The Power of One Among Many

If there was any before, there can be no doubt now: Housework sucks, especially when you use ammonia to clean. When a woman tells a man that she loves housework, it’s not the actual act of cleaning that she loves, it is that she shows her love by taking care of him. Think about that before you leave your smelly socks and skidded up underwear on the bedroom floor.

“The average American household has two and a half children.” The first time I heard that, I thought, “What? The S.O.B.’s went around and chopped kids in two?” Today, I read that the average person has six and a half close friends; that’s all we’re able to wrap our minds around. Six and a half? It’s no wonder I suck at math – these statements just don’t make sense. I’ll have nightmares until I figure out just which one of my friends is walking around with only one arm and one leg.

Yesterday, I read about a blogger who was a successful and published novelist. With a three-book contract cancelled after his second book, he sank into despair. He said it was blogging that resurrected his writing “mojo” and incidentally, launched him into a far more successful – and stable – writing career. The key, he said, is to always deliver value.

I ran into an article this morning that described a longitudinal study that began in 1948. It consisted of over 5,000 participants for the purpose of tracing cardiopulmonary incidences. Interestingly, the handwritten research notes included each participant’s family members and close friends for the purpose of keeping track of them. By accident, those notes sketched out a whole town’s social network. Though it took five years to extrapolate from the notes, what was discovered is that it is the social network itself that is a much greater influence on things such as obesity, smoking and well-being. To test those findings in today’s world, a university’s student body’s Facebook accounts reflected the same thing: People who are happy tend to have happy friends (based on smiling profile photos) and that happiness spreads to reach those that may not be so happy.

From the unconscious misconceptions of relationships (housework) to misunderstanding ‘averages’ (cut in half children, oh my) to defining your personal success, what actually becomes the deciding factor is our social networks. But, how does this all boil down for you and I?

When I was raising my son, I did the housework without thought. I neither liked nor disliked it. I took satisfaction in creating a clean, attractive environment for his healthy growth. Nowadays, living alone, I only have me to worry about, and since my life is usually too busy to visit or be visited, the housework …eh. It’s always still right there when I get to it.

I define my close friends by those I can call, no matter how long the gaps in between, be it years or just hours, we can pick right up where we left off. I have very close friends I haven’t talked to in years, but I know when we do talk again, we will still be simpatico. We may have traveled different paths, but we are still very close.

On the other hand, the man who has had my heart for the last 15 years I know very little about. I don’t know what he likes to eat or what his typical day is like. I have no idea how messy (or clean) his home is, and I don’t know if he’s cranky when he first wakes up in the morning. But, the years apart revealed that we have both grown in the same directions, with passionate creativity the markers we define ourselves by.

There was never any doubt before, and there is none now: Writing – blogging – is my lifeline. I have come to question many times the potential value of what I write during the last two years of writing this blog, and I have come to realize that it’s not just writing, it is me that I share here. As much of a loner as I am in my physical life, it’s this ‘social networking’ and openly sharing my self that is as much of a marker of value as I’ve ever known.

Prophesies are just as infinite as possibilities, something to keep in mind as you run into any statistic or research findings. None of us have to fit into any generalities of any sort. As soon as we become aware of a prophesy, possibility, statistic or theory, we have altered and decreased its power over us.

The key then becomes a matter of choice: Will you be a positive influence within your social network?


  1. What a wonderful and insightful post. It was exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you! : D

  2. Ah, read over coffee? I'm just sayin'... :-D