Yesterday – which happened to be January 1st, I was in my living room, on my bike, which I was riding via an app called Zwift and a machine called a Wahoo Kickr, both of which allow me to simulate real road riding right in the comfort of my own living room. I was also watching my favorite soccer team Liverpool FC, beat up on archrival Newcastle in the English Premier League, 3,000 miles away in Liverpool, UK. In the throes of a 250-watt push on the Champs Elysee’ in Paris (the app video simulates cities all over the world), I began to think of how easy it is to be alone these days.
Then I recalled the famous Harvard Study (of Adult Development that since 1938 has been investigating what makes people flourish) that has established a strong correlation between deep relationships and well being. The key is that those relationships must be nurtured. Not imperative to this writing, but worth noting, later in the day this article from the Atlantic popped up in my Apple news feed – “What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found is the Key to a Good Life.” This was either an incredible coincidence or we are further along with this “connectivity” thing than I originally had thought.
Regardless, I find the great irony of our time is that we are seemingly more connected than ever (we’ve got social media, cell phones, apps), with access to more information than ever, and yet, possibly are lonelier than ever. How often do we go out for a meal and see a table of 4 adults all on their phones? They’re together, but not really. Now, the Harvard study did not delineate between kinds of communication and mediums of interaction, but I have to believe that in terms of nurturing relationships, a text is better than a social media post, a phone call is better than a text, a FaceTime is better than a phone call, and a meal in a restaurant with friends or loved ones is better than face timing.
Therefore, since I am intent on living to 100 and also having those years be of good quality, my new year’s resolution is this – nurture relationships and stay connected (I took care of the diet thing mid-year ). This means that instead of doing the ride in my living room, I invite a friend to do a ride outdoors. Instead of watching the Liverpool match in my living room, I go to the local Liverpool supporters pub and watch (yes, we have Liverpool supporters pubs in the US – Manchester United fans beware). Instead of texting my daughter at college every day, I mix it up with a weekly FaceTime call. Each of these is harder to do than the former, each requires a little extra effort, but in being a big believer in reaping what you sow, I also believe that in the long run, this will pay huge dividends.