I've recently been out to a couple of music concerts that I quite enjoyed. I don't often go to concerts, but I wanted to see these ones, and would have gone alone, but joyfully didn't have to.
The first one I went to was Disturbed, with Breaking Benjamin, Alterbridge and Saint Asonia. I was accompanied to this show by my new romantic interest Matt. Now, I'm not overly familiar with any of the bands that were playing, I know a few songs by Disturbed, but I particularly like their cover of the Sound of Silence. Matt had never heard it before I mentioned it, he liked it, so we decided to go. Turns out, I know maybe about 2 songs of each of the other bands that played that night! I don't usually pay much attention to songs and bands unless it's something that grabs me and shakes me around and makes me feel. Sound of Silence does that, the original by Simon & Garfunkle has been a favourite of mine since I was a kid. When I first heard the cover by Disturbed, I cried and cried. I think I've NOT cried maybe twice when I hear it! Their version is just so...primal and feeling and...Disturbed. We both enjoyed the concert, and I'm glad we went.
The other show I went to was Rob Zombie with Korn. I love both of them, for different reasons. Rob Zombie because of fun memories dancing in a cage at the goth club, and feeling like a living dead girl on Sunday mornings after being out all night dancing and partying til dawn. Korn because who can resist a man in a kilt? I was accompanied to that with a friend from work. My Matt was busy, his girlfriend didn't want to go really, so we went together.
Both shows I would have gone to alone, and would have enjoyed myself. But it's always nice to share experiences with someone else isn't it? Whether it's something fun like a metal concert that you wouldn't normally go to, or even something absolutely miserable like having a friend sit with you while you're at the dentist having a tooth extracted.
It's not only *nice* to have someone to share life with, but it is almost necessity. Sure, some people can get on quite ok being a hermit and never, or rarely seeing people, but true hermits are very few. Humans are pack animals, we need other people around. We live longer if we have someone to share life with. We recover from illness or surgery faster if we have loved ones with us to care for us. Not just to bring us food and medicine when we need it, but to *care* for and about us. We need to have social connections. We need to have physical connections, in order to feel connected to the world.
My grandmother died last weekend. She was 94 and had dementia. She had declined rather rapidly in the last couple of years, and I hadn't spoken to her since the last time I called she didn't know who I was, and didn't remember my father, her son. She had moved out to British Columbia about the same time I moved down to North Carolina, and I hadn't seen her since, but spoke a few times on the phone. Until she didn't know who I was.
I think she was lonely. She had moved out to BC to be closer to her friend, but she didn't know anybody else out there, except one of her daughters, my Aunt, who was about 2 hours away. I don't she was a very social person after she moved. Her last few years were spent in a care home. She did live a long life though, because before she moved out there, she was very active, and travelled frequently all over the world with groups. Even a group of strangers can be enough social interaction to stave off loneliness and can extend your life, believe it or not.
My Aunt Gene, on the other side of my family, is 99 years old, and *very* social. She has a regular group of friends that she meets for coffee at Tim Horton's, and she goes out pretty much every day to her favourite restaurant for almost all of her meals. 99 years old! She lives on her own! She's still going, like the Energizer bunny.
Life is entirely different when you have people to share it with. Whether a group of friends that you meet every day, or a group of strangers who have common interests. Strangers are what friends are made of after all :) Studies show that social interaction and keeping mentally stimulated may keep dementia at bay.
So go do something totally out of character. Go to a rock concert with a new friend. Go take an art class, or heck even just go out to Paint Nite and have a couple of drinks while you and a group of strangers all paint the same picture. It's fun! I did that a couple of years ago with a co-worker. Go to the local dog park, meet other dog people. If you have a dog...it's creepy if you don't ;)
Let the music play, and share it with a friend.