I’m not sure whether humans were designed live in the isolated way we do now.

It makes more sense to me that we should be squatting around cooking fires together, shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and aunties and mothers. We were meant to have a village to help us through the bad times and kindred spirits to high five us when the wins come along.

Everyone bangs on about how awful Facebook is and how it’s ruining our ability to communicate, but I disagree. As a freelancer who works on her own and a mother of two children, with the nearest relative several hours away, there have been loads of times when I’ve wished for people around me to lighten the load. It’s not as through I’m a miserable hermit (all the time), but for the most part I’m either working alone in my office or doing something domestic.

Along the way, I’ve joined a number of Facebook groups for freelancers of various kinds, and this morning a member of one of the groups, a designer from somewhere in Europe, posted something that was so heartfelt and so beautiful that it made me cry. He is on his own caring for an elderly father who is in the beginning stages of as he put it “his last fight against Alzheimers”. He said that in the midst of all the sadness at home, this particular group had become like a candle in the dark and had helped him to feel less lonely with the weight of the responsibility resting on his shoulders. The companionship of the members and the sense of comraderie that he felt when he was in there, gave him something to look forward to each day.

It struck me that too many people probably feel like this.

Some just going about the business of being human but some enduring heart wrenchingly sad life events, with nobody to hold their hand and to tell them that it will be okay. Nobody to offer a bit of help or to listen when they need a shoulder to cry on. No community of people to be around, to listen to their laughter and conversation or to just be.

Whether Facebook was here or not, as a society we’re not going back to living in small family groups any time soon. I’m not a psychologist, but I’m a human who has had her fair share of ups and downs so I’m banging my drum today and saying that if you’re a freelancer, home-hobbyist or sole trader and you’ve felt isolated or lonely sometimes, look for a group of likeminded people with a common interest and knock on their door. If you can find them in the flesh all the better, but if circumstances prohibit that, find a Facebook group for people with interests that you share.

Like the man who is looking after his dying father, it won’t make your worries disappear, but the spark that is ignited when you feel a sense of belonging, may become the candle in the dark that helps you find your way.

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