one is the loneliest number


bend

Today is the first of February, the loneliest month on the calendar. There are no holidays to look forward to as we shiver through another 28 days of winter. Of course Valentine’s Day brings its own particular warmth mid-month, but if you don’t have a Valentine, you are left out in the cold.

And there are a lot of lonely people out there. Sometimes you notice them, people who seem impossibly needy, or so brittle and afraid of being hurt that they’ve grown dragon scales. Other people seem quite ordinary, just like the neighbour across the street who you’ve always thought has got it all together, then in a chance conversation you discover she’s lonely, too. I’ve had a chance to talk with a lot of strangers lately, and in conversation — past complaint or concern — I’ve discovered that what many people really need is a friend.

This is in no way an attempt to belittle people’s legitimate complaints or concerns, worries and anxieties. I just feel compelled to point out how a little warmth and an understanding smile can really make someone’s day. I think February should be a month for friendship, not just romantic love, a time that we share some of our warmth and make this cold month a little less lonely.

Photo taken on February 21, 2009

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8 thoughts on “one is the loneliest number

  1. I love how you always seem to get the perfect photo to accompany your post! I agree, there should be a celebration to honor the love of people in general. My husband and I celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and our anniversary. That’s ENOUGH! When Valentine’s Day comes around, we give little things to our boys (candy, small toy, etc). Valentines Day can be very special for many couples out there, but it shouldn’t be done in such a way to make others feel lonely!

    • Thank you, Holly! That’s neat that you give your boys small little Valentine’s gifts. I know in school we used to give valentines to our classmates, but it always felt a bit like a popularity competition, because you’d see if you got more or less than your neighbours. When I was younger, I used to cajole my brothers into going in with me on buying a box of valentine chocolates for my parents. I don’t remember when, or why I stopped…

  2. This is a very sweet and thoughtful post. Love the idea. I also love the photo … the lines in it, and it goes so well with the post.

    There’s a lot of loneliness out there … much more than one tends to think. At work, it was pretty obvious some times.

    Personally, I think that Christmas must be the worst, with regards to loneliness and anxiety. I spent many of them alone, and I was perfectly alright with that. I was alone, but not lonely.

    Christmas is so loaded with that whole family-thing, and the build-up each year is so great.

    I, for one, can really vouch for how a little smile and a nod can change ones mood. That’s the greatest thing about Saint John … strangers say hi and talk!

    • Thanks, Rebekah. I agree with you about Christmas being a difficult time. The thing with Christmas, though, is that it’s over relatively fast, and then there’s the New Year to encourage an optimistic outlook. But I think February can be worse for some people who are not able to get out and about. Winter weather can be very isolating, and spring seems so far away.

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