As a 20-something year old I was feeling extremely isolated and really lonely.
I always painted a picture of my social life in my 20’s to be cocktails every weekend, fluffy pajama sleepovers and mocha’s on Sunday morning. I would really like to have the sort of social life that looked something like that, however I don’t and I would love to one day build up a social life that may look something like that.
I went through a stage recently where I found myself feeling like I didn’t really have any friends around me who I could “groove” with on a fundamental level. As usual, I turn to Sex and The City; now those girls really grooved with each other. (Yes I know it’s just a movie okay!)
It was a stage where I didn’t really feel like seeing any people, I wanted to just hibernate in my home and do my thing. But I kept mentally and emotionally kicking myself because, why do you feel this way? You love people? You have friends who invite you out? Why do you keep saying “no thanks”? I was a young woman who was in the prime of her life; my 20’s was supposed to be the decade of parties every night and brunches every day. I had my friends inviting me to go out with them there, or go with them to see that thing here. I just…didn’t feel like going.
I realize in hindsight that it probably didn’t help that I felt like I couldn’t really be my authentic self with the people in my social life. But the only way you can find people you vibe with well, is to go out your front door…which I didn’t feel like doing. Do you see the dilemma here?
Going through this period and coming out of it made me realize a few things:
- Don’t bully yourself out of it:
Mentally yelling at myself for feeling the way that I did just made me more despondent. Just treating the way that you are feeling with some gentle acceptance and respect will help you to mentally grow out of this period more constructively. Accept the way that you are feeling and listen to what your mind is telling you it needs during that time. I know it doesn’t feel invigorating to be home on a Friday night, but it may be what you need at the time to move forward.
- Spend this period of isolation wisely:
You may feel like you don’t really want to be social or see anyone, but that doesn’t mean you need to vegetate on your couch the whole time. Do something that will refresh your soul and give you the opportunity to self-reflect. Go outside, read something, watch some Ted Talks. You get the idea.
- Know that this period will pass, and then it may just come again:
I am going to coffee with a friend tomorrow morning. I’ve gently led my drunken friend off of the pavement into their bed as we laughed and stumbled. The period of isolation passed. However, I am pretty sure that at another stage in the future another period of isolation will come into fruition.
I realized that I needed to let go of this preconceived idea of what this decade was supposed to look like and gently embrace each stage of emotion I need to experience when it arises, despite that preconceived picture.