Is loneliness the only thing to look forward to?

footprints blurred

Photo by The Reluctant Ranter

Is loneliness the only thing to look forward to?

Apparently in a world with less and less space, people are getting lonelier.

So while the population keeps on growing, exploding even to a jaw dropping 7 billion, a lot of us are finding life lonely (according to the Guardian). Granted a huge proportion of them are over 65 with their working life behind them. But as we live longer and get older, the prospect of the TV the only companion makes my bones chatter. And at 65 years and over, that chatter would be more like a troupe of maracas than a soft clunking.

TV for me now, particularly in the apocalypse of winter is background noise; something I clean or cook to. There are programmes that I am fond of, but they are few and far between. Plus the addition of a Sky box means that the recordings pile up with no time or inclination to actually watch them. But in the UK there are a whopping 5 million older people relying on the TV as a friend, as noise, as their other half.

Since there are so many of us on earth, what are we all doing?

I must hold my hand up and admit that I don’t know my neighbours. I nod to them in the hallway with a quick ‘hello’, but for all I know they could be breeding llamas or making LSD through the wall. I have no excuse. Except for the fact that I’m not there most weekends, and when I come home the last thing I want to do is make small talk. But isn’t that the problem?

I wonder if because there are so many of us, we are retracting. The world is a massive Olympics we don’t get medals for. There is competition everywhere; for jobs, partners, land, money, children… So instead of sharing more and enjoying these bigger communities, we are pulling further into our snail shell and drawing the blinds down.

The divisions don’t help. Big gaps in our society that are being wrenched further apart in the way chests are splayed by those devices surgeons use to crack diaphragms open.

For me, the final straw of this unequal world became apparent through a very frivolous incident. In the guise of a celebrity filled magazine. (Now I was never a big fan of them or bought very many so I doubt my silent protest of not buying one for the last three years has made much of a dent). Anyway, the straw was a two page spread of photos featuring celebrities in a pool or frolicking in the sea with large arrows pointed to a lumpy stomach or thigh. I was enraged.

Yes it was an invasion of privacy… but more so why the hell do I care? I don’t care about their bumps or flaps.

I do care however that most of them earn more than the GNP of countries. I do care that the millions they earn for starring in yet another crap movie, releasing another tuneless single or are married to someone who kicks a ball around a field is the norm. {I must add the computer nerds, oil barons and royalty also fall into this category along with many others I have probably failed to mention.}

These mega-rich fracture society. And we let them. They are so rich because we buy into them; their brand, their lifestyle, their ethos. Somehow we value their contribution more than others in the world, and it has created a division that I believe has spurned these groups:

  • You see that Aston Martin outside? I can afford it, but got it free anyway.
  • I don’t care what it costs, just put it on the credit card.
  • Tax is just getting ridiculous.
  • They’re cutting children’s allowance again?
  • Can you spare some change please Mister?
  • The drought, war, famine is killing our country.

Every day these divisions grow. Not only in economic terms, but in emotional terms. We are getting meaner. We are not helping each other. We are ignoring others. We are retracting.

So it seems that loneliness may be inevitable. Because we are living longer due to medical advancements. At least some of us are. For others that is not the case. Not everyone has a doctor nearby or the money to pay for one. Others get illnesses that can’t be cured. Others die tragically in unforeseen circumstances. Others decide they have had enough. Others are killed by one of us.

We are the only ones that can fill the gaps. But are we ready for that? And if not what does it take to make us ready?

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