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“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” -Kim Culbertson
Kim Culbertson is an award-winning American fiction writer of young adult literature. She has published four books since 2007. In 2012, she won the Northern California Book Award for her second book “Instructions from a Broken Heart”. She’s also a college advisor and a creative writing teacher at Forest Charter School.
Young adult literature, or often called “YA”, revolves around the struggles of young people in their journey towards self-identity and belongingness. Recently, young adult books have become extremely popular owing to movie adaptations such as Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”, John Green’s “The Fault in Our “Stars”, and the blockbuster hit “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins—to name a few.
The quote above came from Kim Culbertson’s 2012 ebook novella “The Liberation of Max MacTrue”. It may be the typical YA romance, but it’s also about taking charge of one’s life and accepting oneself. Although it was from a YA book, the fear of loneliness transcends age. In fact, it’s a particularly serious health risk for old people. Several studies have shown the relationship of social relationships and mortality risk, even comparing loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. However, a study has also found that being around “wrong people” can do similar health risks—even greater. Being in an unhealthy relationship makes you unfulfilled and insecure instead of content and confident.
Being alone is not synonymous to feeling lonely. To quote Tanya Davis: “Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.”