Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe for Longevity: No Smoking, Lots of Friends

Recipe for Longevity: No Smoking, Lots of Friends(Click on this link to read the article.)

As I read this article, I couldn't help but remember how Leif's circle of friends shrank and his contacts and personal intereactions with others diminished over the last year of his life. It wasn't that he didn't seek companionship, but that he focused solely on finding a mate and when he thought he had, he found it so hard to be apart and out of contact. He had little contact with the friends from his past and didn't make new ones in Florida, at least not lasting ones, and the few new contacts he had weren't the kind of healthy and close ones that would have helped him thrive and survive.

Science is coming closer to realizing and documenting that we need love and friendship to be healthy, and perhaps even to survive, in some cases, but what it doesn't tell us is why some people are good at finding those social contacts and friendships, and others aren't, why some are good at keeping them and others don't. What is it that makes the loner, the lonely, that way? Is it lack of social skills? Is it shyness? Is it an inferiority complex? Is it fear? It is some other mental or emotional, or even biological, factor?

Why do some people suffer alone, in their homes or apartments, go to work and come home without ever having a meaningful human interaction?

And does our current world that offers so much ersatz contact and entertainment through television, cell phones and the internet give people the illusion that they are in contact with others, but yet they suffer all the same symptoms and health problems, the same emotional pain, of those who are isolated?

This photo of Leif was taken at the Michie Tavern area near Charlottesville, Virginia in the spring of 1977 when Leif was just over two years old.

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