Friday, March 5, 2010

Reducing Isolation: An Update

If you're a full-time shut in like Stella, you know that you can get a little weird the more time you spend alone. That's why it's important to seek out interaction and activity outside the house. I find that getting that interaction during my workday is a little hard to manage -- I've yet to really work successfully in a coffee shop, for example. I seem to spend so much time horsing around with the wi-fi in public places and by the time I get it all set to rights my laptop battery is 2/3s gone and my hands are shaking from the coffee.

So instead, I'm trying to be more social in the other things I do in my life besides workin. For example, I'm making more of a point to make friends at the gym. Okay, friends is a strong word for it - acquaintances is where I'm at, truthfully But it's nice to see people with whom you can share some desultory chit-chat with, and on whose lives you can catch up. It keeps those small talk skills honed, and helps tamp down the monk-like desire for absolute quiet.

I also started singing with a symphony chorus this year, so this is a weekly commitment to go out and sing music, do performances every few weeks, and generally act like I'm a member of a larger community. Again, it's not exactly a pathway to deep connections, but it means that I now know people in my city who are not related to me by blood or marriage. I know a good optometrist who is also a lovely soprano. I know a couple of musical computer geeks who do assorted nerdy things.

And of course, I still do tons of stuff with the extended family -- I'm no more than two phone calls away from having a house full of people drinking gin and tonics and eating gluten-free hors d'ouvres right now.

But what these casual social commitments are doing for me is just taking me a little more out in the Real World - and that can't be a bad thing.

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