top of page

When is it My Turn: 4 Tips for Building Character in the Loneliness Epidemic

Do you ever wonder when it will be your time to flourish? Finding success in young adulthood is confusing and nonlinear, what If I told you there’s a way out?

As I stumble through the barren wasteland that is my early 20s, I sometimes think to myself; “When is it my turn”? Whether you’re a sufferer of loneliness or a typical late bloomer, it can often feel like you’re light years behind in experience from our well-seasoned peers. As we know, developing meaningful relationships in a post-pandemic world is a challenge many of us did not expect to face. Bombarded by misinformation and disinformation, tragedies and war-stricken times, our happiness is thwarted by the decaying nature of humanity itself. 

Now, add a mental health crisis and a staggering rise in loneliness and we’ve become completely dependent on social media for our escapism. No one is meant to mope around on their phone scrolling through TikTok and reels, seeking solace in flickering images of a promised life unlived. Instead, let’s get out there and claim our turn in life! Rather than waiting around for the world to get its sh#@! together. While I navigate the bumpy road to adulthood, here are 4 methods that are helping me survive through this isolation.

Don’t “Gatekeep” Yourself.

Popularized by TikTok, to be a gatekeeper in the 2020s is to withhold information about a product, media, or even yourself. Some might call gatekeeping protecting your peace, but I believe that it’s an excuse to be comfortably excluded from our peers. In recent times, I’ve found gatekeeping to be sort of ridiculous, so why wouldn’t I want to share my invaluable findings? Maybe I want to keep my favorite denim brand covert or hide the secret to my quaffed hair. Nonetheless, What’s the point?  I’ve determined that it’s irrelevant that others might be gatekeeping themselves but that I don’t have to follow suit. I’m not implying that one be fully unraveled, but I’ve found that extending yourself is more impressive than being elusive.

Please, reach out already!

There’s absolutely no shame in reaching out to a cool classmate, co-worker, or potential mentor. It’s actually quite admirable, you deserve to be surrounded by those who spur curiosity and tingle your excitement. Although rejection is a painful emotion to tackle, it’s vital to monitor your anxiety and think about the lack of severity these interactions hold in the bigger picture. A lot of the time, these cohorts feel the same amount of pressure to find their own people. If you haven’t been given the boot already, make a point of greeting this person, striking up a conversation, and being vulnerable and reflective when responding to others. If you miss them in person, pick up the phone! Decoding vague text messages and interpreting typos is too cumbersome and frustrating. At least In person or on the phone, misunderstandings can be addressed intuitively and in real-time, without the burden of texting politics. 

Although maintaining your immediate relationships is crucial, it’s also key for you to nourish communication with the cast of individuals in your daily life. Like the cashier at your supermarket or the server at your favorite restaurant. Form connections with those who preserve public spaces you reside in. These are the individuals who are the cornerstones of our safety, wellness, and comfort. Developing empathy and having meaningful interaction with people of all walks of life is not only valuable for yourself but also for the state of the world. 

Move Your Body! 

Literally, move your body! Dance, run, jump, and get your juices flowing. The best way to combat isolation or boredom could be remedied by simply grooving to your favorite tune. Moving your body isn’t just for getting your steps in, but also for stimulating the soul. If you’re blessed with a healthy body, truly appreciate it and be thankful for your mobility. I feel the most exhilarated flailing my arms and kicking my legs to the punky rumble of the Ramones. Or sprinting along the river shirtless, with the yellow hue of the summer sunshine on my back. It’s the most mundane aspects of my routine that help me stay grounded, and secure and stave off my most depressive thoughts!

Claim Your Turn.

It’s not worth it to yearn for things to materialize out of nowhere. The truth is, you’re the only one who holds sway over your destiny. Take the risk of rejection, and embarrassment, always have intention, claim your turn in life, and own it! 

Written by Nathan Zierlein

Illustration by @poz.gram on Instagram

bottom of page