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DeanWatson

Lonely astronomers at Christmas...

15 posts in this topic

Okay. now heres a thought.  Of course at this time of year theres a lot in the media about older people being a bit lonely and isolated at Christmas and, for example, things like the ITV one million minute thing.  Now, I always tend to think a good place to start with anything is your own experience so here we go.  I'm 49 and do have a lovely family although my partner spends most of her time with our five year old acting as carer for her mother.  I'm mostly fine with it (I have all the advantages of a relationship with the joys of a bachelor lifestyle the rest of the time! But of course how much worse it could be for some without even that - and I still have no shame in admitting I get a bit lonely sometimes, even if im mostly ok with it).

 

Bear with me - this isn't about me (well, maybe a bit...), I am going somewhere!  It occurs to me that other than societies, forums and such, given our natures as astronomers (and please don't think Im being judgemental, albeit admittedly painting with a rather broad brush - I mean, I'm a quite chatty albeit private type and quite comfortable with myself) we tend as a group to be of a relatively geeky and maybe shy/socially awkward demographic (yes, as I say, it does take all types and im using a broad brush).  It strikes me (and please shoot me down if im wrong) that there are probably quite a lot of lonely astronomer types out there who would enjoy chatting in much the same way as the stuff Age Concern or these other groups set up with regular calls maybe once or twice a week (other than by the rather restrictive medium of a forum) just to make a new like minded friend and hear another friendly voice.

 

I thought i'd throw this out there as its something Id been thinking about this morning (and im looking to sign up on the Age Concern thing to volunteer anyway) but it seems to me that given our nature as astronomers (and not least of which many tend to be older and perhaps more in need - although age need not be the only factor)  this might be something for us to think about and maybe others with more idea than myself about how to put together something like this than myself might have something to contribute.

 

So other than of course any further part I play in the conversation, over to you, my peers...

Astronigel, BAZ and Tweedledee like this

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Nice post :)

Im happy to be painted with that broard brush your using there :)

 

 

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Seems reasonable as a general overview - hence astro clubs/societies which meet for real(not virtual - oh the art of talking face to face long may it reign) chats and sharing astro (not always!!) talks.  

 

A lot of the people who actually run the societies (not just Astro) do put in a lot of effort (thanks you lot) and try to make everyone welcome and part of the "show" :2thumbsup:.

 

Perhaps if you could arrange for clear nights 3 or 4 nights a week,mostly week ends it would help the social "togetherness" :D

Daz Type-R and BAZ like this

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It was quite heart warming when I saw that Age Concern thing this morning on tv and the old boy finally got to meet his caller after 11 months. So if the Samaritans are engaged I'll be phoning Age Concern to see if they'll send a fit blond 22yr old lass round to see me at Xmas lol. :lol:

Edited by Brantuk
Smithysteve and tuckstar like this

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What would you say to her when she had controlled her laughter? :D

Brantuk and tuckstar like this

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Think I'd like one, but can't remember what to do with it!

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I'm quite geeky but introvert/extrovert borderline. I don't meet with my local society any more as I need to be up too early in the morning for work the next day. I'm too old for sleepless nights or even sleepless quarter nights. I have been lonely at various times in my life. I don't have loads of close friends and my birth family live away and my in-laws much further. I'm lucky that my nuclear family is very good, including the dogs.

 

As a species and especially as a nation, we are gradually becoming less social. There is less sense of community, as people often migrate far from their birthplaces. Modern life seems much more consuming than it did when I was a young adult. As was probably always the case, life is hard for the widowed and those who divorce late in life.

 

I'm not too sure all astronomers are geeky. Most I've met seem to be pretty much a cross-section of society in general. Some of us even have other hobbies, although I don't any more. However, there is nothing wrong with having an online meet and the idea might also work with people from other special interests, such as amateur Egyptologists. Maybe that is an idea for Age Concern.

 

I'm 61 by the way!

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Very interesting and noble idea Dean. :thumbsup:

 

Although not tailored to lonely astronomers, I thought the following would be worth mentioning here for people who may not be aware of it.

 

There is another group that helps older people make new friends, new interests and helps keep loneliness at bay, the U3A. The University of the Third Age, has branches in every town and encourages continued learning, physical activities and social well being for people over 50 in part time work or retirement. They run various different interest groups and organise talks, discussions, events and outings. Membership is just £17 per year, but places are limited and availability seems to depend on the size of the venue for people to meet up or existing members passing out and vacating a place by whatever method. I waited nearly a year for a place to come available, and have just paid my £17 and am awaiting an introductory meeting. I'm not even sure if I can find time for the U3A, as I never get bored and always seem to have way too much on the go, but I can see the benefits of this group and wonder if I might broaden my horizons and friendship group. I consider myself a bit of a part time driving instructor now, and don't need or want to spend loads of hours working anymore, but certainly still need a little pocket money to persue my interests. Learning new stuff and maintaining good mental and physical health is more important to me now at the tender age of 57. I'm particularly interested in the U3A's Sci-Tec group. Sci-Tec have a meeting schedule for next year which includes interesting talks like, Gravity, Fracking, The Vulcan Aircraft, Analysing Nuclear Power Station Disasters, History of Electronics and Catching the Burglar by Chemicals for example. My local U3A offers at least 37 widely varying interest/activity groups, several of which I fancy trying. Will probably give the "Chat and Stitch" a miss though. :lol:

Edited by Tweedledee
BAZ likes this

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6 hours ago, Tweedledee said:

Very interesting and noble idea Dean. :thumbsup:

 

Although not tailored to lonely astronomers, I thought the following would be worth mentioning here for people who may not be aware of it.

 

There is another group that helps older people make new friends, new interests and helps keep loneliness at bay, the U3A. The University of the Third Age, has branches in every town and encourages continued learning, physical activities and social well being for people over 50 in part time work or retirement. They run various different interest groups and organise talks, discussions, events and outings. Membership is just £17 per year, but places are limited and availability seems to depend on the size of the venue for people to meet up or existing members passing out and vacating a place by whatever method. I waited nearly a year for a place to come available, and have just paid my £17 and am awaiting an introductory meeting. I'm not even sure if I can find time for the U3A, as I never get bored and always seem to have way too much on the go, but I can see the benefits of this group and wonder if I might broaden my horizons and friendship group. I consider myself a bit of a part time driving instructor now, and don't need or want to spend loads of hours working anymore, but certainly still need a little pocket money to persue my interests. Learning new stuff and maintaining good mental and physical health is more important to me now at the tender age of 57. I'm particularly interested in the U3A's Sci-Tec group. Sci-Tec have a meeting schedule for next year which includes interesting talks like, Gravity, Fracking, The Vulcan Aircraft, Analysing Nuclear Power Station Disasters, History of Electronics and Catching the Burglar by Chemicals for example. My local U3A offers at least 37 widely varying interest/activity groups, several of which I fancy trying. Will probably give the "Chat and Stitch" a miss though. :lol:

I'm one of the increasing number of over 60s who are in full-time employment. It can be somewhat frustrating if the only clear patch of sky is from 2 to 3 AM and I need to go to work the next day. However, whilst I like the idea of making a full-time living from writing, the reality is that I won't. The average full-time writer in the UK makes 11 grand a year and that won't get anywhere near my outgoings. And who is to know that I'm even average? I think U3A sounds a great idea though. Perhaps some of us who are retired or part-time could even teach classes. It could be an option for me one day, as I have been an instructor for much of my working life. It's a sad fact that many men, in particular, don't take to retirement very well, especially when there's no money left to replace the laptop, etc.

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I am 74 and OK but there is small group of local astronomers who when they are lonely phone on skype  and we all talk about life to gether

catman161 and Tweedledee like this

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2 hours ago, Sunny Phil said:

I'm one of the increasing number of over 60s who are in full-time employment. It can be somewhat frustrating if the only clear patch of sky is from 2 to 3 AM and I need to go to work the next day. However, whilst I like the idea of making a full-time living from writing, the reality is that I won't. The average full-time writer in the UK makes 11 grand a year and that won't get anywhere near my outgoings. And who is to know that I'm even average? I think U3A sounds a great idea though. Perhaps some of us who are retired or part-time could even teach classes. It could be an option for me one day, as I have been an instructor for much of my working life. It's a sad fact that many men, in particular, don't take to retirement very well, especially when there's no money left to replace the laptop, etc.

I see from your Amazon page that you have 4 astro books in print Phil. :thumbsup:  

 

The U3A brings in outside speakers but also encourages its members to give talks, instigate discussions and even start new groups if sufficient interest is shown.

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On ‎07‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 09:43, Tweedledee said:

I see from your Amazon page that you have 4 astro books in print Phil. :thumbsup:  

 

The U3A brings in outside speakers but also encourages its members to give talks, instigate discussions and even start new groups if sufficient interest is shown.

Thanks, Pete. My royalties are quite low now, so if any of you have anybody that you don't like but you have to buy a present for, you know what to do.

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58 minutes ago, Sunny Phil said:

Thanks, Pete. My royalties are quite low now, so if any of you have anybody that you don't like but you have to buy a present for, you know what to do.

I keep looking for a cheaper copy of your Messier book, and your Science and Art of Using Telescopes, but they are rather expensive even secondhand.

 

My wife has written several books. Not best sellers, but some are required reading on certain university degree courses. The first few royalty cheques were rather nice, but soon dwindled to a couple of hundred pounds a year.

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21 hours ago, Tweedledee said:

I keep looking for a cheaper copy of your Messier book, and your Science and Art of Using Telescopes, but they are rather expensive even secondhand.

 

My wife has written several books. Not best sellers, but some are required reading on certain university degree courses. The first few royalty cheques were rather nice, but soon dwindled to a couple of hundred pounds a year.

Very few people make a full-time living from writing. What does your wife write about?

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3 hours ago, Sunny Phil said:

Very few people make a full-time living from writing. What does your wife write about?

Decision-Making in Midwifery Practice, Problem pregnancies, and she has updated a medical dictionary. She doesn't earn a living from writing, and it has been several years since she has done any.

 

I haven't read any of her books. :facepalm: :ph34r:

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