Loneliness and Why it’s Good to Get Together
Loneliness. It’s becoming so chronic that in January 2018, the Prime minister appointed a Minister for Loneliness to tackle the issue. Here we look at how loneliness affects people at different stages of life, and what we can do about it.
The Roaring 20’s
You’re young, with the world at your feet. What’s to complain about? Well, being young doesn’t make you immune to loneliness. Contrary to what popular culture would have us believe, being in your 20’s isn’t all sitting around in coffee shops with amazing friends and disposable incomes.
Your 20’s can be a lonely place. It’s the decade of leaving all of your comfort zones – home, education and familiar friendships. You may have moved to a new city, have a new job and a new home, away from housemates and home-cooked food. And you can’t talk about it because it’s not ‘cool’ to be lonely. Even if you do, the response is usually that youth is wasted on the young – helpful.
The Flirty 30’s
The decade of immensely irritating statements from smug married people and family members: ‘You’ll be next!’ ‘tick-tock, tick-tock!’ or our personal favourite, ‘you’re too picky’, thanks auntie Maureen, noted.
The reality is that so many people want to be settled with a partner, but for some reason it’s just not happening. To make matters worse, your 30’s are prime marriage season. One friend attended 24 weddings in under 2 years, before putting an embargo on anymore out of sheer frustration and near financial ruin.
The Jo Cox Commission found that this is the time that men in particular are most vulnerable to loneliness. And when you’re lonely, you’re less motivated. You stay home and read about everybody’s perfect lives on social media and so the loneliness cycle continues.
40. The new 30…?
The ‘decade of panic’. If you’re not married with 2.4 kids and an extortionate mortgage, you feel completely inadequate next to those who seem to have it all figured out.
Everyone’s having dinner parties. Your friends can’t come out anymore and everybody’s always at Centre Parcs. You on the other hand spend far too much on Marks and Spark’s ready meals and fall into a cycle of work, eat, sleep repeat.
The Over 50’s
When we talked to people in their 50’s, there was a surprising amount of excitement about it nearly being time for a free bus pass. Joking aside, when looking at loneliness in those over 60, there were some shocking statistics. For example, a recent study has found that three quarters of people over 60 feel lonely and don’t feel able to discuss it.
These decades can be lonely ones. You may face the loss of people close to you; divorce, ageing parents, and children who fly the nest. Your confidence can take a real nose-dive and the thought of ‘starting over’ can feel very, very daunting.
If you think about it, loneliness is life’s way of telling you that you need more social contact. At Finding Mr Darcy, we’re bringing people together in the best and most enjoyable way. We’ve got some fantastic events coming up, whether you’re 28 or 65. For example, our monthly InTheMix informal meet up, or our Thai Cookery Master Class.
We understand that putting yourself out there can be difficult, but you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. As John Donne wrote in 1624, no man (nor woman for that matter) is an island.