a solo dance is not good enough

Sometimes, some health news alarms me, like this one which suggests we party to keep away dementia.

Because, I cannot party. Not because I don’t want to, but because partying means you have a social circle that accepts you into its fun-making, and a support system that allows a measure of spontaneity, and a personal nature that can set aside all bothersome thoughts and responsibilities to wear dancing shoes and a beaming smile.

A calm and outgoing personality” needs a possibility of venues to implement that outgoingness 🙂 Social contact may be a way to stave off dementia, but it cannot be my way. Most of my interactions with fellow humans is by reading what they write (I gobble books) or through online groups, or through a sense of sharing (however limited) that blogging gives me. I enjoy a sprinkling of phone conversations with friends who stay in touch even though we never can meet. That, according to another article I read, does not count as being socially active. You have to go out and meet them, period.

Funny, too, that many such articles also imply/ state that lack of social activity co-exists/ indicates/ increases probability of chronic distress.

I am not asocial by choice but by circumstance, but even earlier, I was that evil thing called “introvert” which is treated almost like a skin disease that needs the application of stern measures for my good 🙂

I do wish people would not assume that someone who is content to stay alone would be as distressed/ isolated as one who does so out of fear/ social inadequacy, and I do wish that people would not confuse between people who choose to stay isolated for fear/ negative reasons (but still, they choose) with others who are forced into such a situation because of lack of support systems and sheer empathy of others who could have helped.

Calm and outgoing is good, of course, especially if we look at biology and evolutionary imperatives. Being socially active makes evolutionary sense, so treating extroversion as normal has roots deep into our DNA. An ape stood less of a chance to survive in the wild alone, and a better chance if part of a group that could collectively guard against enemies, and collectively locate and share food, or groom its young. Equally explainable from the evolution point of view, is the suspicion in a group of one who is not that social–what is that member contributing to the group, is that an enemy, and so on…

The health implications of isolation may also spring from deep inside us, when isolation from a tribe was equal to danger, stress, and early death. I don’t know…I am speculating 🙂

Thinking further, given where we are now in terms of mutual dependence in actual terms, perhaps we are not really that bound to the sociability of others for our own survival any more. Maybe we can stop knee-jerk reactions to introversion, both when seen in others, and when seen in ourselves. Perhaps this is as inappropriate as reacting with a full physiological reaction of fight/ fright if a boss or teacher yells (they are not alpha males about to draw us into a fight-unto-death fight, or so I like to believe 🙂 ).

I wonder what studies say about that…must read up more to see how “socially active” is decomposed into its elements…

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About Swapna Kishore
I'm a writer, blogger, and resource person for dementia/ caregiving in India. I have also been a dementia caregiver for well over a decade, and am deeply concerned about dementia care in India; on this blog I share my personal caregiving journey, my experiences as a resource person for dementia care, and musings on life, aging, dementia in India, and such sundries. More about me and the work I do for dementia care. For structured information on dementia, for discussions, tools and tips on caregiving issues, for resources in India, and for caregiver interviews, please check my website http://dementiacarenotes.in (or its Hindi version, http://dementiahindi.com). For videos on dementia caregiving (English and Hindi), check the youtube channel here.

One Response to a solo dance is not good enough

  1. austere says:

    I think this research is way over rated.
    As long as you are comfortable in your skin, how does it matter?

    Compulsory chit chat and wearing the happy face is as bad as back to back Ekta Kapoor serials prime time- I refuse to comply, I rebel.

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