A group of naked, dressed, and half-dressed old men go for a hike in Merry Olde England.

Nothing of the sort exists anywhere near me, so I have to hike alone.

I don’t do well in groups and I do enjoy my solitude. But… being alone all the time is just lonely.

It is a curse of Asperger’s where anything beyond “hello” is quicksand. It is the curse of being a nudist in an area where a few people think ordinary nakedness is a sexual assault on the viewer. It is a curse of being an older man and being neither useful for much nor eye candy. Many younger people find the visual appearance of age disturbing if not disgusting.

Maybe it reminds them of their own mortality?

With age comes weakness. I find these “curses” more difficult to deal with. I try to believe that I am a good person and that my life and interests are worth sharing. Maybe they aren’t?

This group feels very comfortable. I think I’d fit in. Or at least not feel lonely. I couldn’t care less if other people aren’t nude, just that they don’t care if I am. Just another fashion choice. I couldn’t care less that it is a bunch of guys and no gals. I’m too old and too married to have such a concern. Having such a group of friendly acquaintances within easy driving distance for casual walks would be divine. Ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Tried to set up such a group once on Meetup and it was beyond me.

Looks like a brisk spring day.

Click image to play video.

Found this video on “Hiking Free,” Ken Sunwalker’s blog.

4 Comments

  1. Martha Kennedy

    The question of solitude is difficult. I have almost always hiked alone and I am fully dressed and not on the Asperger’s spectrum. One day (in CA) I was wondering where everyone was. I had 6000+ acres all to myself and dogs. It was almost always like that. Occasionally I saw other people. Rarely I had a friend along. Very often the friend proved not to be someone to hike with, though OK for other activities.

    That Saturday, when I finished my hike and headed down I-15 (the freeway was packed for a Saturday) toward home, I saw hundreds — maybe thousands — of cars parked around an electronics store and shopping mall. That’s where everyone was. I realized that I just did not share whatever these “common values” were. It’s still usually just me and the dogs out there. It doesn’t matter. What matters is being out there, being happy with it, being who I am (you are).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fred (Au Natural)

      There’s a famous quote by Schopenhauer – “A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”

      I find that to be true of myself. In some limited respects, I value freedom more than I do life.

      It is in my nature to be alone. I have limited tolerance for a lot of social conventions. It’s not for lack of trying. It isn’t something I can just learn, else I would have learned it long ago. COVID and “lockdown” changed nothing for me. My life continued much as it always has.

      I suppose this could be a benefit. In times past I might have been an explorer or a mountain man. Many people freak out at being alone for a significant period of time but that is when I get energized.

      Despite this, over time the lack of variety begins to wear on me. When time I plunge into the social maelstrom it can be a pleasant change but at the same time a reminder that I don’t actually belong there. (Acting lessons once a week was about my limit.) Being in company frequently degenerates into stress management. My wife does not hike because of her knees – a fate that may be in store for me in another decade. To have one or two close friends to share some of those hikes with would be nice.

      Alas! I do not make close friends frequently and it takes a long time to develop when I do. My supply of close friends has either died, become to debilitated, or simply lost interest in the out of doors.

      I guess that’s what dogs are for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Martha Kennedy

        I think an important element of freedom is the ability to enjoy what you love whether you have company or not.

        No one makes close friends frequently. Maybe more extroverted types who gravitate toward social things, but I don’t know. I’m not one. I get very tired when I socialize and this past month has been great, but tiring.

        Some people feel sorry for me that I will spend the holidays alone, but it’s really OK with me. It’s impossible for me to spend it with the people I want to (they’re dead) so however it turns out has to be OK with me and it is. That attitude has led to some Christmases that were more wonderful than I could have organized myself. I think solitude requires a kind of receptivity and acceptance of what is, just as it is.

        My mom spent the last 20 years of her life complaining of loneliness and doing nothing about it. She got a bigger payoff from being a victim of fate than she (thought) she could get by just getting out there and taking people as they come and offering whatever she had, however limited that might have been. That was a big lesson for me.

        None of the people in my life now are soul mates or deep, close friends but I value them and they don’t have to be anything other than the friends they are. We enjoy the time we spend together and appreciate each other’s gifts even if we don’t share them.

        It’s a valuable exchange and one I learned from my friend’s retarded son. He KNOWS he’s different, and he senses he makes new people uncomfortable. He is very forthcoming when he meets people in offering a compliment like, “I like your earrings” and smiling a big smile. I observed him and how the simple things he does to put others at ease. Everything he does says to other people, “Don’t worry about me. I’m a nice person and I’m interested in you.” People melt.

        I moved here, didn’t know anyone, applied the strategy. It worked. ❤ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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