Reach Out To The Lonely

While wasting time on social media doing some research, I stumbled across an article about the relationship between loneliness and longevity. The title of the article was Study Shows the More You Hang Out With Your Mom, the Longer She’ll Live.  Since I really like my Mom and would like her to be around until she’s about a hundred years old and I want to hang out with my kids and grandkids as much as possible for as long as possible, I had to find out what the article was all about.

Turns out that people who are lonely have higher mortality rates than those who have regular interactions with friends and family. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since companionship and community are crucial for everyone, regardless of age. What is curious, however, is that someone actually has to do a study to figure out that we should spend more time with friends and family, especially those that are single, widowed, divorced or otherwise alone.

Like everyone else, I have good intentions, but less than stellar follow through. Plans to visit loved ones – or even to call or send a text or email go by the wayside when life gets busy and when I don’t get to it I tell myself I will do it tomorrow or next week or soon.  But sometimes soon doesn’t ever come and sometimes there aren’t more tomorrows. 

It’s hard to make time for all my family members and friends, even though I’m closer geographically to some of them than I have been in years.  We’re all busy, busy busy, things to do, places to go and while we say that our relationships are the most important things, our calendars and bank statements tell us what our real priorities are.  With our free time we watch TV, surf the internet, catch up on social media, run errands, go shopping, and for most people, at least eight to ten or more hours a day are devoted to a job with it’s corresponding commute. 

You would think that knowing this, recognizing that there’s a disparity between what I say is important and what I actually do, that I would change my behavior.  Despite adding a few lines to my annual goals like call or email this person this often or send a handwritten note to that person, or visit this person, or meet these folks for lunch, it has rarely happened with any consistency. 

There doesn’t seem to be an easy fix here, at least I haven’t figured out one.  If you’ve got this nailed, please leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook.  In the meantime, call up someone who lives alone and hang out for a while.  You just might save their life.