Rediscovering the human connection
By Ethan Lyon
In times of excess and frivolity, objects and things can distract people from meaningful relationships—a crucial element in defining who we are and where we belong. Surface level connections of the recent past are undercut by deeper relationships as we re-prioritize what is important to us.
Friends and Family—As we look to others for support in times of hardships, we rediscover meaningful relationships in our lives. Friends and family is our support network when all else fails. Jobs, money, cars are fleeting. What really matters in the end is what relationships we have developed with those around us and their impact on our lives. A magnitude of virtual connections and social networking still cannot replace intimate, real human connections.
Social Schema—Humans form natural groups. Finding where we fit in and what group we’re a part of, is going to be more valued than in previous years.. Everyone has a work schema; a family schema; a friend schema. Who is included, or excluded, is going to be more important in the future, as we re-prioritize who we accept into our lives.
Spiritual Community—Within a spiritual community there exists a higher sense of purpose and belonging. Synagogues, temples, churches are central to communities. They serve as a rally-point for individuals to share in a collective way of life. Externally, volunteering and community-building efforts contribute to an overall higher sense of purpose.
Human Connection is Priceless—Though The Dark Night and Iron Man broke box office records in 2008, Hollywood has taken a dip in ticket sales this past year—a 6.7% dip. It’s about practicality. Asking simple questions like, “Should I spend $15 to go to a movie and sit in a dark room and not talk to anyone, or can I take a have a picnic in the park for free,” are examples of how Americans are budgeting their time and thinking practically. Netflix was—no surprise—one of the high performers of the new year.
Anti-Material Gifts—Do we really need another sweater, or another gift card? Can you even remember that sweater you were given by your girlfriend in high school? I bet you can remember when you took a road trip to the Adirondacks, though. The point is giving an experience for Christmas or a celebration is more meaningful than things. Finding ways of strengthening our relationships will be more important as we re-define our relationships. As Target highlighted in their “Brand New Day” campaign, camping equipment is one such example of a gift that give more and strengthen the bonds between each other.
Active Religion— The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service received a grant from the British government to address child safety precautions in a 60-minute DVD, spanning many languages for those in multi-cultural communities. The project required many people with a variety of skills working collectively to produce an end-product conducive to the betterment of those living within the community.
Meal Baby—Typically, registries are for weddings and baby showers. But, Meal Baby is taking the concept of a gift registry to another level. Meal Baby offers an online registry for those in recovery—whether it’s from surgery or having a baby. Just register your favorite foods and restaurants, send the registry to your friends and family via e-mail, and you could have help making savory chicken soup or take a break from your kitchen to go out to your favorite restaurant.
Togetherness, Free, Inexpensive/Priceless, Belonging, Human Connection, Family & Friends, Meaningful
Download the full 2009 Trend Report in PDF format