Pen Pals and CB Radios | #MyFridayStory №219

Photo by David Rama from Pexels

When humans connect with humanness — as loving beings — beautiful things happen.

Since the beginning of time, we’ve thrived as a species by connecting with others. Whether we’re hunting for meat, gathering fruit, or trekking over mountains — we did it together in social groups. It’s this human connection that’s advanced our world from gathering and hunting for our food to shopping for it in a supermarket.

We need human connection.

According to Psych Central, there are major benefits to social connection.

Mental health boost

Social connections can offer several mental health benefits, such as boosting mood, reducing stress, and improving self-esteem.

Longer lifespan

Some research suggests that social isolation can increase the chances of death by up to 50%. A lack of human connection was found to be more harmful than even obesity and smoking.

Improved quality of life

Isolation has been shown to impact not only our physical health but our emotional health, too. A lack of social connection may be associated with obesity, and up to a 30% increased chance of stroke and heart disease.

Increased fulfilment

When we connect our brains release dopamine and endorphins — the “feel good” neurotransmitters responsible for happiness and mood.

Growing up in South Africa in the 1960s and 70s, our isolation delayed certain advancements reaching our shores. Television was only launched in 1976, years after the rest of the world. Movies only reached us many months — or years, or not at all — after their release overseas. All content — from movies to newspapers, to books, magazines, television stations, radio stations, our news, our music, our advertisements, everything — was censored by the apartheid government.

This pushed the enlightened folks to find alternate ways of gaining unfiltered insights from the rest of the world. Overseas travel was rare for many of us back then. For us white kids craving to know more about people from other places, this meant finding a pen pal overseas. You found a pen pal through a schoolteacher or in a newspaper classified ad. You write handwritten letters to each other and build up a friendship — long distance — virtually.

A pen pal caused human connection.

The 70s brought us the Citizen Band Radio — CBs. Used only by truckers before — especially in the flashy long-haul 18-wheelers seen in the USA — CB radios became a hit as people at home installed a system and took to the airwaves. In South Africa, a whole subculture was born where friendships blossomed over long distances using an unregulated broadcast medium. The cryptic language and easy-going manner of the members further entrenched the camaraderie.

CB radios caused human connection.

Yesterday, 16 December 2021 was Reconciliation Day in South Africa. The need for human connection — with love — is now.

Our differences can’t be what keeps us apart any longer. If you search your soul and find yourself wanting reconciliation, consider it today.

Men should try reconciling with women. Straight people should try reconciling with the LGBTQI+ community. White people should try reconciling with people of colour. The Zulu people should try reconciling with their Xhosa brothers and sisters. Afrikaners, we should try reconciling with our fellow South African brothers and sisters.

From pen pals and CB radios to WhatsApp and LinkedIn, we find ways to connect — with humanness. Everyone craves feeling valued, seen, and heard. Try to find a way to make everyone you meet feel like that.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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Frans Nel

Frans Nel

Curiousor and curiousor

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