Life can be lonely.
It wasn’t always so. In fact, as recently as a couple of generations ago people were raising barns and bairns together. The community gathered to work, eat and play. Families lived nearby, and neighbors were often as extended family.
Our culture has taken our “independent spirit” and morphed it into the ultimate state where we no longer “need” to be connected face to face. The morning commute is void of eye contact with others. Work is often very silo-ed, with communication happening over pages and emails. The drive-thru makes for fast food and hot coffee. Groceries can be selected, paid for and placed in a cart that waits for me at the front of the store. Ordering life online is easy, convenient and:
I never have to talk to anyone.
After a long day at work, it is can feel as if all these conveniences work to my benefit. As an introvert, being alone can be restorative. However being lonely, is not.
Being “alone” is being in a place where you are the only person in that space. (Like the two minutes you have when you arrive home – before your family lovingly barges in on your quiet moment.) Being lonely on the other hand, can happen in a crowd, at work on a busy day or in a house full of playful children. Being alone is a location. Being lonely is a state of mind. And it is an epidemic.
On a recent Sunday Morning show, journalist Faith Saile reflected on “open offices” and how the lack of personal space in our work areas forces people into using earbuds and finding vacant conference rooms to isolate and hear themselves think. Forbes recent article, The History and Future of the Workplace Loneliness Epidemic reminds us that 40% of Americans report being lonely. 40%! Harvard Business Review reports loneliness is more harmful to your long term health than 15 cigarettes a day.
Loneliness is not only an epidemic for those in an office. It impacts everyone, no matter your position. It can effect stay-at-home parents, caregivers, and those who work in the community. It changes the way we see ourselves and each other. The loneliness of our time chips away at our resiliency. On the other hand, authentic community can be a place of healing.
Authentic community can also be hard to find. So, in order to make it a bit easier, I would like to invite you to a Community Facebook page called: Resilient Hearts. This community is attached to the Resiliency: The Travels of the Barefoot Soul FB page, (where you can find Resiliency Revitalizers posts and more.) It will be a place to connect with others who are readers of Resiliency Revitalizers to discuss, laugh and share a glass of wine. We will work with each other toward authentic community.
Please stop by, and if you feel drawn, join us. Let’s open the conversation up and talk to one another. Perhaps it will actually lead to meeting each other face-to-face. J
“Community does not always mean living face-to-face with others. It means never losing the awareness that our lives are intertwined…” ~ Parker Palmer
All the best for a marvelous weekend,