I am reading a book about trees.
It is a magical story opening up the possibility that maybe JRR Tolkien wasn’t too far away from the truth when he described the tree Ents in Lord of the Rings.
The book is talking about a world where everything is connected, where trees form communities and friendships. Where they help each other, in times of need because “one tree does not make a forest”, and a forest is exactly what a tree needs to thrive. A world where trees are all connected through their roots; communicating about what is happening around them.
Why am I telling you this you ask?
If you have read previous posts I have written you might have found that I keep going on and on about how individuals matter and how you as “just one person” can make a difference.
I have also touched on the subject of depression and anxiety.
Now the time has come to talk about loneliness.
You see, the way I see it we are just like the trees. To be able to thrive we need each other.
Isn’t it strange that in a world where we are more connected than ever, loneliness is such a big problem. I almost wrote “it is funny that…” but it is actually very far from funny. Did you know for example that according to AGE UKs research 2 out of 5 older people find that their TV is their main company. In a world where most of us live so close to each other that we need blinds to stop people from looking in, I find this so upsetting. One thing that actually took me by surprise was the fact that young people are even more likely to feel loneliness than older people. Research done in 2014 shows that 18 – 24 year olds were 4 times as likely to feel lonely all the time compared to those aged 70 and over.
So what is the solution?
First of all; if you feel lonely the best tip I can give you is volunteering. Find a cause that suits you and just go for it. It is amazing!
The solution to the bigger picture I think is back to what I wrote in the first part here. We need to learn from the trees.
Help without expecting anything back. Next time it might be you that needs a hand.
Reach out and touch the lives around you. To thrive we too need a “forest” – a community.
Smile and say hi to your neighbours.
And remember that you matter. Always.