"The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” Pearl S. Buck
Causes of loneliness in the Ruralhood (for me growing up) were:
- Party lines
- Lack of new experiences
- No public transportation
Siblings were a good source of company for children.
Some of the women in my community did not know how to drive. I felt very proud that my mother could and did drive. Her mother did not drive and depended on others to get her where she needed to be. I don’t remember her ever having a problem getting anywhere. However, the lack of the driving skill limited women on where and when they shopped and visited. This also limited their independence.
Church and school activities helped with rural socialization and perhaps lessened the feeling of loneliness. Personally, I looked forward to attending school. I loved learning, but what I most desired was to see my friends. People need interaction with other people. Rural people too.
A dangerous aspect of seclusion in any culture is domestic violence. It happened in my community. Rural people tried to keep their own secrets, but, children will tell. It wasn’t until I volunteered with a domestic violence organization that I realized how the rural location (even today) is a prime location for violence against women.
Today’s rural person has many opportunities to seek companionship through land lines (no party lines please), cell phones, texting, vehicles, email and social networking. What might be suffering is the one-on-one interaction of my childhood between people face-to-face. My question might be: Are we less lonely today with so much technology at our fingertips? Or have we moved loneliness to another level?