True or False:
- I have felt untethered from my spouse or partner, like a rock climber whose belayer just took a call and started peeling a banana at the same time during my descent.
- I have felt alienated from my immediate family because I was the only one without a partner/child/job/advanced degree/smile on my face.
- I have said something out loud at a party that I thought I was just thinking and everyone in my circle drifted away as if pulled by a giant magnet to the crab dip.
- After a couple of four glasses of rosé, I have said something to the effect of: “I understand child abuse. I don’t do it or condone it, but I get how it could happen.”
- I recently decided that all of the qualifications I listed on my online dating profile are up for negotiation. Even the one about a prior criminal history.
If you answered true to any of the above questions, keep reading. If not, click here for a great cupcake decorating blog.
It’s ironic that we feel so isolated and alone when probably the only thing that binds the 7 billion souls on this planet is that we all get lonely sometimes. Which leads me to this: Friendship and community are integral to fitness.
Friendship is the immune system in your body’s fight against loneliness. Community is the micronutrients and antioxidants you take to defend against it in the first place.
Your first line of defense is a best friend. You must have one. If you don’t, then get one right now.
When you are paralyzed with grief, a best friend will ride in like the Calvary with pizza boxes and a nice pinot noir, then give your kid a bath and clean your kitchen. They will let you say the same thing to them over and over again, every time you need to say it, even though they disagree with you. A best friend knows your quirks and weaknesses and respects them. A best friend has your back. When you are lost in space, your best friend is Houston.
But your best friend also has a life and because you are a best friend right back, you know that you must spread your need for connection across a wider group. And maybe your best friend hates horses, or doesn’t like to work out or has a social phobia. That’s where community comes in.
Being part of a group of like-minded people engaged in whatever it is that makes your heart sing (and hey, no judgments here, as long as it’s legal in the Northeast) is a great way to keep from getting lonely in the first place. After that phone call with your mother, or that fight with your partner, or that day when your own dear child’s voice is like a jackhammer in your ears, you need a place to go that feels like it exists just for you.
A place full of people whose cell numbers may not be stored in your phone, but who would offer to go get coffee if you looked upset. Or give you a high five for accomplishing something that you both know is really hard, but most people (including your family) are oblivious to. A place where you know you will always find acceptance and encouragement.
As the owner of CoreMotion, a fitness studio, I’ve found that what I am most passionate about isn’t building muscles or a brand. It’s creating community. When familiar faces become friendly ones, when strangers waiting for class find common ground and start to chat, when the room is buzzing with positive energy and a common purpose, I feel like all the risk and work involved in starting a new business was worth it. I feel like I’m right where I belong.
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