Annual Reflections: Loneliness

As we come to the end of 2020, as with any year, it’s important to look back, embrace the year for what it was, learn from it, and look ahead into the future. Usually, by this point in the year, I already have some idea of direction, plans, goals for the coming year. But this year, I got nothing. Which, if you know me, is really uncharacteristic of me. So, I want to use this time to delve into how this year has impacted me, what I’ve learned, and any glimmer into the year to come.

While I am an introverted homebody, I still recognize I need people in my life, a community, a village. This year has been lonely, even for me. And I realized that this has been building up for a while, and it took having to socially distance from large gatherings to understand my reality and how I got here.

When Michael and I were first married, we moved to the DFW area and met a lot of great friends. We would go to parties, outings, double date nights. It was a lot of fun. But that first wave of friends started having kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people having kids, but bandwidths and priorities change when a little one is introduced to a family. It’s just the way it is.

I celebrated, hosted baby showers, did all the things. And I learned that if I wanted to maintain these relationships, I had to reach out to them. I needed to be the one to go to their house and remember birthdays and listen to their struggles and their milestones. I want to reiterate that I didn’t hate this, I looked forward to it. And as a young married in her 20s, I had all the energy and time in the world to do this.

Soon, a new wave of friends came into our life, but this time, when everyone else started having babies. I was losing them. This time, I didn’t have the bandwidth to do the things I did before, and for whatever reason, those friendships drifted away. I tried to find a new community several times, but I felt alone. Really alone.

Finally, after six years, we gave birth to a beautiful baby. It felt like life could finally begin. I could finally connect with other moms and find the community I lost. After the first year (because that first year was a fog), I joined a mom’s Bible study group. I was so socially awkward. I felt like I had forgotten how to connect. But I finally found my groove and even signed my kid up for a two day preschool.

Which started January 2020.

Then the world stopped.

All of the sudden, my world shrank to our family. I stayed connected to a few friends online through Marco Polo. But the village was pretty much gone. Everyone was overwhelmed, and I just fell through the cracks.

Now, there is a lot of this story that is my responsibility. And believe me, I tell myself all the time that I should do better, put myself out there more, be less selfish, all the things. I recognize the amazing things in my life, embrace them with gratitude. But I’m still lonely.

It has given me a lot of time to walk with God, lean on him, turn to him. And I know that there are things ahead of me to look forward to. I guess I just want to write this a part of my 2020 experience to let others know that even if you have felt lonely this year, or in this season, just know that others are feeling it too.

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