I have yet to meet a person who has not heard about what has been in the news about the 12 members of a youth football (soccer) team in Thailand who were lost in a cave. For 17 days we have been hearing about fear, the worry, and finally the wonderful news of the successful rescue and the ability for the children to soon be reunited with their families. I found myself tuning in every day, using social media to find live updates, started checking all the media outlets to check the tally as the boys were coming out, and reached out to friends when I heard the news that all 13 were rescued. It touched everyone in many ways and it brought the world together to cheer for something and hope for something better.
It’s been so bewildering lately. Society is more polarized than ever. From sports to patriotism to children, there seem to be subjective views on how society, as a whole, should behave.
The word “friend” is not a word that is thrown around lightly. To have a friend means you have someone you count on and share a certain level of comfort/trust. Friendships evolve over many arenas: school, neighborhoods, jobs, other parents, etc.. the list of ways to meet people is endless, but the group honored to be considered a friend is a cherished few.
Lately, it seems the news is plagued with so many sad and negative stories that show the amount of pain around us. School shootings, celebrity suicides, hate motivated crimes... We, as a people, are hurting. And it seems more and more we don’t have outlets to express our pain. As it gets easier to not interact with each other, there is a stronger sense of isolation: we have online “friends”, we order our groceries online, we stare at a computer vs working in person…. Society is encouraging us in the loudest of terms to isolate ourselves. But to what end?
At our core, human beings wish to connect. We are made to connect. And not connecting is when our frustration of not having an outlet becomes louder. People – and connection – is vital to the human experience. When hearing about school shooters, celebrity suicides, social media “battles”, etc. the eventual answer is a person’s lack of connection to someone else.
In high school I was very active in the English Department. I wrote for the school newspaper, was involved in the yearbook, and was part of a special group that were focused on journalism as a college track. As I enrolled in college I found that journalism and English seemed to call me and my first year was spent enrolled in these programs. It wasn't until my first Introduction to Psychology class that I realized the value of mental wellness and eventually changed my academic journey to focus on the science of the mind.
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