Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Missing Buttons

Imagine yourself getting dressed. You proceed to do up your buttons, top one first, then the next, but as you proceed down the line you realize you are missing one. Your mind scrambles to remember the 'tug' or the little thread that was pulled releasing the anchor from its moor. You try to recall the sound it made as it dropped to the floor, and where you tucked it for safekeeping until such time as you could reattach it.

What happens when we don't maintain connections; when we become careless and don't attend to strengthening them? It may be a bit of a stretch to equate missing buttons to soul loss but consider what happens when we can no longer 'keep it all neatly tucked inside'?

Human contact is essential. Evidently, having someone to confide in is very good for our health.

I was remembering an interview documenting the growing social isolation among people in North America. A professor at Duke University had conducted a survey that revealed North Americans have fewer close confidantes than they did twenty years ago. The numbers indicate a dramatic social change.

Is human contact diminishing? Could our prevalent use of the Internet be influencing whether we have fewer close ties?

There could be numerous explanations, including the changing nature of our interactions. Society has become more racially diverse. We tend to have smaller families, marry later in life, and have fewer children than we did twenty years ago. People are spending more hours in the labour force, partly as a result of more women going to work. People are more dispersed geographically and tend to have longer commutes due to proliferating suburban communities. Socioeconomics continue to play a role as people who are well educated, white, and well off, tend to have more resources than people who lack education, or who are from minority racial or ethnic groups.

One major area of note is that women tend to have more confidantes than men. Just as physical fitness has its own rewards, having someone to confide in is equally important. Researchers who have studied the relationship between stress and disease speak of the mind-body connection or the 'body and soul connection' commenting that one of the best things a person can do to nurture good health is to maintain quality relationships. Having someone to talk to aids in combating stress, fatigue, and difficult life experiences.

The researchers also found that women tend to share from their souls and connect with other women, confiding on a deeper personal level about relationships and day-to-day pressures, while men tend to emphasize superficial or communal interests, and therefore don't develop as many emotional associations as women.

The question remains whether to button up or not.


  1. Buttons always make me thankful... that I learned the importance of little things, and that daily practical routines can be like prayers.

  2. I love collections of old buttons...something about them. The randomness, how unique each one can be... and the length of time it takes to build a "collection" lends an added feeling of antiquity. =)