**Edited and revised 2/15/2021.
For all of 2018 and part of 2019, I had spent most of my time taking care of my mom. I didn’t really focus on creating a life full of friends, family and fun when I moved back home to California. Instead, I focused on the job I had to do and I was going to do it to the best of my ability.
Between family, work, and caretaking, I didn’t really have enough time to recognize that I may be missing my friends, may be missing out on fun activities, and well, I may be missing out on reconnecting with my identity by doing the things that I love.
A lot of the time, red alerts were sounding off, and while I had the love and support of my family, I still felt alone and I wasn’t even aware of it. It was hidden behind caretaking and lists. It was underneath the cleaning and the doctor’s appointments.
Now that I have had some space to look back and reflect on my experience, I find that I felt lonely – a lot of the time. I felt loss. I rarely connected with my mom around fun activities, and while I did have social contact, I didn’t want to share the emotional burden I was carrying with friends and family. I didn’t want to bring them down or impact them in a negative way.
That desire often left me feeling stressed out, alone, and mourning, wrapped inside a “Can Do” personality that kept striving to get the job done.
Mistakenly, I believed that loneliness was only caused by a lack of social connection. I didn’t realize that there was so much more to loneliness and the havoc it wreaks on individuals, families and communities.
For the next month, I’ll be taking a deep dive into this concept with the book, loneliness – Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T Cacioppo and William Patrick.
Published in 2008 , the authors of this well-researched and insightful book, posit that loneliness is a bigger problem than previously thought. We learn that loneliness can cause us to feel miserable, but more than that, it can make us sick, lose productivity, and fail at the simplest of tasks.
So stick around for the next few weeks, as I share with you their advice and insight as well as my takeaways. You and I will learn what we can do to help ourselves and our children manage our feelings of loneliness better.
If we can help each other to feel less lonely, we not only get the benefit of creating deeper connections, we make the world a better place. Do it for yourself, do it for your children, and you’ll be happy you did!
Thanks for reading!
With love and respect,