How do we stay socially connected?

How do we stay socially connected Dr. Weil asks in regard to findings about social relating of British seniors written about in this article.

This got me thinking. My first response is - not. 

In truth I live a ridiculous, maybe sad, isolated life these days. On second thought well, I accost strangers for one, whenever the mood strikes. Sometimes I smile at one for no reason at all. Today it was a cute toddler, from Tunisia I learned, who showed interest in my pups. Later it was a young pup who was anxious about meeting mine, so I insisted we make it a priority for these 3 terriers to meet amicably, which meant for me abandoning my steaming hot cup of coffee and news paper, to attend to more urgent matters, proper socialization of pups, all three of them. Yesterday, a young, I learned 37 years old, beggar challenged me to smile at him, so I did and then proceeded to ask him why he was begging and we got in to a conversation and parted with him asking for God's blessing for me. amidst more smiles.  I do believe we all do better when we can see each other, as fellow human beings at least, better yet when we offer up our smile for the taking.

Sometimes I frown when warranted, who says it has to be all positive. I do believe in communication and letting others know how they affect me, either way. I don't like cameras pointed in my direction,  I see no need for another ugly image of mine floating out and about in the universe. But what really gets me is when we, me and my pups seem invisible to the drivers of menacing vehicles. And yes, I assert my right to ride my bike on public roads with my pups along side. We deserve respect and consideration.

I do offer, most often my unsolicited opinion on most anything and everything when the mood strikes. I do believe in the value of exchanging opinions, ideas, feelings and one's world view. It seems to me  that Americans have almost forgotten how to discuss, express and listen to another point of view without taking offense, or retreating in to the safety of their own private thoughts. I am convinced a lack of serious discussion is at the heart of our political divide, really dismal abyss.  

Turns out my furry companions make excellent conversation openers, a side benefit I had  been unawares of when I had gathered up my first dog, my Isabella-girl, from our local shelter only a few years ago. Our former dump, now most frequented public park, has become a major source of social interaction, not just for the mutts of course.

And then there are always the check-out gals and guys, of which some even offer free philosophical advise or cooking tips, besides the more common weather reports, often with a smile, sometimes out right laughter. This is how I learned to make my very own Salsa Verde only a few months ago, and that after living in the Southwest for more then 20 years.

On the rare occasion of catching a glimpse of signs of intimacy between others; a look, a smile, a touch, an energy, I live vicariously through them. Signs of affection in public are very rare in my community for to me very mysterious reasons. I wanted to blame it on the power of the Catholic church in our community, but since I learned that roughly only 25% are active and practicing, I doubt my blame would be justified.

Extended shared meals, maybe followed by long walks with talks, best hand in hand, or arm-in-arm, enriched with extended phone conversations before and after, seem a thing of the past for me, for now. The internet has replaced such in my life, I hope not forever,. The best of this sharing on-line is when it revolves around our creative expressions. I have been addicted to flickr and the viewing of others experiences of their world through their lenses. Now, that can offer inspiration and countless hours of oohs and ahs. It is fascinating to communicate with the visually inspired all across the world

How do YOU, retired or not, stay socially connected beyond the obvious, family, friends and grandchildren?

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