I felt lonely on a recent rainy Saturday. I told my husband I was feeling lonely and just needed to â€śdo something.â€ť
Terry said, â€śYou have so many friends; why are you feeling lonely?â€ť
â€śI know a lot of people,â€ť I told him. â€śThere is a difference.â€ť
That was just last month when I looked up from my work computer and decided to be more social â€“ again. Our beloved friend, the late John Thompson, loved to refer to me as Perle Mesta. That was long ago, I remembered.
Too long ago, I realize. I donâ€™t want regular big parties or even
multiple small dinner parties now. But I want some. Streamlined. Life
has stages and â€śa time for everything under the sun...â€ť My problem is
that I went from one extreme to the other.
Yes, I still attend many events and often appear in gathering photos and I enjoy those occasions. But it is not the same as sitting around the dinner table talking at the end of an evening with friends.
I grew up with clans on either side. My dad was one of 14 children, my mum, 7. There were always things to do and people to do them with â€“ close people, forever people.
Then, at 17, I moved from my picturesque New England town to Washington, D.C. George Washington University was the happiest time for me, making new friends from all over the world who came to this great university. It was more than a hub of learning, it was a center of diversity. I loved every minute.
I was not lonely. More than knowing a lot of people, I had many friends. And Iâ€™ve kept many. I just have to dial the phone or send a text. Rarely Facebook. I thrive on personal contact.
This last month marked the beginning of reconnecting for me. Iâ€™ve called my best friend from high school and one of my college roommates. They are two of the people I can connect to instantly whether the gap was two years or two months.
I am a world class procrastinator so it takes effort to plan ahead. I have begun. This monthâ€™s calendar has five wonderful events scheduled. I am the recipient of four, the initiator of one. Lucky for me!
I am sharing this because I believe
we are all more alike than different.
Since I have the opportunities available to me
to be social and fulfilled
if I just make the effort,
I am very fortunate.
My hope is most, if not all,
can do this for ourselves.
But there are some who need us to reach out to them.
I am sharing this because I believe we are all more alike than different. Since I have the opportunities available to me to be social and fulfilled if I just make the effort, I am very fortunate. My hope is most, if not all, can do this for ourselves. But there are some who need us to reach out to them. We need to be aware of them and reach out to them, if only with a kind word. No one wants to be lonely.
Some of us, like me, are gregarious, increasing our possibilities to receive invitations or just communications. We need to look around and take note of those we love who may be seriously lonely. Even dangerously lonely.
If I felt lonely, even just now and then, with everyone and everything available in my life to offer happiness, then there are many others who feel lonely, who are not as fortunate.
We need to not only look out for our own social connections but keep an eye out for people we care about who may have let loneliness turn into despair. We all know someone who gave up and opted out. Bring them back inâ€”youâ€™ll feel good and theyâ€™ll feel better.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.