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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


[2/6] – The Need and the Loss pt 1, Moving
Current mood: loved
Category: Life

I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear that there's a documented correlation between a lack of close inter-personal relationships and clinical psychological pathologies, from violent behavior to serious depression.  Well, it's also a quantified factor in more mundane issues like stress, fatigue, and mild depression.  Surprising to me, they point out that, in a pinch, people with an "internal locus of control" (e.g. ME!) have a greater need for support from other people than those who let life come as it will.

What's especially impressive is how tight social connections seem to help people get over serious physical ailments.  People with strong connections to a few others have been found to survive problems, from heart disease to cancer, twice as often as those without.  That's almost double!  There is no other lifestyle factor that comes close, and it even beats a lot of drugs.

If these connections are so important, how could we lose them?  In Refrigerator Rights, Dr. Will Miller puts forth three main mechanisms: mobility, individualism, and modern distractions. [Mobility is covered here, the others in later installments.]

Mobility: (both moving house and daily commuting)
Moving obviously creates real physical separation.  It's often a move away from family, which is understandable – after a while a young adult may want a break from those exasperating people, or may have an opportunity that needs to be pursued.  But one eventually must establish new connections just as close as the old family.  Personally I think there's another level of connection one can get from the people you consider peers, which family can never quite get to.  It takes discipline, because it's easier to step away from a friend than to abandon family when they get difficult, but ultimately there *must* be people who's difficult moments you put up with in favor of the long-term relationship.

My extended family was always dispersed.  My own few close friends pursued schools and career options out of State.  After getting divorced (more later on how couples isolate themselves), I really was just about the last one out of town.

I wish I had pics of how badly overloaded my poor truck and trailer were that day in 2004.  Exonero Ergo Zoom has been a personal motto dating to race car days, meaning "I make light, therefore I go fast". But exonero has more do with one's spirit than one's vehicle.  I wonder just how light I thought my heart was on that day when my trailer was so full?

Commuters nowadays can put themselves on a plot of land well outside of town, or file themselves away in the third drawer of a subdivision (I always think of those places as filing cabinets).  The country place may be nice, not least of all because the neighbors are a half mile away – but that's just it.  There's no social connection except for the satellite TV dish.  The subdivision house has many closer neighbors, but people take even greater pains to keep distance from them, I suppose so as to not risk trouble which would be inconvenient and awkward when they're still stuck together.  

We curiously live in a world with both increasing homogeneity, and increasing isolation.

I for one managed to meet just one neighbor at my old house, which I had for eight years.  My Ex thought somebody should know we were gone for a week one time, so we went over and said 'Hi, and would you do us this favor…?'  There was a couple across the street about our same age, who I watched raise two dogs and two kids.  I never even knew the first name of the husband – until the day I was moving out and he helped me load a couple heavy things (at his initiative, at that point I was not about to ask).

{on to part 3}

Currently listening :
Subdivisions: A Tribute
By Various Artists
Release date: By 2005-03-15

7:30 AM - 1 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment -


If these connections are so important, how could we lose them?

(Because...like the next few sentences stated - it IS easier to step back. It's hard to work to be a good friend and maintain a relationship/friendship!)

Posted by Cynthia on Nov 11, 2008 11:00 AM
[Reply to this]

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