Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Loneliness

This summer, when I met one of my new coworkers, she told me that she too had lived far away and moved back to Minnesota after her children were born. Her children are now adolescents, and I was glad to have the perspective of someone who had undertaken the same challenge we were beginning. She said that things would get hard come November or December, and as the snow started to fall today, I realized that things indeed have gotten difficult.

Since we left Minnesota seven and a half years ago, many of the people here whom we love have gotten married, settled into grown friendships, expanded their families, and established their lives as adults. We did all of the same things, but we did them in Austin. We know that all of these people are excited to have us back, but their lives moved on without us and now, we have found it difficult to figure out where we fit in.

In a lot of ways, Robin and I are really lonely, and Lydia misses her friends, too. It has been difficult to determine where the line is--do we continue trying to initiate things with old friends who have busy lives? Do we do what we would do if we had never lived here before and try to establish a new community? How do we do that? In Austin, things happened pretty organically over time. We are so excited to have the opportunity to see people more frequently and on more normal terms, and we know that our friends here feel the same, but the execution of that is dicey, and I often find myself feeling like a pathetic, annoying hound, and that feeling slowly morphs into loneliness.

I worry that I will offend those who have reached out to us--friends with lives as busy as ours. This is a scary post to write, because there have been so many occasions during which we have felt loved--help with childcare, moving, showing up in my barely furnished apartment to give me a much needed emotional boost when Robin and Lydia were out of town, playdate invitations--the list goes on, but if this blog is an honest account of our story as a family rather than a rosy, glossed-over portrayal, this side of the story has to be part of it. The loneliness, the ache for an established social routine has set in, and it's a lot more challenging than I expected.


  1. This makes complete sense to me. I've never been where you are right now, but I do think these are the exact thoughts and feelings I would have if I was. Take care, Laurie.

  2. Right there with you. The cold and dark weather really hampers the wonderful random encounters that occur during outdoor activities. Looking forward to spring, and developing (new and newer) friendships. Hugs. -mo