The problem with studies like Social Cities from Melbourne’s Grattan Institute is that they cling to old-fashioned notions of social norms. Like the difference between suburban and city life and what it means to be part of a community.
According to their research, the fact that 25 per cent of Australian city dwellers live in single occupancy households, shows a heightened increase in the national experience of loneliness and isolation. But just because a person lives alone, does not mean that they are lonely.
Ask anyone who might be sharing with their extended family right now, or living in a share house. To people like this, the idea of living alone and having your own space is a luxury. You get to come home to a house just the way you left it, have full ownership of the contents of your fridge and never have to fight over the remote.
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Tonight is the night when the lucky get to celebrate their fortune with the ones who make them fortunate. Valentine’s Day. Lover’s day. A day for the loved and a sad day for those who are not. Nobody ever mentions the unloved on this day, and they’re the very people who should be cared for the most. So I’m going to have a go.
So much of life in the 21st century is built on being loved – finding a partner, settling down, having children, making a home. Doing that makes you “successful” as a human being. By extension, not doing that makes you a “failure”. You have failed as a person. You are not loved, you are not important. You have nobody who wishes to witness your life. The heartbroken - the lonely, the loveless - are seen by society as pitiful. They are immature, wounded, insane, not complete. We insult them by telling them they “need help”.
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