Intentionally together: a discussion

Being human requires a wealth of fortitude and determination because, as we all know, life has its way with each and every one of us. Optimists, pessimists, young or old, our lives are determined by a variety of factors, with one of the most influential being our health. Alongside our physical wellness, our emotional and mental wellness are essential components of a life well lived. In its continuing partnership with the Mayors Wellness Campaign, the library is hosting a book discussion on the topic of loneliness on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The discussion will be a hybrid event (participants may join in person or via Google Meet) facilitated by Whitney B. Ross, psychologist and executive director of Trinity Counseling and Kristin Friberg, readers services librarian.

In “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World,” renowned physician, researcher, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern. Loneliness, Murthy contends, is a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety.

The pandemic has been a big factor in the increase in social isolation and loneliness. For many of us, having to physically distance ourselves from one another has taken a toll on our emotional and mental well-being. There is a distinction, though, between isolation and loneliness. According to Murthy, loneliness is the subjective feeling of being cut off or abandoned by people, even if you are physically surrounded by others. It’s a feeling of being alone – not having the “feeling of closeness, trust, and the affection of genuine friends, loved ones, and community.”

At the library, we strive to make this physical space a place of true community. As staffers, we try our best to make everyone feel connected, comfortable and heard. That can look like a lot of different things – an exchange of information at a public service desk; a group of children with their caregivers participating in a story time, or a book discussion in which participants are given the space and opportunity to voice their opinions without judgment.

For all we may disagree about, we each have room for compassion and empathy to consciously work to create community. We hope you’ll check out a copy of “Together” and either register to join us in person or log in virtually to talk about how we can work to make life better for ourselves and others.

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