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Unintended consequences of lockdowns

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ditchdwellers:
Over the recent months I have been thinking about how the lockdowns had a much more profound impact on me than I had fully wanted to realise.


I used to be quite a sociable person and although I would still consider myself to be so, I rarely go out and since moving and the end of lockdowns have made no attempt to meet new people and make new friends. It seems I've become much more content with my own company and that of my husband that I'm now quite insular.


This change within myself is not one I'm entirely happy with.


So I bit the bullet and joined the U3A. I was quite proud of myself for joining a brunch group and attended my first social meeting with them at a local cafe earlier this month. Tomorrow morning I'm going to the cinema with a woman I met there ((£4 for film, tea and biscuit! ) so I'm beginning to feel like I'm starting along the right track.


I hadn't fully appreciated how much the covid restrictions and shielding had altered me . I have always thought of myself as a confident, self assured person but all of this has had a definite negative effect. I feel like I need to rediscover who I am as a person and reclaim my self confidence.


It seems so much harder to meet new people when you're older so I'm trying to push myself within my physical capabilities.

Sunny Clouds:
Your post has prompted so many thoughts, I keep posting reams and deleting.

Short version - I'm pleased you're getting started again with socialising and what you've posted has had the side-effect of giving me a sense, as I belatedly in old age try to learn how to socialise (the deleted stuff was the saga of lifelong crappiness at that), that it's possible to keep having another go at it.

I'm going to get in touch with someone I've previously been for a couple of walks with at their invitation and see if they'd like to go for another.

Over time, various Ouchers have posted stuff that suggests they'd like to meet others more.  Maybe this will prompt people sharing ideas.

KizzyKazaer:
You are much braver than I am, DD - it wasn't lockdown that prompted my increased self-isolation so much as my last three major psychotic episodes.  After each one it seemed harder and harder to make the effort to socialise, to the point now that I feel I just cannot be bothered and prefer my own company anyway (exceptions being Dad, who I see and speak to regularly, and the cat I share my home with) 


I've heard of U3A and it sounds good.  Let us know how you progress!

Sunny Clouds:
I realised recently that I coped much better with being alone when I had a cat.  What triggered the thought was coming across something online about how cats can trigger some of the brain chemical responses that we get from love or friendship with other humans.  I've started stroking a local cat more. 

What I desperately miss is something that I've had at certain times of my life, which is a few close telephone friends. 

The other thing I don't miss for want of having previously had it, but now wish so much that I had it, is a network of 'contacts', preferably what I'll call 'local people of influence'.  It can be very protective.  Where I live, that would probably mostly be a sort of middle class person, but thinking back to my childhood and the council estate one set of grandparents lived on, it's not the class that's the issue per se.

Sunny Clouds:
As regards meeting people in groups, I've tried a few but can really struggle where there's background noise and I want to interact verbally.  How much background noise I can cope with depends on how much, how loud and acoustic environment.  Sadly, there have been so many cuts to funding and loss of a range of what I'll call community facilities, that a lot of groups round here meet in pubs etc. and the background music and dim lighting leave me unable to make out what people are saying.

Others here will have other obstacles, obviously. 

I like exercise groups, but I've been bewildered how all the ones I've tried involve people putting their coats, bags etc. on the same seat each time, and when changing, changing by the same seat each time.  No circulating or opportunity to meet different people.  It hadn't used to be that way when I was younger, whether in gyms, sports centres or dojos.  So I've given up all the exercise groups.

But - I've begun to realise that another possible outlet for meeting people is activities in parks.  Someone I know took me to a guided tour of a park where the warden told us about the trees. 

People milled about, happy to chat or not chat with whoever.  Something to explore again.

As I type this, I haven't been to any sort of arts or crafts group since I was a child, but maybe something like that, or a DIY group.

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