Have you ever felt lonely wishing you had more friends or family to share stories, reminisce about the good old days, and to complain how the world is going to hell in a hand basket?
If we are lucky, we may live a long life, which often means we become one of the last ones standing, outliving most of our friends. (I believe it was George Burns who said one advantage of living to 100 is you don’t have to worry about peer pressure.)
But there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Loneliness is the subjective feeling of isolation, not belonging, or lacking companionship, different from more observable indicators such as living alone or the number of relationships. In other words, loneliness is more the difference between one’s desired relationships and one’s actual relationships. And it is now seen as a predictor of functional decline and death and a more important determent of health than just social isolation.
But it is tough to develop new relationships, new friends who enjoy the same things and have similar experiences to share. (Why can’t anything be easy!) You may be an introvert. Or your loneliness has morphed into depression and you just don’t have the energy. Or you’re just out of practice.
To deal with the feeling of loneliness, seek places where you can connect with others. On the Internet you can reconnect with family and friends through social media such as Facebook. (But be careful of the con artists who aren’t who they say they are.) You can take classes at the Center, enjoy a healthy Meals-on-Wheels dinner at noon, or attend a place of worship. Which brings us to the seventh lesson from the Blue Zone’s Power of 9 - “Belong”.
The inhabitants of the Blue Zones belong to a faith based community - and it doesn’t matter what faith, Christian, Buddhist or Muslim. It was found that being connected to a faith community and attending services four times per month could add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
Stay connected - including the supportive environment of a faith community that speaks to you. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Thanks to the over 100 folks who attended the Center’s Holiday Breakfast. It was a tremendous success due to all the volunteers who made it happen: the kitchen and set up crews, the quilters who made the quilt that was raffled, and Boy Scout Troop #395 who washed dishes, bussed tables, and poured coffee. Thanks to everyone for a fantastic holiday breakfast.
Since Christmas is on a Monday, creating another three-day weekend/holiday, imagine yourself during those dark frosty evenings sitting in your overstuffed chair in front of the crackling fire place, watching on your big screen TV, Hollywood Christmas classics from the good-old-days. You probably have your favorites – my family’s Christmas eve tradition was watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Here are five more films to add to your Christmas viewing, recommended by “Rotten Tomatoes” a popular movie review website: It’s a Wonderful Life, which is on everyone’s list; March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland) starring Laurel and Hardy; Christmas in Connecticut, which I am planning to watch for the first time; Miracle on 34th Street, which won three Oscars, and my current favorite, Holiday Inn.
Which brings me to this week’s “Remember When” question. In the 1942 film Holiday Inn, which introduced Irving Berlin’s Academy Award winning, “White Christmas”, who was the actor that portrayed Ted Hanover, Jim Hardy’s (Bing Crosby) musical partner? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a clip of the fireworks popping Independence Day dance scene from the movie.
And before I forget, the general anesthesia with the unforgettable odor most of us experienced back in the not-so-good-old-days was ether. (I received correct answers from Bernie Sleep, Don McAllister, Ed Anghilante, Jerry Philips and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Louise Wooderson. Louise shared the incredible story of when she was in second grade holding her breath when the ether was administered and waking up in the middle of the operation on her broken arm! Ouch!!)
Well, it’s been another week, thankful for the medical advances over the past fifty years. Until we meet again, keep moving and don’t doubt yourself.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” Anthony Burgess