I clocked out at Chick-fil-A Murphy for the last time 2 days ago. Four years and 3 months. The only real job I’ve ever had. I wish I could concentrate what I am feeling into a few big words. I wish these emotions were easy to differentiate between. Excitement. New opportunities. Big things ahead. Terrified. I graduated from college last May. No more school for at least a year or two. I don’t know. Freedom. I can choose to do whatever I want with my life. Nice. What have I gotten myself into? Conflicted. Time to look for a new job. More money! More responsibilities. Ugh. Being unemployed! Fun. I wish it was easy to just feel one way about one life event and feel another emotion for another part of life. But my hyperactive brain makes connections even where there shouldn’t be any, and the cascading implications of ending my long-time job and graduating college are inexplicably entwined with the status of all my friendships and the emotional turmoil of last week’s frisbee tournament. If that was a little bit difficult to follow then you got the right idea.
I feel like all the things that have given my life structure, purpose, forward momentum, and marked growth are ending. I am faced with the daunting reality of unlimited potential and almost total freedom that is adult life. I haven’t even turned 21 yet! I thought I was supposed to be a little bit older before I got to this part.
What do you hold on to, as life seems to speed up and suddenly halt without warning?
What do you hold on to, as old friendships lose closeness and all that seems to be left is happy history?
What do you hold on to, as new friends come around only to leave just as quickly?
What do you hold on to, when the relationships and values you so confidently believed would last forever are challenged and stretched?
What do you hold on to, as you pass milestone after milestone of achievement, but don’t know if you’ve really lost more or gained more along the way?
I know, deep in my heart, that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is unchanging and ever-loving, and He has a plan and a purpose for every pebble in the landslide of my life right now. I know that it is ok to doubt and to question. And I know that the people and the places I surround myself with will influence my questions and my health and my decisions. I know that my faith could be stronger, or my heart could be more committed.
I know that Christ is the one thing I can hold on to.
I should stop right there, but my mind does not. Life is a constant game of keeping your priorities in order. So while I struggle to keep God at the top, don’t I still need to order everything underneath Him? How did I get back so quickly to the title card? What am I holding on to?
One of the most common conundrums I mull over with myself is why I often feel so lonely. Unrealistic expectations, codependency, insecurity, depression, isolation.
Never mind, that question is answered.
But no, I guess that knowing the answer to a math equation is not the same as solving it. And feeling lonely is not always the result of a lack of friendship either. I am told I am well-liked. And many more people have taken a chance on me and read this blog than I ever would have imagined, so that’s cool. I grew up with a small, tight circle of friends, in leadership roles with people who respected and looked up to me. Since then my circle of friendship has grown significantly, multiplied even, and I feel like I’m often not living up to the respect I feel I once earned. I am constantly navigating between adult friends and teenager friends, old friends and new friends, Christian friends and secular friends, frisbee friends and church friends. Friends friends friends. I’m not sure if any of this makes sense, and I'm not sure if you can see how my brain connects this half of the post to the top half, but I hope you can at least tell how much I overthink it. I have lots of friends - I really do. So why do I still feel so lonely?
Allow me to try and explain.
When I really like someone, when I am really excited by a person or a group of people, I want to be as close to them as possible. I want to learn their fears and traumas and insecurities, because by showing people I can be trusted with their vulnerability, it creates a rare and rewarding bond. Those bonds of friendship bring me so much joy and excitement, and there is nothing I value more than feeling like I helped someone feel better. The problem is the unrealistic expectations I then find myself adopting, and the jealousy I begin to feel when other people are similarly close to my friends. Sometimes in the way that I care for people, I try to take responsibility for someone else’s pain, and then end up feeling hurt when someone else does not do the same for me. I worry about if they consider me a “close friend”, or if I am annoying or coming on too strong. I love my friends to death, and forget that it isn’t a healthy thing to expect people to do for you, or do at all for that matter. And I wonder why I feel so lonely haha… I haven’t even used words like clingy, manipulative, or petty yet. Whew. I think I am the crazy ex-girlfriend.
I’m not quite sure how we got all the way here, but if you read this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I say in almost every single one of my posts, that once I have gotten through the entire ordeal of writing it, I really just need to post it regardless of its quality for my own sanity's sake. I like to imagine that somewhere in the midst of me partially processing my own chaos of thoughts, I can inspire or encourage another soul who often feels lost like me. If you read this far and all you feel is confused… I totally get it. I hope maybe you at least got to know me a little better.
I don’t know if I ever got to say what I was trying to with this whole post. I don’t feel like I’m doing well. I don’t feel prepared for what’s next. I don’t feel like a good friend. I don’t feel like a good influence. All I feel like right now is somebody looking for happiness, friendship, and positive affirmation that I don’t think I deserve. It is now the fourth night in a row I have been awake till 3 am, and I don't have enough creative juices to make a final allusion to the idea of holding on to the right things in life and letting go of others to create an emphatic conclusion. So I hope you get the point.