On Feeling Utterly Lost for No Particular Reason

So, I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a blog idea for today, but nothing wants to ‘stick’ because all I can think of is how utterly lost and miserable I feel for no particular reason. Then late last night I got a message from my friend in Sweden saying how much she loves the ‘real’ pieces, and how they resonate for her, so maybe this blog needs to be about that. I’ll run with it see where it takes me. If nowhere, at least I’ll get a good cry out of trying.

The thing is, in this linear, scientific, cause-and-effect world we’ve created for ourselves, things need to have reasons, and that’s why times like these – when you want to crawl in a ball and have everything go away but you can’t say why, exactly – are so bewildering. You can’t ‘just’ feel stuff. You must be able to explain it. And I guess there are reasons – there are usually lots of them, but they’re not always as obvious as we’d like them to be. For me, one is definitely about not having a place to go to in the morning for the first time in quite a few years. And while I have no doubt in my mind that I needed to leave where I was and spread my wings and do something new, the reality of an empty day alone at home scares the living daylights out of me.

It’s fun to stay home when you’re supposed to be at work, but we under-emphasize how reassuring the structure of a day in the office is. I like people, and the nonsense (and sometimes serious) talk you have with colleagues – those individuals you find yourself spending many hours a day with and get to know and love. I liked making them laugh and being used as an agony aunt, and the little office rituals related to birthdays, new babies and resignations. It’s not really me to spend this amount of time alone. And, while I am working harder probably than I ever have, I’m not getting paid for much of it, which totally confuses my brain. Does it still qualify as work? By what rights do I get to sit here and talk about libraries when I should only be doing stuff that pays?

So, it’s that plus coming down from the high of starting the blog and having people read it and like it and the unmitigated affirmation that gave me, but then realizing that the gazillions of work opportunities I’d hoped would magically open up, didn’t, and then even more of a sense of what the hell am I doing? What is my next career move? Surely I need to have some sort of plan for myself; some ‘direction’ if I’m to be allowed to exist on this planet. We human beings have a really hard time just being. So, I need to try and change the focus from what the blog will do for me to the real reason I started it – for the simple, unabashed love of stringing words together.

Yesterday one of my closest girlfriends sat next to me on my couch and held my hand while I blubbered and said to me, ‘you are doing this for you. And yes, you are reaching people and making them think, but you are doing this for YOU.’ And she is right, of course. It’s a solitary pursuit and it can be lonely as hell but there is nothing else I really want to do. So, I’m going to try to remove (or at least acknowledge) the pressure I’m placing on myself, and let this process take its course.

And, maybe hardest of all, is giving myself permission to feel lost and lonely and scared without a ‘good’ reason. No, nobody in my life has died; yes, I have people who love me; no, I am not homeless; yes, I have everything I need. But I still feel fucking horrible and I can’t explain why. Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow, and maybe I won’t. Maybe this funk will take a while to lift, and maybe that’s okay, too. Perhaps we don’t have to feel happy and together all the time and put up a façade that everything in our lives is fabulous when actually we feel seven years old and want our moms. My name is Susan and I feel sad, and there’s no ‘because.’ That’s all.

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12 thoughts on “On Feeling Utterly Lost for No Particular Reason

  1. So you’re saying since I’m 36 it’s ok to NOT know what I want to be when I grow up and to feel lost daily?!? Fantastic!!! ;)

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. This made me laugh out loud in the supermarket. Yes, it’s okay. How does that Baz Luhrman song go? Some of the most interesting people never know what they want to be when they grow up (you won’t believe how many people told me on Facebook they feel exactly the same way. How cool is that? :-))

  2. Hi Susan! To be dead honest, I have never before read any ”blogs”. I have clicked on a few here and there through posts on FB but I have never really sat down and followed a blog…. until I found yours! I just cant stop reading. I feel like every post has been written just for me and even though I am not married nor am I a mother, I feel I can relate with so much of what you have to say. Thank you! And as this post was from August, I hope the sadness has past and please keep doing what you doing because it has impacted my life!

    1. Thank you, you sweet thing! Sending you a big hug, and I consider myself hugged too. I feel much better, thank you. I was astonished by how many people came forward after that post and told me how much they were struggling too. And that, in itself, was amazing medicine. Having such fun hearing back from readers. Lots love and thanks again xxx

      1. I feel like a follow up post is needed! Did the work start piling up? It says on your about me that you write for a whole range of magazines/people. That’s great! I also just found your blog after my South African expat friend posted one of the blog posts on FB. I felt awkward reading the post about you and your “black maid” since I’m a 21 year old British girl it’s all very alien to me. However, loving the posts and your tone!! My problem is finding the time to write :/ Keep it up!!!

        1. Yes, all good, Sarah – life goes like that. This blog has opened so many interesting doors for me, it’s probably the best thing I ever did. Thank you for asking! I know, I felt awkward writing it, but it’s the reality of life down here and unless we start talking honestly about these things they’ll never change. Come and visit, it’s the most wonderful place in the world :-)

  3. Susan, you are a brilliant writer and this is the first blog I am hooked on! Thank you for all the smiles you bring!

  4. Read ‘How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time’ on BrainPickings – it sheds light on how essential solitude is for creativity.

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