Did you know that 28% of American adults live alone? In Germany, it’s nearly 42%. Do positive images come to mind when you picture people living alone? Probably not.
Let’s reinvent aloneness as a super power fueling us to connect and help others.
Here’s a story of leveraging aloneness as a force for good.
Having lived in seven states, I’m skilled at networking and making new friends. At least it seemed that way until I moved to Minnesota in 2007. The Twin Cities had social circles set in concrete. Transplants from other places had a saying: “Minnesotans will give you directions to anywhere but their own homes.” I realize now that ten long winters of hibernating alone inside were quarantine boot camp!
My plan was to find Mr. Right and live happily ever on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. I envisioned Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn in “On Golden Pond.” Instead, I lived alone on a lake across from a bowling alley in a suburb called Little Canada!
When life doesn’t go according to Plan A, you go to Plan B. To connect people in ways that matter, I launched Plan B Connections. For the past ten years, I have hosted meaningful conversations and volunteer events to promote social wellness. My TEDx talk “Living Alone, Living Connected” below highlights my community-building efforts.
My dream is for all of us feeling alone through pandemic quarantine to find meaningful connections through helping others, whether it’s writing thoughtful cards to residents in a nursing home, being an active listener on a crisis hotline, making a meal to leave on a neighbor’s doorstep, or calling a friend who may be feeling lonely.
Let’s find the silver lining in the pandemic clouds. We can leverage aloneness as a force for good to forge stronger social connections during quarantine and beyond. Start by asking, “How can I help?”