothing for an hour. Empty the head. Who are you anyway? Do you know? Well then - find out -
There's your first tip.
Looking out onto the River Bain, Horncastle, Lincolnshire from the bridge. Lilley on a lead otherwise she'd jump in. True...
After that the world's your oyster, really. But, I'll say this - you don't have to go abroad for holidays. You don't have to go in groups or even pairs. Go alone. Try it. Sit for a coffee alone in a cafe. Moving on up then try for a light lunch but alone.
Go for a walk alone - just a short one. If you can get used to doing that, use the walk to think. Empty your head and let thoughts trickle in. Look at them. Slowly. Doesn't matter what they are, does it?
No one, but no one is looking at you. In the nicest possible way - no one is bothered about you. (That's part of our problem isn't it? No one bothered). Honest, they're really not. People glance at people as they walk or pass by but they don't 'look'. Do you? Could you, or would you want to, talk about who you passed on your walk? Doubt it.
Being alone, living alone, ageing alone is alone. Join stuff if that's your bag. But don't join if it really isn't. You can be alone and OK.
What we need, must do is work hard to find official acknowledgment of our status. I'm trying, in my small pond. To contact local councils and organisations to inform them of us as a large, growing group. We will continue to talk about that. Twitter holds a lot of sway on this subject.
So, shall we try to work towards getting down and more comfortable with this childless shite?
I worry about some of the younger people beside themselves with emotional overload at being told they're infertile. They're not getting over it. I find it concerning.
We got over ours when younger/middleaged by partaking in the above fun nights. Apparently no longer available. I'd recommend them to anyone but in these Cromwellian times you'll be out of luck.
For we older childless it's a different emotion we now feel. Is it a good idea to dive into every darn activity going just to keep busy? Not for me to say. But I will say this - coming to terms and facing head on your childlessness is not always fun. I'm finding myself facing it all over again at 73. Because death edges nearer the thought one will never hold or cuddle a baby again is a silent emtional killer. But I mustn't let it be known, must I? I must carry on. Nothing I can do about it. I can hardly ask the nearest young mum if I could hold her gorgeous, cuddly baby for a while.
My gorgeous, cuddly baby - well - not quite but she'll do for me 💕 Banovallum Woods, Horncastle, since you ask.
I've been wondering if the emotional side of being awoc should be bought to the fore. As it is we, quite rightly, discuss practicalities and legallities. But what if we suddenly burst forth with our emtional feelings? Would that catch the attention? The deep loss, emptiness, embarrassment sometimes, othering, labelling. And more...
The longing for times we never had nor experienced, because we never had children. Shall we talk about that? Raw emotions. Who will care but us? And that's fine. Shall we do it next time then?
In the meantime, go live your best life as an awoc. Doesn't have to be like a mad dervish. Being on your own isn't a shameful thing, a frightening thing, a lonely thing. Sometimes it's all of those but if we accept sometimes it is - then go sit or walk in peaceful solitude. Work it through or work it out. Leave Tigger at the door - sometimes.
Taking a break at Tupholme Abbey. The views over the golden hay fields were evocative of days gone by.
It was a hot day and Lil was in dire need of a rest and some shade. She looks like a white dormouse.