FYI “For Your Interest”

Recently, I had cause to check my bank statement and thought about that word ‘interest’. Having an interest in something or someone else is always pleasant as long as we are not just being nosy! To have an interest in a range of activities is a positive way to maintain a good balance in our lives. The lack of interest, bank or of any kind, is a sad state of affairs.

We often use the term healthy interest, meaning both a good earning capacity and an inquisitive desire to learn more about a topic or a person.

In that personal sense, having a strong interest also seems to make a big difference to how we feel. I recently visited a friend living in a care home. My friend’s interests seemed to revolve around the quality of the meals to the exclusion of almost everything else. It took me quite a while to steer the conversation around to other topics that I knew had been so important in his earlier life. Once we started to talk about his love of singing and reading, it opened up a happy time of reminiscing and re-creating lots of happy earlier times.

I’ve noticed before how other older folk who’ve had strong interests in younger days usually enjoy talking about them; finding a sympathetic listener is usually the problem. Of course, it’s the same with me, and others like me who live alone: we all need to interact with someone, anyone, at some times. Sharing our thoughts and loves is always easy with a partner. But without a confidante, we can become morose and boring and sometimes it’s difficult to break out from that inward-looking perspective. Getting the balance right – loneliness or boring someone – isn’t always easy.

Usually, I take the easy way out, just remain isolated, then ‘stew in my own juice’. But luckily, I am also pretty inquisitive. I’m stimulated to learn how my friends are coping, so off I go and do some visiting. My own state of mind improves as I exchange greetings and we share something of our current (and maybe, past) lives. Regardless of our relevant disabilities, the mental stimulus of our being together is usually enough to activate some lively discussion and break the tedium of our separate lives!

Recently I visited another old mate in a nursing home to discover him playing bingo with a group and I was invited to join them. As we played, I was soon reacting with the other players I didn’t even know! Sharing that activity actually enlivened him, me, and all the others around us in unexpected ways.

Nothing works better at lifting my spirits than an encounter with another human being! Failing that, reading a book is useful, so is walking, or cooking or making something. But talking with another person about their exploits, their interests, and their families, is always of interest and a stimulant to me.

So, don’t fret about bank interest, just take some interest in someone else. I find it pays dividends all round!