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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

Why I Could Never Be A Hermit

I know I would be miserable. I really have to have people in my life with whom to interact. And most of us apparently find this to be true for them as well. If we had not recognized this need before, we certainly recognized it last year when we had to shelter at home. Last night during my walk I was listening to a TED podcast entitled "You are not alone in your loneliness." The speaker, Johnny Sun, was discussing why social media platforms have become so important for all of us, particularly in recent months. He believes that it is because it allows us to create what he terms "little gatherings" of others, that become for a brief time a "micro community". Despite the fact that we know that there are a lot of negatives to these platforms because they allow for abuse, the propagation of misinformation, and enable hatred and hate speech, we are drawn to these spaces because, as he says, we feel that "that is where all the people are." That is where we can find small moments of human connection, that can "affirm and give us life". When we especially feel the need to connect to others these platforms give us a place where we can "shout out to the void, the lonely darkness." We can log on to social media and find a place where we can reach out and "hold someone's hand at the (other) end of the world." And, rather than the "void responding, people show up", replying to the originator of the conversation and then to each other where, in effect, they begin to hold each others hands. I see this daily as I read and respond to not only the stories and posts of my friends, but to the comments that have been made by their friends as well. I am fortunate in that I seldom feel lonely. But I need and want feed back from others and that is not readily available in a house where I live alone. The response to my post several days ago about the death of my favorite cousins was amazing and so appreciated. I heard from people that I have not heard from in months, even years, people, quite literally, who live all over the world. Such responses, as Johnny Sun said in his podcast, are a "small thing made up of small tiny sliver of light in all the darkness." As a creative person I often have the need to share and get feed back about my creations. This was something I could always count on my husband to do for me. Now, more often than not, I look to my community of friends out there in the "void" to help me out. For example, today for a photo contest I submitted a photo of a bird to which I had added a painterly effect in post processing. I created two such images before submitting one. But I really don't know if I picked the right one. So I am reaching out and asking the question. Which one do you like better, the one at the beginning of this post, or the one at the end?

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