Doesn’t this old decorated shoe box… transformed into a Valentines box bring back memories…especially for you Baby Boomers? It looks almost exactly like the Valentines box I found in the attic when we were cleaning it out to move from Fayetteville to Laurens.
I had made it in the fifth grade. That was the year I had my special teacher, Mrs. Williams, who took a shy introverted child and turned her into an out-going gregarious one. She had a stroke prior to the school year and as a result had a withered left hand. Since mother had lost one arm to cancer…she decided to make me her special project that year and as such I got to hand out the valentine supplies and shoe boxes to all my classmates…and then stay after school to deposit all the cards into each student’s box.
Those students, who were better in art, helped the students who were struggling and or eating more glue than pasting…So by valentines day everyone’s boxes were ready for deposit. The valentines day party and boxes was one of the highlights of children growing up the fifties and early sixties.
It was only after we left that safe secure cocoon of elementary school where everyone had everything given to them they needed to share equally in the valentines day celebration that valentines suddenly became more stressful, tearful, and lonely for many students, young people, middle-aged and older. It became more of a chore than something one wanted to do.
“Yesterday, on CBS Sunday Morning, the topic of loneliness arose and for the majority of Americans ….this condition is most prevalent around valentines. “
Anyone who feels lonely is far from alone. According to a recent study, over half of Americans now say they sometimes or always feel alone, and one in five says they rarely or never feel close to anyone. The new Cigna study reveals loneliness is at epidemic levels in America.
So, to be lonely, do you have to be alone?
“No,” former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “Because it’s about the quality of your connections with people. It’s not just how many friends you have. It’s about, do those friends know you authentically?” It doesn’t matter who you are, or even how old you are. “The assumption that many people often have is that it’s older people who are lonely, but it turns out youth and young adults may have the highest rates of loneliness.”
The amount of loneliness (the program went on to explain) that one feels is in direct proportion to the amount of time spent on social media. (Especially among millennials, the ever-present phone may in part be why. Among the people who use social media the most, the higher the odds are of feeling lonely.)
One has to have an opportunity to build a long lasting friendship to dispel loneliness…someone you can call at a moment’s notice and talk to and feel connected to ..whether it is a spouse, sweetheart or simply a long-time friend.
Architecture is also making the workplaces lonelier than ever before…cubicles or even ‘think rooms’ don’t work unless there is already a true relationship of respect or caring built among its workers.
Psychotherapist Traci Ruble came up with an idea called “Sidewalk Talks” in San Francisco where people can pause in their daily lives and talk to someone ( chair to chair on the sidewalks) they just met. It’ s easier talking to a stranger many times than a relative, especially when you are trying to explain why you are feeling lonely.
Ruble went on and further explained:
“A few months ago, I had a young guy sit down – he was just fresh out of college – and he said to me, ‘I didn’t realize that work was gonna be like this, that I would sit in a cubicle all day looking at a screen talking to no one.’ And he didn’t say anything else. He just sat and cried for about 10 minutes. And then he said, ‘Huh, great, I feel so much better, thank you.’ And then he left.”
Strong relationships are the glue to a fulfilling life…if we feel left out or alone…it doesn’t matter if we live alone…most people admit to be lonelier around others than when alone by themselves. Personally I seek solitude every single day. I need my “pause” time to reflect on the day and assimilate all my thoughts and feelings.
So until tomorrow…the next time you feel lonely…”Don’t eat your heart out” ….go visit a neighbor or friend or simply call that someone from the past or present who you can pick up a relationship with… as if no time has passed at all. Always remember….If you are feeling lonely sometimes…you are not alone.” We are all connected under the sun.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
I gave the Ya’s these magnets the last time we were off together…because it is true…if anyone is lonely or feeling down…24/7 we know we have a friend.
The Columbia ‘Ya’s’ got treated to a James Taylor concert last Friday with Betsy and Colin (Libby’s daughter and son-in-law.)* No matter what has been going on James Taylor can heal every illness known to man or woman. Looking great girls!