Thursday, November 29, 2018


For the past few years here, I have been the Family Hermit. 92% of my life involves one or more of my roommates.  Sometimes it's just the dog, but I have made this place a very comfortable Awkward Widow's nest.  

Since I quit the crazy one person HOA Board of Directors (I'm just not a very good puppet), I have moved myself to the background of condo living.  I'm friendly when I meet neighbors, and I'm neighborly when required.  A new(er) friend of mine, who has been clean and sober for 3 years, asked why I didn't accept invitations from friends and family.  I think I have a touch of social anxiety.  

Many of us know the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation.  Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.  For me it is large groups where I know only one or two people ... and they have others to chat with.  My friend and I had a conversation about it and he gave me some good advice. He also struggled with it and learned if I continued to hide behind the uncomfortableness, many aspects of my life, not just the social, could start to fall apart. Kate also suggested that I was setting a bad example for the boys and soon they might want to stay home instead of being with their cousins and extended family.

The grandkids were SHOCKED when I told them I was coming to Thanksgiving this year.  (Part of my hesitancy is that Jesse's side of the family are hard drinkers and they used to pressure Kate and Jesse ... oh, just one won't hurt.  They are also "seat of the pants" when planning.  No one really knows who is doing what or where or what time.  In fact, we were an HOUR late as his Mom gave us the wrong time!)

I asked about the Christmas gathering and heard it direct from Jesse's Mom who is hosting (her).  Someone else told me about the $10 gift exchange.  Another cousin said bring an appetizer or dessert.

A former neighbor called to invite me to their church musical on December 1.  I explained I don't drive in the dark (and rain) any more so they are picking me up!  Me?  In a church?  Beware of lightning and thunder!!

Last but not least, I am hosting a dessert buffet Saturday, Dec 15 when the Christmas Ships drive past our complex on the Willamette River.  This tradition started in 1954 when a few boater friends lit up their boats and took friends for rides!  Now there are two fleets, one on the Columbia River and one on the Willamette.  Once or twice they join forces and on the 15th it is the big combo!  I have 26 people confirmed!


  1. Wow, 26 people coming to your party! Nothing like jumping in with both feet. But I remember when you were living on the island and it seemed like you were very social there. I remember the parties and drives and volunteering you wrote about. And being on the condo board in the past...I never would have dreamed you think of yourself as having 'social anxiety.'

    Party planning will be fun! And you have a wonderful chef in the family to help. You've got this made.

    1. Maybe I just phrase it wrong ... maybe when I have a "task" it is easier for me to be less anxious because I have a focus. It's harder for me to merely be a visitor or participant.

      Mostly it's avoiding his family but I think Kate is right, you don't get to PICK your family. I just left my hearing aids at home and talked to the person next to me. I moved around the room a few times.

      Stay tuned!

  2. What bothers me is the noise. No--my family is not loud, nor do they get drunk, but there are so many of them and in their homes, with the wood floors and high ceilings, I can barely hear the person next to me with all the background noise. I'm good for about 4 hours, then I have to escape and get back to my quiet, empty house.

    1. and considering I wear hearing aids, (which I often take out in big crowds) the constant motion and commotion wear me out also! I agree with 3-4 hours being plenty.

      Every afternoon I take a moment for meditation ... stretch out on my bed and either think of nothing or listen to Oregon rain forest for 20-30 minutes. Then I am revitalized for a couple of hours. Noise can be exhausting!