My son has been really sick lately. We've been in and out of the hospital all month long (since February... is it still February?). He's getting quite sick of it. So am I. I decided to take him out for ice cream yesterday, it's actually very handy that one of the coffee shops on main street here serves ice cream as well as coffee. I let him sneak in some m&m's to put on top and debated dropping a few into my coffee and seeing how that worked out. This was all after a very traumatizing morning to get blood work done, which he actually handled quite well, but he would tell you that it was a really bad day. While we sat in the waiting room, waiting for our turn to traumatize my little guy, I listened to a very chatty older couple, who were not there together, that was made clear by the chatty older woman trying to continue a lengthy conversation about why the older gentleman should come to the lab on Wednesday's, because that's when Jennifer is there and Jennifer is the very best.
We got Jennifer too. I agree, she's the best.
What I overheard while eavesdropping in that very small room, was the two of them commiserating over the fact that the city we were all sitting in wasn't what they remembered while growing up in the 60's and 70's. When the main road was typically empty, and houses were spread far apart. When you knew everyone in your city, and you never had to stress about traffic. It dawned on me in that moment that I didn't grow up knowing that. My kids definitely don't know that, even if I got a glimpse at a small town life where, unfortunately, everyone knew me even if I didn't know them.
The world has changed and become busy. So many people, so many cars, so much traffic, so much... so... much... everything.
In addition to the so many people crowding our schools, office spaces, and traffic lanes, there is so much depression, anxiety, suicide, and addiction. There is so much isolation.
How did it come to be that with more people, and houses pushed closer together, we've become less connected? And I can't even blame this on social media, because I felt it in the 90's when social media didn't exist. I was as alone then as I am now. My family was isolated. We crumbled.
My husband has talked to me about articles he's read about the over abundance of choice. When a person has too many choices, they are often unable to make one. Give a person a choice between two to three things, okay, that seems reasonable. We can make that choice and even feel great about it. Give us a choice out of a hundred things, and suddenly all the choices feel wrong and we second guess the choice we end up making, because: could we have made a better choice?
Is this what's happening with people? It's definitely happening online with the myriad of news, organizations reaching out for donations, or groups to be part of. Books to read.
Shows to binge. Snacks to eat.
Careers to have. Hobbies... etc.
So how does this all play a role in the way we support one another? Are there simply too many people in our lives struggling that we simply can't pick a person, or a couple of people, to lend a listening ear?
Things I'm thinking very deeply about right now. What do you think? Do you feel that, too? Maybe there are just too many people, and we can't help the world so we help ourselves instead? I would love to hear your thoughts, unless this is one blog too many in the myriad of blogs your "friends" online post daily.