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The Nuclear Family and Loneliness

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Erg
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I've often blamed the 50s for many of America's current ills. (Also because Pluto in cancer would probably wreck me.)  I believe that the tendency of America to be very nuclear family and child focused (but not community focused) since then has brought a lot of malaise for future generations. For instance, the tendency for children to move far off, raise their own kids in remote suburbs, and alienate the rest of their families. (Also the 60s response of a sexual revolution that made it easier to have sex, but did nothing to empower women or deepen relationships.) Or how much we depend on living in distant places and car travel. This makes it harder to make friends and connect with people as you get older, separating to raise kids, then as an empty nester. In other places I've been, in Segovia people of all ages hang out together and get coffees at all hours of the day. In china, older people do t'ai chi and square dancing in parks at 6 am and take an active (some might say too active) part in their families. Plus they socialize a lot. Many of them raise their grandchildren while their children work. 

I'm not sure I'm advocating a return to the village or filial piety, I just think that in America it is more challenging to socialize and that is unhealthy. I think it has really done a number on the health of Americans and has exacerbated the danger of smartphones creating alienation. It could be my city or the suburb I grew up in that makes my opinions stronger. 

What do you do to seek a sense of community? What places have you been that have a strong, interesting community? 

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Aquacheeka
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My boyfriend and I both moved from the suburbs to the city in our early 20s. We both have built a sense of community and have tons of cultural things to do in the summer through to fall (winter is busy with family stuff/Christmas season). The downtown core of our city for us is like a village, we're constantly running into people we know. I feel that if someone feels isolated they're probably either self-isolating by nature (maybe introverted or shy), or else they live in an isolated location without tons of people.

 

I will however say that in my city there is a tendency to keep to one's own friend groups when out in public places - politeness sort of taken to the extreme of standoffishness or fear of approaching strangers - and it can be hard to make friends initially but once you have, it's easy because your friend will incorporate you into their friend group and so on and before you know it, you know a million people, just from that one coworker or date, or whatever.

 

I avoid the tendency to idealize the past. Frankly, we don't know that it was great - we don't live there; never did. I know that for myself, whatever heartaches I may have had as I had to sort of learn to find my own footing more independently, I am glad I had them. It was worth it to be able to prune my own life and forge my own path and discard whatever wasn't working for me in the deepest way. I feel like that was far more inhibited before and that left people sort of trapped in less-than-ideal situations.

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Tam
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I live in a small town so it's easy. I have Jupiter in Cancer in the first house so honestly I have had community everywhere I have gone. There is always someone speaking to me wherever I am and it's not my looks. ha ha

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alpha
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I agree with you Erg. I am not an American, but an observer. People seem a lot lonelier on this continent than where I come from. 

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Candela
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I'm not an American either, but come from a socially Americanized country, in that people move far away from their families, even abroad. My own family isn't typical in that I grew up with my paternal grandparents, too, and they were in touch to our extended family, although many of them lived hundreds of miles apart. And since my Granddad had 10 and Grandmother 8 siblings surviving to adulthood, there were loads of relatives. My Dad had more than 70 (!) cousins. My Dad and siblings carried the tradition ahead. Also, my Granddad was an Aquarian with a strong underlying Capricorn signature,  and a teacher in a time teachers didn't get salary for Summer months. So, he was a blacksmith first and later had a small business, too, well into his 70's.  When he was alive, we had his old students and clients coming over as well. I only realized how extraordinary it was when I went to school and realized my friends lived just with their parents most of the time. It's a pity I've lost this. I live in a big town myself, now. I'm in touch with my cousins, one second cousin and my Dad's youngest cousin who is just a couple of years older than me.

I used to live in Italy, small town, and it was very different there. It wasn't even South of the country, but typically  kept in touch with their families and people they grew up with. Maybe even more than in South, because there was work where I lived, so most people stayed put where they were born and went to school.

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Elsa
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