More than a little bit lonely…REALLY???

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By Kenneth Justice

~ This past week I was sitting at coffee and an 86 year old dude struck up a conversation with me,

My girlfriend of ten years just broke up with me” he said, “It’s left me wondering what to do with my life, I really loved her, now I’m overcome with sadness at the loss of the connection with her

For 86 years old, the dude was pretty vibrant. He has children and grandchildren in Minneapolis and San Francisco and travels to see them multiple times throughout the years, “I’m thinking about moving near my daughter in San Francisco but the particular city she lives in has an average housing cost of over a million dollars. Even if I rent an apartment near her I’ll be paying more than triple what I pay now, I just feel so lonely” he said

It’s interesting to me that at nearly ninety years old, this man is thinking about family. He’s thinking about his children and grandchildren; he wants to be near them….because he feels lonely.

Loved ones are an important component of life. Not everyone is blessed with loved ones who aren’t a tad bit crazy. As my Uncle Bob used to say, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, and that kinda sucks most of the time”.

We live in a strange culture. The average person spends more time watching television than talking to their friends.

Yesterday one of my close friends called me and was lamenting to me how sad they were about the lack of connectivity in their life, “I simply want more community. But so many people I know simply want to watch television or go to the sports bar to watch sports. What’s wrong with people??

A lot of people long for a slower pace of life. They dream about beautiful beaches, warm weather, and long days in the sun. They move to places like Costa Rica but after six months of living there they get restless and leave. Earlier this year a Costa Rican local told me, “The average person from the United States ends up moving back home because they miss their fast cars, their 200 cable channels, and their subdivisions. They don’t like sitting around all day, drinking coffee, and talking with people” he said

The television has definitely changed the way of life in the Western World. Gone are the days when men and women threw dinner parties five nights a week to talk about politics and current events over fine wine or good beer. Thanks to the television, you don’t need to get together with your neighbors to talk about life, love and the pursuit of happiness, you can simply turn on your television and listen to faceless bodies tell you what they think.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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30 replies

  1. “Thanks to the television, you don’t need to get together with your neighbors to talk about life, love and the pursuit of happiness, you can simply turn on your television and listen to faceless bodies tell you what they think…”

    True that. I wonder at the lack of engagement today. I know I love to sit and listen to people talk, rather than watch what people have to say on tv. But with the growing rate of tech love perhaps we can have both? Watch tv/play video games and have a conversation over the internet with more faceless people who may or may not be lying about their supposed opinions. Just wonderful.

  2. Even I wish to have more connection with my friends.

  3. Or your smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop. And we wonder why people don’t communicate well with one another.

  4. Reblogged this on Musings of Me and commented:
    Truth. The more advanced we get, the less connection we have with others.

  5. I was thinking about something similar just last night. I was feeling overwhelmed and down. I actually feel this way a lot, and while I can talk to my husband about it, I was wondering how many of my friends know that? How do they think I spend my day? If I don’t post what I’m doing or how I’m feeling on Facebook or my blog no one would know anything. But, when I do post my feelings online all I get is empty sympathy. A quick comment or “like” that really has little value sometimes. When we are young and have nothing going on, our friends were the ones who knew everything about us. We had loads of time to spend together talking about everything and nothing all at the same time. But now, as adults, our lives are so busy that we don’t have time to get together anymore. So we cling to social media to feel connected while still feeling empty inside.

  6. When I lived alone, pets (cats) really took the edge off. I really have to gear up for conversation, so chatting with people for hours a day doesn’t sound real good to me.

  7. Loneliness is such a huge problem in our culture. I see it in older people, but also in the very young. Many people feel very isolated and disconnected from others. We try to fill in the gap with social media and television. There are also social skills being lost that concern me, like the ability to have peaceful confrontations or to agree to disagree. Diversity of opinion used to be what gave relationships some flavor, but today there’s a tendency to just draw more lines in the sand and withdraw.

  8. There’s also the issue of trust. I find it difficult to talk to people because you never know when someone will take your words out of context and make them into weapons against you. For me, that is the main barrier to conversation.

  9. Yup, so true. We need to clean off our dining room tables, turn off the TV, and actually invite people over for dinner and learn how to engage in good conversation without cell phones in hand. What a revolution that would cause!

    And…Dude! You really need to write a book called something like, “Musings of my Uncle Bob.” That would be a classic. 🙂

  10. I have wonderful memories of spending a lot of time with my grandmother, and every day friends would come to her house and they would sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee, playing cards, or games, and enjoying each other’s company. Gone are those days.

  11. We do not need to get together to talk about life. But in the end we still need a place to talk about life.
    The only thing missing is the together part as in physically.
    How weird are we, we see life as an object given shape in a virtual world looking like a body. While our own body in real life becomes obsolete.

  12. ironic but true as you are sharing via a blog. The devices of today also enable connections internationally on a daily basis with family and friends where not that long ago people separated by distance felt huge disconnects.

    • As true as it may be, having distant relatives and friends, we were more happy when crossing the distance. I felt less disconnected then as I do these days with all those gadgets.. It is as if the effort to see each other is gone.. Now we argue if we didn’t leave a message for a day.

  13. I loved this post. Everything you wrote speaks to me. I often feel the feelings mentioned. I’ve had a business idea for several years now that is about community and “business people” laugh at me. “How are you going to make money?” they ask. It’s more like I’ve developed a place that I want to hang-out. lol 😉 I’m determined to find a way, however. Anyway, nice post. Thanks for wording everything so nicely.

  14. everywhere I go anyway I never see any people from one town to the next no matter where it is in GREAT BRITAIN not even on a hot day no one sits in gardens anymore why ?

  15. I love this one Kenneth. I myself have decided to stop watching tv most nights. I really want to dab into some painting and exploring my creative side. I want to learn. TV, for me, has become a real “I just want to veg out” type of tool. Not that I’m totally against it. I still like to watch a few programs, and every so often, a good movie. But it really sucks to just put the kids down, turn on the TV, lie on the couch and veg out. I’m moving back close to our home base at the beginning of next year. Looking forward to more community there, for sure. Hey, if you’re in Brazil come and visit us. Our base is great and big and beautiful. Like a resort, so to speak.
    Hope you’re well.
    🙂

    • I’m so busy most of the time, that watching television is merely something I might do with loved ones for a few minutes before I go to bed. And I would LOVE To visit you in Brazil, definitely on my bucket list 🙂

    • Yeah! Come, come please. You would love our base. It’s huge, hilly, lots of space, a little lake, totally different vegetation, mico monkeys can be seen every so often.
      🙂

  16. We live in a world pulling our attention in a million different directions. We want more, but we need less. I would survive loneliness through Costa Rica beach 🙂 😉

  17. To play devil’s advocate, if people really wanted to get together they could. What this might indicate is that people might not like talking to people all that often..haha. Getting together might be better for us but so was hunting and gathering. I guess humans will always gravitate to easy.

    • It’s true. There are so many people I see when I go in my town who I wouldn’t want to spend time with, really. I’m glad that my barriers of privacy allow me to have be separate from them and not depend of them for day to day living (like hunting and gathering together). And I really don’t feel lonely, even when I’m alone. But I am somewhat of an introvert.

  18. When I was in Spain 15 years ago, one of my favorite places to hang out was in the public plazas. After siesta, the shops would reopen and people would come out to the plazas. Especially a lot of older people and the old men would walk arm in arm with each other around the plaza, chatting, and the old ladies, too. It was great to watch.

  19. Ah, but have you seen The Walking Dead?? Ok, just kidding. We noticed the huge difference in our ability to sit still and talk while visiting Europe. NO ONE ELSE ATE AS FAST AND TALKED AS LITTLE AS OUR DEAR FAMILY. Ouch. Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  20. People are more and more reliant on tech (computer/mobile phones etc) and do their socialising online instead of going out and living.
    I’ve pretty much lost touch with a friend because he spends all his time online, and one the few occasions we met up, it was me calling him. I finally got fed up doing all the running, and stopped contacting him.
    A couple of weeks ago I bumped into him after work, and he asked me if I wasn’t speaking to him! Not once in that time had he thought to contact. me.

    I don’t think this is an isolated case. Sadly it’s the norm.

    Get on any public transport in the UK and everyone is checking their twitter feed or FB status on their phones. No-one is talking. While I use twitter and fb, I also go out and have a life and try and interact with real flesh and blood people, and not spend my days in front of a screen.

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