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Loneliness and Empty Calendars

Busyness can drain our batteries

The calendar is full. Full of important activities, meetings with new people, friendships in need of quality time, working out, actual work, studies, parties, events on global warming, and social gatherings. The list can go on and on. Busyness can drain our batteries, or gives us the ability to, with a hint of pride in our voice, say that our calendar is overbooked with important things. So sorry, I am completely booked for the next two years.

Exhaustion or Social Capital

There is a lot of talk in our society about busyness and over working ourselves. I hear about it often. I talk about it frequently myself. It is usually about how tired we are, but oh, just look at how much we have to do! The time is little and the activities are many. And how we are not one of those people who feels exhausted by being engaged in so many activities, but rather we thrive off of the wonderful social capital which is gained: the exciting updates we post on Facebook and the perfectly filtered Instagram pictures which document eventful lives lived in Lo-fi quality. Everyone gets a peek into the lives of their neighbors. In the end, we become objects offered up for each other’s comparison. This causes more harm than good.

What about those of us who do not fit the normal, busy mould? What about the every days which can be difficult for some people to fill? Is this a taboo that we are not speaking about?

One out of Five

It is difficult to know how many feel lonely, but some research claim that more than one out of five people say they experience feeling lonely. Where does such a high number come from, if not from the far too many people who feel lonely. More than one in five far too many. Their calendars are not full of activities and people to meet. They have heaps of time on their hands. Maybe a little too much time. Many people feel that there’s no way in this good, green earth that the picture painted by current culture of busyness and a full calendar can depict them. I think that loneliness is a taboo word which we do not dare to bring up. It is a taboo because everyone else is too busy.

Priorities

A ninety-seven year old woman who I know once shared with me how she did not understand how her children and grandchildren could bring themselves to say that they did not have time to visit her. They, the young ones, did not have time. She said this with tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. The press of loneliness was visible on her frail body. “We have enough time” said this wise, elderly woman to me. “We just need to prioritize it.”

 

Written by Åsne Gotehus Køhn, Translated by Emily Huyck.

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