comic city bus

Combating Loneliness

Combating Loneliness

During the lock-down (The World 2020) we needed to carefully investigate our options to combat the feelings of loneliness. That belief that no-one cares, that you are alone and without any kind of meaningful human interaction.

While this is a hard cross to bear, we all have to realise that the answer is within us. It is not the fault of any other person or situation, it is down to us.

Finding fault and apportioning blame doesn't help.

Action

I have written before about the need for action. No amount of positive thought, or smiling, self-talk will help without the doing of some action. Usually doesn't matter what. I work on just one question each day and each time I find myself wishing things were better.

I ask myself, “Is what I am doing RIGHT NOW helping me to reach my goals?”

Lotta weight in that question. If Yes, Carry on. If NO. You need to change what you are doing, or change your goals if that makes sense. As I’ve said before - ‘it is all up to you’.

Long before the COVID-19 business, I knew a chap named George. He had recently retired (about 5 years) from a very physical job and was still having issues with not working. Both the physical and the social parts of his life were impacted.

Inspired and Effective

His solution was inspired and effective.

He lived on the eastern border of a large sprawling city in Australia and his answer to his state of affairs was simple.

The Bus

Early in the morning (twice a week) he jumped on a bus (seniors discount) and seating himself at the front, next to the driver, settled in for a long ride. A few hours at least.

Whenever possible, without being dangerous or breaking the rules, he chatted with the driver (usually the same one at that time in the morning).

Grumpy

He greeted the in-bound passengers and bid farewell to those leaving the bus.

After a while he became known. “Oh, that’s George.” they'd say. “He’s often on this bus”.

They all loved him. I knew him to be a grumpy old man, (his nickname among his family and friends was ‘grumpy’), but he was different on the bus.

He got off the bus at the end of its route. Right on the western edge of this great city. That is he had travelled from one side of the city to the other.

Shopping Centre

He wandered into the huge shopping centre there. It was often about lunchtime, so he found a food joint he liked the look of and sat down to a light senior’s lunch and a black coffee. Talking all the time to the server and any patrons who would sit down with him.

After a while he settled on a place that suited him and he became a loyal customer on his twice weekly pilgrimage.

He became known around the shopping centre, and people used to seek him out to listen to his stories (and he had a lot to tell) or to relate to him what had happened to their daughter and their grandson sometime last month.

People sought him out

He was a tad eccentric and this added to the mystery around him. Who was this older chap and what was he doing coming here every week regularly? He seemed to have nothing better to do. He became a fixture.

A well liked and respected member of the shopping centre community.

He would get on the last bus back east in the afternoon and chat with everyone until he arrived home. Tired and hungry. Ready for a good pub dinner.

When we all asked him why he did this twice a week, every week, even when he was feeling poorly, he said, “I don’t feel lonely when I am on the bus.”

There it is. He felt lonely. Realised that this lonely feeling came from within his own mind; so he set out to replace the feeling which was not leading him to any goal, with something solid. He took ACTION. He made friends. He generated a groundswell around him that benefited himself, those in the shopping centre community and those on the busses. He changed one habit which was not serving him for a new one that was.

As Long As He Could

How cool is that?

He did this until he was to frail to do it by himself even with his fabulous walking stick, and he was forced to stay at home. (by the way - I own that stick now)

What Do You Do?

What are you doing to combat these lonely feelings that challenge you daily? Do you give up, or do you take action? If action – what do you do?

Why not keep us informed in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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