As Toronto braces for another lockdown, beware of loneliness and learn to overcome it

Many of us watch our parents getting old and seeping into a pool of loneliness. To us, it seems restful and peaceful at first, a kind of relaxing mind-spa that we actually secretly long for when squished by the speed of the everyday.


The truth is that in those moments we grossly confuse loneliness with being alone. The bliss of a restful moment to compose yourself and recharge has nothing to do with the feeling of loneliness and it is definitely not a prerequisite of old age.

Photo by Timon Studler


Who would’ve thought, yet studies show us that loneliness peaks before we turn thirty, in that time-frame right after graduation. The three key factors that influence it most are friend-making issues, living your life by chasing what you think your life should be, and not knowing how to motivate yourself to get out and initiate change. This last one is the most crippling out of the three.

Photo by Christopher Campbell


The resistance to change is something that as a designer I deal with all the time. It’s baffling, really, because you would think that when people renovate they are ready, they have accepted the fact that they are going to make changes and they’ve recognized that they will be letting go of things in order to make room for better.

There is an expectation for “better”, yes, but only at the cost of letting go of specific things they are willing and ready to let go of.

Photo by Erik Lucatero

When I come into the picture, an outsider, with a clear eye and substantial design knowledge, and I propose that we may want to remove more than what they are ready to let go because otherwise, the change will not really be for the better but rather a patched, slapped together wanna-be interior, Inevitably, surprise and resistance ensues.

The process then shifts toward an elaborate visualization exercise that helps them see what I see, the beauty of a cohesive whole where at one point, it becomes obvious to them, as it is to me, that the germinal design itself has the power to guide what has to go. Beyond me and them, the projects have personality and power and they assert themselves in our minds first and then, in reality.

Photo by Gabriel Silverio

Of course, this does not happen every time and with every project yet when it does, the reward is wonderful – seeing the joy and elated surprise at how wonderful it all comes together.

Fearful and at times uncomfortable to obey, we find the same power on the outskirts of loneliness. We just need to reach out and allow ourselves to touch it.

As hard as it is to believe, loneliness is more often than not self provoked. And that, theoretically, makes it so easy to overcome.

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