Have you ever felt like you as a person were “spread too thin?”
Like there isn’t enough time for you, let alone the other people in your life?
I have been there.
So has Michael Keaton, who once was described as “a man who never has enough time for the things he wants to do is offered the opportunity to have himself duplicated.”
Hold on, that might have been a movie, not real life…but you and I live in real life.
And I bet we have shared the same thought:
“A couple more of me would be helpful.”
As a husband and a father, I wish I had more time to do all the things I want to do and spend time with the people I love.
This is on top of the other things demanding my time; work, volunteering, church activities, kid’s activities, and random things I want to experience.
What I have discovered was not that I needed more time, but the acceptance of my limitations. There is only one version of me. I am not meant to do this life alone.
Research has shown Americans are some of the loneliest people in the world. It further found that women are likely to report this phenomenon while men are less likely to acknowledge their loneliness.
People reporting higher than average social media usage are twice as likely to report feeling lonely.
It’s time we become honest with ourselves.
An eighty yearlong Harvard study found that “embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.”
In a significantly large test group, the number one commonality amongst people living past the age of 90 wasn’t genetics or diet, but the presence of close friends.
In a separate study, researchers looked into the exceptional health of a towns’ residents in Pennsylvania.
The town is called Roseto.
Even before the research study, folks in the area became aware of the peoples’ exceptional good health and longer than average life spans in comparison to surrounding towns. Researchers looked into reasons why the people were significantly healthier than others. Naturally, they looked at the diet for the average citizen:
“The town of largely Italian immigrants smoked unfiltered stogies, drank copious amounts of wine, largely neglected the drinking of milk and soft drinks while skipping out on the popularized Mediterranean diet in favor of meatballs and sausages fried in lard accented with hard and soft cheeses.”
My aortic valve gurgled when I first read this.
They looked at their diet and then the peoples’ employment. They couldn’t find any correlation signifying their diet or line of work to their health. What they found was similar to the findings of the Harvard study, and it had little to do with their diet, employment, economic status, or demographic background.
What they found were shared generational connections and relationships. In this town, they all knew each other. They visited each other’s places of business, regularly spent time with one another, and went to church with one another.
They did a lot of the same things with the same people.
We know diet matters. Your financial well-being matters. Your genetics matter. We know being alone or isolated is poor on your health.
But what if there is something worse than being alone or isolated?
It’s feeling like you’re alone in a crowded room.
In your life you are surrounded by people, but you’re not surrounded by relationships.
What made the people of Roseto so unique?
Everybody looked out for everybody.
Where did this “everyone looking out for everyone” come from?
Is it possible to have this type of community mindset in the 21st century?
This book was published after the initial events of the COVID-19 pandemic, disheartening racial tensions, and political unrest. The rate of division seems to be increasing at an insurmountable rate.
A similar thing happened within the community of Roseto. As the older generations eventually passed away, the sense of shared connection, their immigration journey from Italy to a foreign land and working together to make a living, died with them. With each passing generation, collectivism, unity, and intentional community dissolved.
Now, Roseto is much like many other rural communities in the United States. Overall health and life expectancy has dropped to national averages. Their sense of collectivism has turned to hyper-individualism.
What if we could shift our focus just a little bit and find that sense of community again?
I think it’s possible to find your people and give yourself and ultimately “us,” the opportunity to live a full and flourishing life.
I cannot be me,
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