An Occasion for Kindness
This July 11, the United States and other countries celebrate the unofficial yet especially timely observance named Cheer Up The Lonely Day. It is a holiday meant to remind everyone of the caring practice of lifting up someone else’s spirits. It was Francis Pesek from Detroit, Michigan who first came up with the idea to help people who have been dealing with loneliness, particularly the elderly in nursing homes who had no one to visit them or shut-ins who couldn’t go out regularly. Born on July 11, he was well-remembered for his generous and kind spirit.
On this special day, people are enjoined to make an extra effort to reach out and help alleviate another person’s feelings of sadness and isolation. Cheer Up The Lonely Day also serves to encourage awareness about loneliness and its potentially detrimental and far-reaching influence in our lives.
The Weight of Loneliness
We all have been lonely for a time, it is an unavoidable experience of human life as social beings. Both adults and children have felt this emotion. That unpleasant feeling of isolation and scarcity of interaction can be beneficial if temporary, as it motivates us to seek out and develop social connections. However, if left unresolved, this distressing feeling can deepen and effect a cascade of events that might perpetuate this cycle of unhappiness.
Loneliness has many precipitating factors and aspects, one of which is the result of a disparity between the quality and quantity of relationships that we want and that which we actually have. A few friends or many, the number doesn't actually matter, what is more significant is how well these relationships nurture us, coupled with the attention we give to help these connections grow.
It can also become a state of mind aside from being a way we feel. When loneliness is not alleviated and eventually develops into a chronic state, it changes our perspective and how we act accordingly. Long-standing loneliness brings about hypervigilance, which is related to the separation from a supportive group. This makes us more sensitive to possible threats in our environment, heightens the fear of rejection, and causes us to be more judgemental in our interactions with others. This behaviour alienates us further from the few people we can relate to, which perpetuates the loneliness cycle and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that only confirms our initial point of view.
Aside from the repercussions on mental well-being which include depression and suicidal ideation, chronic loneliness has also been found to have damaging physiological effects on immunity and cardiovascular health. Overall, life expectancy is lowered as the quality of life is profoundly affected.
Current Ways To Comfort The Lonely
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced all of us to deal with loneliness on a global scale. The quarantine necessary to delay the spread of the virus has put most of us in situations that have made us more aware of how deeply isolation can affect us. That physical separation from family and friends who had been usually present in our daily lives can take its toll. Because of this new normal, every act of kindness towards one another is more meaningful and heartening.
Even if some restrictions still apply with regards to social gatherings, we can still celebrate Cheer Up The Lonely Day in other ways. Here are a few:
Write a letter, or send a whole lot. A thoughtful, well-penned correspondence is still one of the best ways to keep connected. In spite of the speed and ease that email and instant messaging have; receiving a physical letter is a tactile reminder of how much a person cares, enough for him to make the effort to write down his thoughts on paper and mail it to you. In some areas, the postal service is now getting back on track.
Keep those connections alive with technology. This is presently the easiest to do, given the proper equipment and WiFi access. Check up on your loved ones from time to time, just to say hello, or allot more time for deeper conversations. It can be in the form of a simple text or email, or can be as extensive as an online video call with the whole family present. Important milestones can still be shared remotely.
Send a care package. For reaching out and showing kindness during these times, this is one of the ways that has gained ground. Those little things that we used to share when visiting each other, the food that we ate together, those flowers we brought before, can be sent via courier to brighten up someone’s day and make them feel part of a caring network.
For us in the fountain pen community, we may have very specific ways of showing how we care for one another, and for ourselves. After all, enlivening a lonesome spirit also means encouraging one’s own. And for me, a pen is one of the best ways to make someone’s day brighter.
On a personal note, I was deeply touched when a couple of my closest friends surprised me with a pen for my birthday. How moving it was, to realise how well they knew me and cared for me, to gift me a pen with a unique personal significance. It was such a heartwarming gesture, particularly when I haven’t been with them for quite a while. This pen became a distillation of our relationship, that had been enriched with constant communication in spite of our insulation.
Cheering Up the Lonely with EndlessPens
If sending a pen or pen-related item to make someone happy is right up your alley, here are some choices from EndlessPens’ Kaweco line of writing instruments. The different series from this brand are particularly attractive, as they have a wide array of options that appeal to the young and old alike.
Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen - Coming in a variety of colours and materials, this series gives you room to choose one that would suit the person you have in mind. Rollerball pen, ballpoint pen, mechanical pencil, and clutch pencil options are also available for those who gravitate towards these alternatives.
Kaweco Student Fountain Pen - This series carries a retro vibe, from the aesthetics to the materials used in the design. The fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and rollerball pens come in either primary, demonstrator, or vintage colours that enhance the sense of nostalgia evoked by this selection.
Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen - This pen would make a good beginner pen. It is lightweight and easy to handle, making it a good fit for longer writing sessions. It also comes in a rollerball design.
Kaweco Liliput Fountain Pen - This one is truly a classic line amongst the different series. With the handy size and different base metals to choose from, this selection is especially made for everyday carry. This line also comes with ballpoint pens as additional options.
Kaweco Fountain Pen Inks - These inks come in either 30 ml glass bottles or in cartridge form. With such vibrant colours, they would be the perfect fuel for your pen.
Cheering Up the Lonely Goes Both Ways
As you celebrate this distinctive holiday by reconnecting with someone you know or reaching out to a stranger in need of a little encouragement, take heart. Be aware that each act of kindness, no matter how big or small, shines a light on the receiver and is reflected back to the giver. In easing another’s loneliness, you find the way to your own happiness. Cheers!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!