Personal Growth

Vulnerability, Loneliness, And Where The Heck Have I Been?

Going through big life changes? Here's how to handle them gracefully when you're feeling vulnerable and lonely.

You deserve an explanation. Actually, I don’t know if anyone really deserves to know what’s been going on in my life lately, but I know some of you are probably wondering where the heck I’ve been. I haven’t posted regularly in about two months, and I feel guilty about it.

Going through big life changes? Here's how to handle them gracefully when you're feeling vulnerable and lonely.

I know, I know. I don’t really need to feel guilty about it. I don’t owe anyone anything. But at the same time, I owe it to myself to come to terms with what’s been going on lately and to get out all of the things that have been floating around in my mind. You see, there have been a lot of feels going on that I haven’t experienced in a while. All the feels.

So here’s what’s happened.

Most of you know that I started grad school in January. Guess what? It’s a lot of effin’ work. Ask any of my friends what I’ve been up to lately and their answer will be ‘homework.’ Of course I never expected it to be easy to juggle everything, but once it actually happens, it really hits you.

I also went through a break up. After three and a half years of being in a relationship, I’m single. It’s weird. It’s weird for so many reasons. Not having someone to do everything with. Not having someone there when you wake up in the morning. Not having someone there to plan the future with.

Here’s the even weirder thing about this situation: we’re still living together. Yup. Our lease is up in May, and we couldn’t afford to break the lease, so we’re living together until that time. People get pretty surprised when they hear that.

“Isn’t it super awkward?”
“Do you guys hang out together?”
“So how’s THAT going?”

The thing is, it was amicable. We still talk. We’re still friendly to one another. Maybe we won’t be anymore once we move out, but for now, we’re making it work. That’s all we can really do for now. Every relationship is different, so I think it’s hard for other people to comprehend how we’re able to actually live together and not be miserable all the time.

What else is happening?

Well, moving out. And moving back in with my parents. Yes, I’m almost 25 and about to be living at home again. Part of me feels hopeless. The other part is like, Hell yes, I can save some money from this non-profit salary that isn’t all that fab. I started looking for a one bedroom/studio place in the Seattle area. Not happening on my budget. I thought about finding a rando roommate but at the same time thought that I really don’t need anyone else’s drama right now (not saying all roommates are drama, but y’know…I need to do me for a bit).

There’s also been a whole lot of soul-searching going on. 

Basically I’ve been trying to figure out who the hell me is. I know we all have this identity crisis when we’re in our twenties, but I honestly felt pretty secure with myself up until this new chapter. And then all of a sudden I started questioning everything I was doing. Uncertainty can do that to a person. And it’s not as if I feel insecure in my own skin because I know what I’m about, son.

But I want to get better at being me and feeling content being all by myself.

Everyone tells you that loving yourself is the first step towards being able to love anyone else. Let’s be real, I’m not trying to fall in love right now. Let’s give it some time, eh? But I know how true these words are and also how bloody difficult it is to actually love yourself unconditionally.

What I think it comes down to is not letting others be to ones to validate you. Yeah, you’ve heard that before. But damn, it’s hard to validate yourself sometimes. Some of you are probably pretty sure of your own talents and skills. I’m not. I doubt myself all the time. I get a comment from someone that says, ‘Hey I love your blog.’ That makes me feel pretty good about myself. And then I get another comment that says, ‘You ripped this idea off from so and so.’ Oh. Well I didn’t. But now I’m wondering if other people are thinking that too.

So how do you even validate yourself? Well, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. What I do know is that no one is ever going to be confident 100% of the time. That’s just not how life works. And if you are confident 100% of the time, you’re probably a cocky muthaeffa.

What have I learned from all of these changes?

From waking up alone, feeling uncertain, and turning into an anxious mess? The fact that these feelings come in waves.

I can wake up in the morning feeling unmotivated, snooze my alarm until the very last minute because I feel a knot in my stomach that I’m trying to ignore, eventually get up, take a shower, watch some YouTube videos, and suddenly feel brand new again. I get to work, grab my coffee, and do my thang. And then an hour later, I feel anxious again. The knot in my stomach is back.

What helps during a completely and utterly confusing time in life is realizing that nothing is permanent.

Your feelings, your thoughts, your worries, your situation. They are always going to change. Sometimes by themselves, sometimes because you made the decision to change them. While I may not have figured out exactly what I want from life and myself right now, I can at least feel content in knowing that life comes in waves. And when waves are coming, you can either ride them out or get sucked under. It’s always a choice.

And with that, my friends, I am officially making the choice to get back into regular blogging. All of this soul-searching has given me some really good blog writing inspiration. Booya!

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Catherine Beard

Hi, I’m Catherine! I’m the mindset coach and writer behind The Blissful Mind. Whether you’re trying to reduce stress, slow down, or feel more content, I’m here to help make life a little calmer.

64 Comments

  1. Oh sorry to hear you’ve been through a bad time. Youre so right – nothing is permanent. I’ve certainly missed your posts so looking forward to checking in with you a bit more x

  2. Catherine, even during these tough times, it seems you’re handling it with grace and poise. Maybe it just seems that way online but you’ve always seemed very authentic to me. I know this will be a big time of growth so just try to see it as an opportunity! I’ll be thinking of you. xx

  3. Hi Catherine!

    I’m sorry about your break up! That must be really tough. I hope you’re doing better every day. And good luck for your master! :)
    I’m really happy that you’re back on your blog because I LOVE it. You give precious advice and I love the way you think.
    Have a great day xx

  4. Sending you a virtual hug! I completely understand where you’re coming from, and love the “nothing is permanent” mantra. So glad you’re blogging again, and I can’t wait to read what you have coming for us. Let me know if you ever want to grab coffee again, or maybe have a homework date!

  5. Catherine! Your authenticity shines through this post and I’m so glad you decided to share. Taking breaks from blogging is definitely necessary at times and the fact that it’s inspired you to come back strong is amazing! I’m sorry to hear about the bumps in the road. Keep doing you and you’ll be so proud of yourself. Sending smiles!!! xoxoxox

  6. I’ve really missed you Catherine! How are you holding up dear? I hope that things are better now, it’s really rough regardless of how long ago you went through a breakup. I think it’s great that you’re moving back home, being around family is the best remedy to anything! I wish you all the strength in your new chapter, best of luck with everything in your life dear! Good things come to good people and I’m confident that your life will be brimming with happiness and wonderful things in the near future! xxxxx

    http://www.romantiquely.com

    1. I am holding up better than ever, my dear! I think just getting this all out in the open was the first step to accepting it. And you’re so right, being around family is so important during hard times. Thank you for all of your love! xx

  7. Hey Catherine, So sorry to hear that you’ve been going through a rough time. It takes courage to share these personal insights but you WILL persevere and I have faith you’re onto better times!

  8. Oh that freaking wave of motivation/emotions/feelings…BLAH! It can be rough to deal with!!

    I’ve of course missed your blog posts (because I think they’re amazing), but I am so glad you’re taking some time for you. I imagine it’s been incredibly tough, but I know you will be able to handle it and totally shine, even if it doesn’t feel super fantastic minute to minute. If you ever need/want somebody to chat with, PLEASE know that you’ve got a friend in Philadelphia who can be reached in a plethora of ways! And maybe I’ll just move to Seattle and we can do homework next to each other. Hahaha. Grad school friends. ;)

    Good luck my dear!

  9. Posts like these are so important so everyone knows they aren’t alone! Transitions like the one you’re going through are definitely not easy… but day by day things will hopefully get a little less difficult. Sending you positivity!

    Vivianne @ pricklypearblog.com

  10. I’m so glad to see you back Catherine, miss reading your lovely posts! :)
    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through a rough time but like you said, nothing is permanent. I guess this is an opportunity for self-growth and to do things for yourself. I wish you the best of luck for grad school and know that things will get better :) Looking forward to see what’s to come! Sending you a virtual big hug! x

  11. Catherine, you have such a wondrous soul. It’s incredible when people share their vulnerability and their actual feelings. And for you to share this… I am so proud of you! After getting out of a 6 year relationship just a few years ago, I know how the ending of a serious long term relationship feels and how that just throws you into a loop. Honestly, it took me TWO/ALMOST THREE years to finally feel better about it. And I was finally able to put those feelings into words when I wrote one of my last blog posts.

    You’re completely right when you say it all comes in waves, and even more so… life hits you when you least expect it. It’s rolling with the punches, and then getting out of your comfort zone, and just challenging yourself to get to where you’re supposed to be (wherever that really is). And from two years of heartache, struggle in finding a real world adult job, to dealing with so much anxiety… I know that it gets better. And you are one powerful, fierce, kick ass bosslady that has a soul that shines through all the darkness! YOU GOT THIS! <3 I wish I could give you a huge hug right now and just sit down and have coffee and chat. Sending you so much love right now!

    1. Oh mannn, six years?! I can’t even imagine. I’m so glad to hear that you’re growing through it (just read your post!). It’s so exciting to think about what the future may hold, and that’s a much better mindset to have then wondering how you could fix what went wrong or dwelling on the negative side of things. I feel like you’ve just given me a little pep talk, so THANK YOU for that! You’re one heck of a woman! ;)

  12. I hope you are feeling more yourself sooner rather than later – my biggest piece of advice that I struggle to follow is always ‘Time is a healer’ :)

    I 100% know where you’re coming from with your 25 year old ‘identity crisis’ – just reading that made me feel a little better about my own struggle. I feel like i’m forcing this additional strain onto myself, on top of everyday struggles such as work and relationships, and it’s really taking its toll.

    All the best Catherine. Let’s just hope that this challenger means we’ll be far better and well rounded 30 year olds!

  13. Wishing you all the best, Catherine! I know it’s so cliche to say it gets better – but it does. Totally was in a similar place recently. You are doing the right thing by doing you. You got this!!

  14. Catherine, thank you for writing this post. I resonated with so many different aspects of what’s going on in your life, so please know that you are not alone.

    I moved back in with my parents at 24 after the most difficult experience I’ve ever been through and stayed for a little over a year (after attempting to move out twice but got dropped by roommates last minute, but it ended up working out because I was laid off over the summer!). It was humbling because I always thought that people who lived with their parents at our age were lazy and motivated or relying too much on their parents and I didn’t consider myself either one of those things. It opened my eyes to see that so many people are in various seasons of life and it is no place for me to judge. But I am honestly so grateful that I lived at home again. I created memories with my parents that many people our age don’t get to have; I was comforted and cared for (probably more so than a 24-year-old should!); I saved a lot of money; I learned what I really wanted in my next living situation. You have the right attitude–saving money right now is a blessing that you definitely should take advantage of while you can. You are setting yourself up for a really great future that will be worth the wait. I absolutely understand not wanting to take a random roommate; I was in the exact same scenario and I took me a long time to find a one bedroom in Pittsburgh that I could reasonably afford.

    Grad school and a major breakup (and unconventional living situation) combined definitely sounds like your world has been kind of turned upside down and you’re in the transition of putting together the pieces. But I want you to know that you’re already doing so many great things to propel yourself forward, even if you can’t see it right now. Moving home gives you the freedom to focus your attention on everything else and keep your money close. Letting go of your former boyfriend allows you to focus on loving yourself. Grad school being challenging forces you (although, it could be a bit nicer about it, ugh) to prioritize what’s important to you. It’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but the fact that you want to continue blogging shows us all that you’re a fighter and that you’re going to push through this and come out even better than before.

    I encourage you to keep writing about this experience because not only will you be able to look back and see how far you’ve come, but I know that you will be able to connect with others who need to know they aren’t alone and those who can offer some comfort and shed some understanding.

    Whew, sorry for the long-winded comment, but I appreciate you!

    1. Marissa – thank you SO much for this comment. Honestly I want to print it out and stick it on my wall haha! I think living at home is just the best option for me right now and there will be so many perks to doing it (closer to work, in a really nice neighborhood in Seattle, saving money, getting to spend time with my parents…the list goes on!). I just have to shake off the feeling that others are going to judge me for it – ultimately it doesn’t matter what they think! And you are so right about grad school forcing me to prioritize what’s important to me. I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but it’s absolutely happened. I really really really appreciate YOU and this comment, and thank you for being such an awesome human being! xx

  15. Catherine! Thanks for sharing this. I think we all have been there at some point in time in our lives. Especially in our twenties when we are trying to figure out our purpose in this world. I hope you feel better! I have plenty of friends that are still living in their parents house. Don’t let that make you feel defeated. Some people don’t have that option! You need time to do some self care and figure out your next path in this transition phase in life so don’t worry about what others think. You are beautiful, helpful, and kind! <3

    1. I think it’s so much more common for our generation to be living with our parents. I’ve done it on-and-off for a few years now, and obviously it’s not permanent so I’m not going to worry too much about what people think of it! Thank you so much for sharing that, Lexi! <3

  16. So good to see you back Catherine. First off, I don’t think your break up is as uncommon as you might think. I have a friend going through the same thing right now. And moving back in with your parents could be a real blessing for you in this upcoming time. Our roots have a way of helping us find out who were are or aren’t as the case may be. Give yourself time and grace and you’ll come out stronger, but hey you know that already ;) I can only imagine what blog ideas you have and I’m sure you’ll think up even more amazing content as you find yourself.
    Just think of all the “How to thrive while living with your parents as an adult” posts! I can’t wait.

    1. Pia, what a brilliant idea for a blog post! Haha. I’ve lived with my parents a few times since graduating, so it won’t be anything new, but you are so right about how our roots can help us find out who we are. I know that it’ll give me the opportunity to save money and ground myself in what I actually want to do. Thank you as always for your support!

  17. Catherine, sending hugs your way! It looks like you’ve grown from this period of life (based on the words you’re typing) & as you move back in with your parents, you never know what opportunity opens up next. Take care!

  18. You’re incredible. I love your attitude and thoughts and have missed your blog! I totally get you about feeling guilty about not posting (I always get down on myself about it and then get down on myself about getting down about something I impose on myself haha). You’re a star and I can’t wait to see where you’ll go next!!
    xx, Pia

    http://gymbagsandjetlags.com

    1. I think we all feel that guilt as bloggers sometimes – 1) because our readers have nothing to read and 2) because we feel like we’ll fall behind if we’re not constantly putting content out there. But what I’ve learned is that your readers will understand completely and it’s always better to put out quality content less often than mediocre content all the time. Thank you for your lovely comment and I’m so glad to have your support :) xx

  19. I haven’t been moved to comment on a post in a while and this post moved me to do so. You’re so strong! I’m starting grad school next fall and I don’t even know how to emotionally prepare myself at all. I can barely handle taking my pre-req classes, one at a time. I’m reading this book called “You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Yourself and Live an Awesome Life”. If you have time in between homework, check it out. The chapters are short and just reading one per night is helping me change my thinking patterns. You go girl!

    http://www.afloatonafullsea.com

  20. I am seriously so freaking proud of you, I can’t even put it into words. Your situation does not sound like it’s been easy but you’ve been totally killing it and have such a great outlook on everything. Thank you for reminding all of us that there is no right or wrong path. Keep going girl!!

  21. I know the feeling. I started school in September, and I don’t have time for anything else.
    You seem like an incredibly strong woman!
    I’m been in a relationship of three years, I can imagine how weird it must be to not have his company anymore.

    http://mcinness.blogspot.ca/

  22. I’m 23 and this is the first comment ever I leave on a blog. I read your blog from France since a kind of a “burn out” last year. I started taking time for myself. I started yoga. I started to “do me”, as you say. Thanks for everything, thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear from you today and to know that you’re back, that you’re fine. Take good care of yourself, you (we) go girl !

  23. This was me at the end of last year. There was so much uncertainty that made me a complete anxious. I’ve never been the one to doubt myself or what I wanted and it all hit me at once. I HATE uncertainty haha. But I learned that it’s kind of inevitable in life and you just have to live it. And now, I feel like durable plans and structures are in place and I’m excited for the future again :) . Thanks for sharing! I definitely can relate haha.

  24. This was an incredible piece. Your blog is beautiful and you’re clearly wise beyond your years. All will be well. You are blessed with the tools you need to heal and emerge stronger and more focused: creativity and self awareness. Living with your parents is a wonderful oppurtunity to learn about each other as adults plus you will feel safe and supported as you move into the next exciting chapter of your young life. xoxo jenn http://www.mappcraft.com

    omg i am sorry for my big head picture below. ha! I thought i was uploading a profile pic…..

    1. Haha Jenn – I love this huge picture of you! It made me smile, as did your comment! You’re so right about feeling safe and supported – I’m grateful I have parents who make me feel that way. It could be so much worse, right? xo

  25. Thanks for sharing this Catherine. I love how you said that you wanted to share this because you owe it to yourself, and I think that’s such a powerful place to share from. When I’m going through a hard time I also remind myself of the impermanent nature of everything. That everything is always changes and nothing ever stays the same. Wishing you all the best with navigating the big changes in your life, and after reading this post I know that you’ve totally got this!

    PS. Last year I moved back home to live with my family after living away to go to university for a few years and found this article to be super useful: http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/9-ways-to-thrive-at-life-when-you-move-back-home/ :-)

    1. Hey, Chloe! Thanks so much for your comment. I think sometimes it can be scary to realize that everything changes and nothing stays the same, but I’m grateful for change because it means growth and new adventures. Thanks for sharing that link – I love World of Wanderlust and this post is super helpful! xo

  26. Having been through a surprisingly similar set of circumstances (BAD break-up, grad school, having to move back home) I can really relate to what you are going through. It is taking me a long time to find a me that I am happy and comfortable with again (and it was really difficult and emotional), but I am getting there and I hope you find your happy you! I enjoy your blog and am looking forward to where it will go during your new chapter. :)

  27. Oh Catherine, I just read the post and it sounds all to familiar to me!! In fall 2014 I failed my final at University – I was deviated, than my boyfriend and I broke up – and we stayed living in the same flat for about a month (so this is super familiar! Especially everyone telling me I am crazy not to move out – although they had no idea!). On top of that I somehow had to find the strength to redo my exam a few months later, even thought I knew that I didn’t want to pursue the career I was about to graduate in. And then came the whole moving out + figuring out what to do in life. So what I really want to say: I feel you!!
    Please reach to to me ANY TIME if you need some support, love and understanding. I am here for you! You can always write to me at ronja@sothisiswhat.com <3
    xx Ronja
    http://www.sothisiswhat.com
    { CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE }

  28. I went through the same situation with you re. living with an ex after we broke up. I think you’re definitely right, it depends on the type of breakup but in a strange way for me, continuing to live with my ex for a while helped to confirm that the reasons we broke up were legitimate. It also helped with ‘finding me’ again. I could begin rediscovering me as a single person, without wondering what my ex was doing or…I don’t know really, feeling the void that comes when you cut all ties.
    Well done for recognising that things weren’t working and having the courage to change them even though that meant a strange stalemate for a while.
    I hope you continue to feel more positive as time passes! Also, good luck with Grad School!

    1. Kathy, that’s such a great way of framing it (that it helped confirm the reasons you broke up). I can definitely relate to that. It’s so interesting to hear that a lot of people have been through the same thing of living with an ex. Thank you for the kind wishes! xo

  29. Just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it. You are wise beyond your years. Hope you’re in a better place now. :)

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