The benefit of belongingThere is a class of lonely people in this world. They rise alone, they tend to their chores and obligations, they buy what they need to, they take their counsel from themselves, and they live. When they are sick, they must trust their own judgement as to that fine line between pain as a signal and pain as a warning bell. They must leave enough buffer to survive the commute. When they run short of money, they make do. When one-off payments strike the household - registrations, medical, accident - they suffer. To be alone is to truly take the burden of our lives solely upon one's shoulders. To be lonely is to die ten years, on average, faster than the average person. We all know a lonely person, even if we don’t admit it. We know.
The challenge of ConnectingNow, remember the last time you made a connection with someone. A shared interest. Perhaps shared a joke, a look, a shared reaction to an unusual situation. Perhaps as small as a shared annoyance at waiting in a line. A connection formed. An invisible line between you and that other person. Weak at first. Potential. Research shows that for 2 hours after a positive connection, our bodies are filled with chemicals that heal us, make us stronger, and more resilient.
It is a reality of today’s world that people are living alone for longer, losing connectivity with family, and struggling in this age of advanced communications and working from home to make meaningful connections with others. Two in five of us will feel a profound sense of loneliness in our lives at some stage.
Connection has two sides. A person has to want to not be alone. Want to reach out into the light and want to feel the touch of humanity. Nobody can save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. On the other side though, there is a role for society to see the hand that reaches out, to look beyond our own day to say satisfaction, and to share that smile, like that comment, spot that guy or girl in the gym training alone, and help someone turn a tough day into something better.
The Old Man Strength community was built on these pillars. We have 90,000 members all around the world, many of whom are on both ends of the spectrum. Guys out there struggling with illness, family breakdown, unemployment, poverty, or anxiety, reaching in daily to our closed community and social pages and messaging. On the other side, we have a community providing a safe set of supportive hands, encouraging, providing confidence and importantly providing connectivity and shared interests with each other.
A community is as strong as the members that bind itIt’s important to remember that no matter how strong you feel today, life is impermanent. Weakness may be around the corner for all of us, and so compassion for those who are in another part of the cycle is what binds us as a community.
When we see someone having their first session back in the gym, we encourage them. We like that comment and say “well done” because we are all six months away from being in the same position. When we see illness, we send prayers or best wishes. When we see pain, we connect. When we connect, we heal and we pay forward a sense of spirit that will be here for us when we fall. We give those two hours of healing chemicals as our gift to those that need it.
The OMS community is a proud group of strong old men that don’t back down, don’t give up and keep moving forward. We wear our gear with pride. Strength comes in many forms. Stay old man strong.