I have been busy hopping to and fro these past few weeks. It is a welcome and refreshing return to activity and life. As an extroverted introvert (or introverted extrovert?), I feel quite satisfied by this. Poor Wilber has poked at me numerous times (in love): “Have you looked at the blog?” “Dawn, you need to write a post.” “Dawn, write one next week.” “DAWN. YOU MISSED THE WHOLE MONTH OF FEBRUARY.” Yes. I did. I do feel rather guilty about it. It’s not too hard to sit down and write. But now that I have a moment to reflect after all of the busy-ness, I am ever so grateful for these past few weeks.

When I was in Wisconsin, I was very lonely. I worked my night shift job, and I lived alone. I tutored refugees, which was rewarding, but I was alone. My church was there for me, but I had retreated into my cocoon. It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that this is a very unhealthy sign for an extrovert. It is with relief that I can say that I’m glad to be out of my dingy hole, and it’s made me ever so much more thankful for the life I am living now.

There have been numerous times I have fallen into that hole. I guess I could call it depression. There were times I wanted to die. I didn’t actively think suicidal thoughts, but my main thought was I need to get out of here somehow; just get me out. Get me out! My heart turned numb as I binge-watched season after season of meaningless television in order to feed off of the emotions of the characters. Dear Wilber recognized my sorry state when she came to live with me for a month and bluntly told me that I needed to get out of there, to move. Maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t clean up after myself and my house was a pigsty. Maybe it was my pitiful sniveling. Whatever it was, she wasn’t having it. I was stubborn. I didn’t want to move because I still felt tied to the non-profit organization I had been with and didn’t want to leave on a sour note. I wanted to lift myself up out of my hole, pull myself up by my bootstraps, dust myself off, and cheerily make it as a single in a foreign land.

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Just as a side observation, I have noticed many 20-somethings go through a similar phenomenon: striking out into the great unknown, away from family and friends, trying to be independent and make it as singles alone. Here’s my thoughts: being a single living alone is hard, and it takes a lot of careful planning to be emotionally healthy. Social activities and friendships must be purposely built into schedules and given time. One must faithfully endure the awkwardness of new relationships. It can be done. And in the right line of work and situation, it can be very rewarding.

But there’s nothing so comfortable as an old friendship that has been through many kinds of trials or a close knit family that fights with you but will also fight even harder for you. See, I needed those old, comfortable relationships. I had many new and nice and wonderful friends, but when the difficulties hit and I began living on my own, my new friendships weren’t enough. I was grateful for them. I really was. But in retrospect I can say that I was not healthy. the difference between my mental state then and my mental state now is night and day. Now that I’m living with my grandmother and visiting old friends, my old church, and my dear family, I feel a sense of relief. Did I fail? In some ways, I suppose. I didn’t keep myself out of the hole. But my time in Wisconsin was also not a failure because I learned so much about myself by striking out on my own. Falling sucks, but if we allow ourselves, we can always learn from the fall.

Will I fall into the hole again? Probably. I’ve been in that hole several, several times, and I can almost guarantee that I’ll be there again. But it is not useful to my anxiety to consider this likelihood. Instead, I am thankful. I am thankful for the happiness that I now have. I am basking in it, enjoying the glow of life and arming myself with the knowledge that it is not good for us to be alone.

~Dawn

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