I’ve definitely felt alone. We all have, from the moment we came into this world, because the parts of life where we grow the most are also the parts where we find ourselves somewhere we feel no one else has been. From the time we are first able to walk to our first day of high school, we are forging a path from scratch, because while many have walked it before none have in our shoes. And I believe I’ve had a ton of growth over the years that has come from this feeling of unfamiliarity.
Comfort and true growth don’t exist in the same universe (true growth being the kind that hurts, the flowers after the rain). They can’t. When we are comfortable, nothing changes, and it takes change to grow. We are unsure of the path ahead, so we change ourselves to get through it or work on changing the world around us to make it make sense. You’re alone over winter break because you’ve made all new friends at your college; you’re forced to fill the time with a hobby, say, writing, which becomes a larger part of your life and gives you a place for all the previously homeless worries.
True growth is powerful and painful, we can’t have it constantly, and that’s where comfort can step in. You move back to school and temporarily give up writing because you’re back in the comfort of your friends. And you may feel that you don’t need writing anymore. And maybe you spend that time instead on your friends, on going out, and all those homeless worries begin to take shelter in the front of your mind. Because comfort and true growth can’t exist in the same universe. But what we often forget is that the things we learn from true growth and the comfort we go back to can and should learn to live in harmony. Because maybe writing wasn’t the cure; maybe it was the treatment. And maybe we shouldn’t only fill our cups when they’ve gone totally empty. Does any of that make sense?
Loneliness is my trigger for growth. We all have different ones. The last time I remember forcing myself to feel that loneliness was earlier this year, and the time I stopped was over the end of summer. Those months in between lead to more personal growth than I could ever explain.
And it kind of stopped once I figured that I was “good” enough to let up on all the things that had gotten me there. The writing thing truly was just an example but that’s one of the things I love to do that I kept finding reasons not to. Even today, I knew I had something on my mind, but for hours I was putting off this part- just sitting down and getting it out.
Why does any of this matter now? Because I’m back to square one. I’m alone. Not physically, all my friends are in town for break and my family is great and my relationship is great but on this particular path, I am alone, because I have never forged it before. I’ve never had school and a job and friends to manage all at once. More importantly, I’ve never been this healthy. I’ve never sat in a coffee shop like I am right now, planning to go to the gym after a 3 hour work shift, only fighting off a winter cold and some stress-related back pain. I’ve never been in a place mentally where I don’t want to blog anymore about my chronic illness. That, for me, makes me feel incredibly alone. To top it all off: I made a decision to finish my AA in childhood education at community college and not a 4-year. And being confident in a path that I didn’t expect to have is a feeling I’m totally unfamiliar with. It makes me want to lean on the people and things around me in an unhealthy way, in order to not feel this incredible uncertainty.
But as we discussed, growth and comfort don’t exist together. They can’t. With that in mind, I choose to lean on my writing, my art, myself. I choose to grow.