Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So connected, so lonely

Today Michelle Griffin has a story in The Age, 'Generation Y so connected, oh so lonely'.

According to a study by Relationships Australia, those aged 25 to 34 reported the highest rates of loneliness.

No doubt there are many causes for this, including the simple fact of being alone: thirty-somethings unable to find partners or friends, while others settle down.

But I also suspect that many have never learned how to be alone; how to enjoy their own company.  Here's what I told Michelle:
''People who are constantly connected electronically find being alone very difficult, so it's not that these people are necessarily more alone,'' he says, ''it's that they feel it more keenly. I would guess that older people who haven't been continually saturated with information are actually able to stand their own company.''
On the same Age page, you can also listen to a snippet from my 3AW interview this morning, with Ross Stevenson and John Burns.

(Photo: Tim Parkinson)


Frances said...

Did you learn how to be alone, and to be happy with that, between the ages of 25 and 34, Damon?
I would think that at these ages biology is strongly urging one to link up with another,to make a future. Nothing to do with webforce: everything to do with life force.
Is it in fact healthy at that age to, as you advise, learn to be alone? Is this what you did? Is that what you think that others should do?

Damon Young said...

That wasn't my point, Frances. My point - amongst others, which the journalist didn't quote - was that many are mistaking solitude, and lack of immediate stimulation, for loneliness.

I've not suggested that anyone give up interest in companionship. In fact, that'd be contrary to one of the ongoing themes of my books, journalism and blogging: the importance of intimacy.

Frances said...

Thank you for your courteous reply, Damon. I can, unfortunately, imagine myself as an irritant: someone in kindy needling the adult with "I don't understand": so I thank you for your patience.