03 October 2013

on grace and disappointment

A friend of mine recently told me she was bored. 

But here's the thing: she's really busy. She has a robust social calendar. A fulfilling job where she's able to give back to a cause she's passionate about. She has four trips coming up between now and Thanksgiving. Her life is anything but boring.

So why does she feel bored?

It took me back to this winter, when I felt crazy busy, but kept telling my friends I was bored. I sincerely felt bored. But, the truth is, I was not bored, but instead lonely. 

And not lonely because I was alone all the time. I was, in fact, very rarely alone. Keeping my calendar full, my schedule busy. Running from one event to the next, feet never touching the ground. No, I was never alone, but I still felt lonely.

On one particularly frustrating day, I told another friend I was bored. As I said it my voice cracked and I almost started to cry. She looked at me for a minute and asked if I really felt bored, or if I felt lonely? I told her I didn't feel lonely - I was never alone. 

She told me, very carefully: You feel lonely because you don't feel known. 

I wasn't bored. I wasn't alone. But I was lonely, because I felt like a puzzle piece in the world's biggest one million piece puzzle. I felt like a wave in an ocean. We were all moving together, but where were we going? And would anyone notice if I went another direction? 

Sometimes I think in our 20s, whether single, married or dating someone, we can feel very alone. Half of the time we don't know who we are - so how can we even begin to explain it to someone else? Some days I wake up so sure of myself, positive I am making the right choices, going the right direction. But other days I wake up panicked, uncertain. What am I doing with my life? Should I live here, go there? Am I saving enough money? And don't I deserve to indulge sometimes, too? And what about my future, my life plan, my ovaries?

How can we expect others to know us when we're swirling with questions, too? 

But I think we need to give ourselves more grace. Guys, we're just doing our best! And that's great. We have time to figure out all of these answers - they will begin to fall into place. But until then, not everything has to feel perfect, every day.

I was recently talking to a friend about a revelation she'd had. She said: and then I realized, it's OK to admit I'm a little disappointed by this phase of life. 

What? I made her repeat that sentence.

Disappointed by this phase of life.

Interesting. I'd never thought of saying anything like that.

I'm not always rainbows and butterflies, but I definitely see my glass half full. To characterize an entire season of life as "disappointing" felt extreme to me.

But she went on to explain it. It's not that this phase is a failure. It is not that she's angry or unhappy. But, on the whole, she'd say she expected more from it. She thought she'd be married by now, probably with a baby. Or, at the very least, if she was still unwed, she thought she'd have a higher paying job and bigger title (possibly international travel on the docket?). 

She is not disappointed in herself. She's doing her best - giving her all. But she's ready for the next phase. And you know what else? She's a little lonely. And sometimes she feels sad. And she reminded me that it is OK to feel this way. 

I needed that reminder. I think sometimes I put so much pressure on myself to figure it out. I'm sad. Why? I am frustrated. Why? I am nervous. Why, why, why?

But maybe, sometimes it's OK to admit that we're just feeling something because we're real, and our emotions are raw, constantly changing. And that we need grace. We need time to figure things out. We might feel lonely today and like the king of the jungle tomorrow. And that is so, so OK. We don't have to know everything. We just have to do our best and be there for one another when we feel lonely. Because, as I told my friend this week, we are far from alone. In fact, we're all in this big world together.


  1. THIS. This is by far the best thing I needed to read today. Thank you for posting this.

    Your posts always make me think and make me leave your page feeling....just better.

    We are all in this together (as cheesy as that High School Musical song is).



    1. thank you so much!

      ps it's a great songgg

  2. Your posts are always so insightful. It's like you took the thoughts and feelings in my head, rearranged them, and somehow made them all make sense. I know that feeling of being "bored", and ever since I have simplified my life recently, I feel anything but. Sometimes just a good cup of coffee and a walk somewhere pretty can clear everything up.

    Love reading as always!


  3. I woke up early this morning and after some quiet time and sipping 1232 cups of coffee was feeling "funky" and thought I'd read from your blog since it always refreshes me and this. this post.

    this post just put on my tangled thoughts into something that makes perfect sense.
    so thankful for you and your words!

  4. I read Robyn's blog post and decided to pop on over to check it out...this post could not have come at a better time! Thank you for the insight and for the kind, real words. I know the exact feeling, somedays I feel it and some days I don't...and that is OK and I am so glad to know I am not the only one.

    1. thank you tara! i am so glad you understand how i feel, too!

  5. Whit,

    Thanks soooo much for posting this, it really hit home for me. I have already read it a few times! You capture the thoughts of a us in our mid 20's perfectly. What we are all thinking, you are able to put into words.

    Keep up this great blog!

    xx- Anna

  6. Hi Whitney! I just found your blog through The Real Life RD, and I am sending a link to this post to so many of my friends ... this was just what I needed to read today, and I know my friends will feel the same way! Reading your words makes me feel like someone else just GETS it. You're amazing, thanks so much for your blog!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


i'd loooove to hear from you! you make my day! <3