I got lonely.
Imagine you lived a life full of social engagements, activities, friends and family. Friends that you could pop in and have a cup of tea with, or a pint of beer with in the pub after a quick phone call. Or a g&t in your pyjamas and slippers putting the world to rights. People to go running with, hiking with, camping outside under the stars with. People that were there, available, supportive. Your tribe.
Imagine you move from that, to a place where you hardly know anyone. Where you have no friends to call your own. A whole new country where so many things are familiar, yet you still feel like an alien a lot of the time. You don’t know brands, or shops, or the way things are done. You question your independence, and identity. Your confidence, normally high, naturally dips with insecurity and feeling like a fish out of water. You can’t quite benchmark or reconcile things with your home country because you’re just so damn unsure.
Where you have no routine, no purpose, no meaning.
People assume you’re having a fantastic time. They miss you at first, and tell you so. But as the weeks go on, the messages dwindle. Then stop. They see your pictures on social media and don’t feel the need to contact you directly. You’re OK, they assume.
And, for most of the time, you are. It’s exciting, it’s new and you have a wonderful new person by your side. You’re doing your damndest to settle in and put some foundations down. But, that doesn’t exclude you from missing everything and everyone. From being bored sometimes because not every day is filled with beaches, blue skies and mountains. For feeling guilty for feeling this way, when actually it’s entirely normal, and feeling unsupported due to the lack of empathy from people who feel you should be lapping it up and shouldn’t complain. For being mentally exhausted and impatient from the change and effort.
This isn’t a post for sympathy, or pity. I know it’s entirely normal and I’m OK with it; rolling with the punches. I know I’m incredibly lucky. But it’s just to remind everyone that no one is infallible. It’s important to say out loud and not skip over. Social media is just one face of someone’s life, and not everything is always roses and clover. None of us should make assumptions about anyone else’s life, and that talking and keeping in touch with people is a million times better than just viewing a window into someone’s life via an app.
For the record, dealing with it includes running, cycling, the odd cry [in collaboration with PMS], talking to people and baking cookies (and drinking wine, although that’s currently suspended due to an overindulgence last week which led to the mother of all hangovers).