For good or for bad adulting is a word now at least sort of. It’s a thing, well it’s probably a thing a least. The realities of being a grown up do sort of fail to live up to expectations don’t they? You get up, get the people related to you out the door, go to work where you shouldn’t REALLY be that close to anyone, come home maybe take the littles somewhere or do errands then go to bed. On your day off it’s family time or some time with a few friends but less and less as time goes on. I spend most moments of my day with honey which is something I actually adore about our life but when I get to spend time with someone else doing the stuff I want, that is legit amazing too! The thing is as an adult you don’t really get to spend all the time you want with your hobbies and people who are passionate about those things too. So let me make the case for fitness, at least some of the time, as an adult community just waiting for you.
Why is adulting so lonely?
If you work and sleep basically 70% of your life is gone. That’s pretty sad right? Now add in cooking, cleaning, errands, parenting, chores and other obligations and there isn’t a whole lot of time left. Plus the people you spend time with get more and more set in stone. It’s the people at work (more on that), your family and a few friends that you probably don’t get to spend as much time with as you like. All of the other stuff you have to do like go to the grocery, mechanics or home depot aren’t exactly hot spots for meeting new peeps. God help you in this regard if you’ve decided to breed. Those little suckers need constant attention and by the time you get them to bed the day is over! If I’m finding it hard you definitely are!
Most of us work and try to be professional while we’re there. That and the fact that you might be the boss of someone means you should probably keep those people at arms length. So the people you might spend the most time with are at least a little off limits as friends. No matter who we are we all have challenges and some luck in finding time to workout. For me I’m pretty lucky in this regard in that I don’t have kids and the people we work for can become friends over time. I can even take time away from work whenever but I never do. If I’m finding it hard you definitely are! I’m unlucky because we work literally all the time (7 days a week) for months at a time. Right now we’re going on to 4 months without a real day off. Isolating things like pre-packed grocery pick-up, being on the road a lot and a general lack of daylight are pretty much a given right now. So for that at least give yourself a break but it can make you feel stuck in a rut and more than a bit lonely.
Why we want a community
You can sum it up as simply as we’re all human. Most of us desire lots of people in our lives partners, friends, family and just people to talk to. People are on a spectrum though for how much human contact they want and desire. For me I could do with a little less than I have at the moment but people like honey mostly want someone around all of the time. Plus, no matter how perfect your best friend, partner or family is no one can get all they need from one person. I reach my watch and RC discussion limit before honey has run out of things to say sometimes and I’m sure he feels that way talking about my training. Even though my mom and stepdad are thrilled to talk about running just as much as me they can’t be my only go to either. Sometimes I want to talk to someone more experienced or faster than me. That’s where my other running friends come into play. What ever your passions are in life whether they be running, remote controls or goose mitigation we all need someone equally passionate to talk to otherwise we are at risk of feeling lonely.
When people don’t have the social connections they need it leads to loneliness. Usually this is from too much time spent alone or lack of meaningful connections. Hell, you can even be in a room full of people you love and feel lonely right? I think we can all agree that we’ve experienced loneliness and it’s unpleasant. But it may actually present actual physical and mental health concerns too. It probably comes as no surprise that people who report a high level of lonely feelings are at higher risk of depression and suicide. But did you know that it also puts you at higher risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease. Loneliness also correlates with an increased incidence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Lots of adults with lots going on and lots of people in their lives still deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation. In certain circumstances I think it can be pretty normal if still unsettling. Personally when Honey and I are in a funk and avoiding each other to an extent I can start to feel pretty lonely. Even if I wouldn’t regularly share a particular thought with him feeling like I can’t for a couple of days makes me feel pretty lonesome. Situations like that, being busy, a fight with a friend or work issues can combine to make you feel downright terrible and stuck that way. I’m not saying fitness is the cure to loneliness but I do think it’s a pretty realistic habit you can form to help you feel less isolated.
Fitness as a community
I think fitness starts off as alone time self-care for most of us. But as you stick with it certain opportunities just keep coming up. Maybe it’s a race, your chatty mat mate in yoga or just that you start finding common interests with new people. For example one of our occasional subs, a plumber is teaching a spinning class at the local community center this winter and he wants me to check it out. Believe it or not one of the concrete truck drivers we see regularly and I promised to swap our favorite fun 5k’s in 2020 and when I do go to that favorite yoga class of mine regularly I get invited to all that extra zen stuff. Adults if you think about it, don’t do many things where we get to meet and hang out with new people. However, your favorite fitness activity checks all of those boxes. Go to your local park run or run club enough times and not only will you have more runners to chat with you’ll probably end up with new runner friends.
Adults aren’t likely to take much time for themselves and way less likely to do so out of the house. One exception to that though is being involved in fitness. Who here has a fully equipped home gym? I’m guessing nobody but I could be wrong. I would say that’s a great thing to be missing though! Whether you schlep yourself to the local gym, yoga class or out on the streets for a run it’s a great way to bond with your tribe. Plus it’s not as intimidating as book club or a formal dinner party club. It’s also one of the few things you are likely to do for yourself that expands your social circle. For me personally I’m into the fitness world and honey is decidedly not. While he’s never give me flack or even side eye if I was to go to the spa, clothes shopping all the time or getting my nails done I’m not sure he’d be quite as supportive or encouraging. If I want to go out and do something active though he’s all for it! Since it’s a decidedly good thing for you to add into your life those that love you will be supportive of your fitness habit even if it’s not their thing. Once you get into it you’re sure to find some community out there!
I sort of doubt that anyone will start a new fit life mostly for the aspect of finding a sense of community alone. But… if it’s something you’ve been thinking about AND you’re looking for more social contact this might be help you get started. For dedicated exercisers out there do you find it helps extend your circle? How does staying fit help you avoid feelings of loneliness?