Happiness Highlights: Relief from the Loneliness

Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what made me happy from the previous week, because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.

This was our first full week off the road and back in our hometown, our temporary home.

It didn’t feel as much like home as we had expected it would.

It’s obvious now that this adjustment won’t be perfect, easy, or smooth. While we have spent the last ten months on our American road trip living outside the confines of normal, the rest of the world has not. Trying to slip back into the familiar stream has been like putting a rebelliously square peg into a happily circular hole: we don’t quite fit anymore.

The hardest part has been making the connections we’ve come to value so much, both with each other and with our friends and family. We have made all this space and time in our lives, only to find that the people with whom we wanted to share it are still incredibly busy. It was hard not to take that personally, not to feel rejected and then embarrassed at our own neediness. It was a welcome relief this weekend to learn that Jared and I had both been wrestling with these same feelings; at least we weren’t alone in our loneliness.

Thankfully, the week ended on a high note, with a feast of what we’d been most hungry for: time with our loved ones.

We got to celebrate Easter with both of my parents and Jared’s parents, as well as brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews. Our kids must have been needing the extra love too, because they were both in spectacular moods throughout the holiday.

Jared and I are both people who need people. It is paramount to our happiness. That kind of dependency can be scary; it most certainly makes you vulnerable. I have faith we’ll figure it out.

It’s easier knowing we’re in it together.

What were the highlights of your week? Before you rush off into a new week, I invite you to play along and share your happiness highlights in the comments, or leave me a link to your own Happiness Highlights post.

Get More Inspiration & Encouragement

Sign up to get my weekly(ish) email with personal stories, practical tips & links to recent blog posts. You'll also have access to exclusive discounts on products & events and a handful of freebies I've made just for you.

I save my best stuff for subscribers! Join us.

Your email will never be sold or shared, because I aspire to not be a jerk.

  1. Happy Easter. Its a very normal and human vulnerability. So nice that you had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Filed under TMI and Ornithophobia (Bird Phobia)

    • Miss Britt says:

      Happy Easter to you, too!

      It’s nice to feel normal. I was so surprised when Jared described almost EXACTLY what I’d been feeling.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I understand exactly when you’re saying! Whenever a friend calls and asks to go to lunch, I drop what I’m doing to be there. I used to work really hard to send out cards/gifts/whatever to make sure people know they are thought of. (I’m getting bad at that lately.) If I think about someone, I try to stop what I’m doing (or at least write it down so I don’t forget) to write a quick note to let them know I’m thinking of them. I think God puts those people on your mind for a reason, and I’ve received some cards in the mail at the moment I needed them most.

    We all get wrapped up in our own lives at times. I read a devotional email in which the author said one day she decided that when she told someone she would pray for them, that she stops and does it right then. How long does it take to say a prayer? Just a couple of minutes. I’m trying to embrace that philosophy. How long does it take to write someone a note or send an email just to say you’re thinking of them or ask how their day was? If I can’t afford a five minute break to my day, then to me I don’t have my priorities in the right place. But it can be frustrating when you don’t get much in response. I think a lot of us try to overdo things. When someone gives me a gift, I don’t need to go all out and buy them one in return, but everyone loves a thank you to let them know their thought was appreciated. And friends don’t care if your house is messy or you don’t have the perfect meal prepared. They are coming to see us.

    Anyway, I understand what you’re feeling and have been there myself. I think that life is about people – not things. However, I know that not everyone feels that way. So, I just try to remain flexible so that I don’t miss out when opportunities arise.

    And don’t forget to embrace the joy of shopping during the weekday when everything is so much quieter!

    • Miss Britt says:

      I think MOST people believe that life is about people and not things, but it’s really easy to get caught up in maintaining things. I bet most people don’t even realize that’s how they spend the majority of their time.

  3. Poppy says:

    It is definitely a shock to go home and realize that the world doesn’t take a pause for you so everyone can spend time with you. It gets me every time I go back… and I go back much less frequently now.

    “It’s easier knowing we’re in it together.” Yes, that!

    The highlights of last week were spending time with Dave’s parents for Easter, time with just Dave for a day together, and time with myself and the kitties for a much needed chill-out. I also got my nails done with a girlfriend from work. It’s amazing how therapeutic having a 20 minute session with a good friend can be. :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      Thank you again for your texts last week. They made such a difference. And it makes me feel a little less childish to know other people have similar thoughts when they go back to the place they came from.

      And by other people I mean you, obviously. :-)

  4. Megan says:

    People… people who need people… :P

    This weekend was wall-to-wall friends and family and quite perfect. It made me very, very happy. The Peeps didn’t hurt either.
    Megan’s most recent post: Just For A Moment

  5. Bonnie says:

    I also prize time with family, although we mostly have intentional family as opposed to blood family. This week we travelled to Montreal, a gorgeous city, to spend time with the people I value most.

    I haven’t dealt with feelings of loneliness in many years, and I like to think I would feel okay about time alone, but realistically I have so many great people in my life that I would probably never have to be alone if I didn’t want to. That’s not always such a good thing though, is it? Perhaps I avoid introspection.

    Anyway, I’m getting off-topic.

    I had a wonderful time at a “Cabane a sucre” with 28 other close friends, ate far too much, wandered the streets of the old city, and then wrapped up the visit with some outstanding shopping. Oh, and it was also the first trip out with the RV this year, so yeah, I’m happy.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I LOVE being alone! Love it! Have tons of things I can occupy myself with!

      But I also need connection and when I’m expecting it and it doesn’t happen, it can be rough.

  6. Momma says:

    I know exactly what you mean! We are at the stage in our lives when we have time for people, but they are so darned busy. They are ‘sandwiched’. Actually, that fact has freed us to go on to another adventure in our lives, even though it’s bringing us far from our children and grandchildren. We know we’re real important to them, but we’re too healthy and active to just sit and wait. That just becomes a burden to them too. While we can, we’re going to do our ‘thing’ and when and if necessary, we’ll re-adjust. Rawthah freeing, doncha know? ;-)

    • Miss Britt says:

      It’s pretty funny that we have so much in common with retirees. :-)

      “We know we’re real important to them, but we’re too healthy and active to just sit and wait.”

      That’s why we decided that we can’t live near family right now. We adore our family, but we don’t love the place and there just isn’t much here for us to do. We need to be in a place where we can enjoy all that time we’re not, realistically, spending with family and friends.

  7. Carly says:

    I soooooo know that feeling, although you sound a lot less bitter about it than I am. We have similar issues off and on and it’s been almost 2 years that we’ve been here. It’s been so frustrating having rearranged our lives to make ourselves available to certain people and then get smacked across the face with the fact that their lives don’t pause, even for a day, to celebrate your arrival. We also deal with it during our annual month long vacations home to Florida. We uproot our family for a month to be with them and then the half the grandparents go to Brooksville for the weekend. Indeed, the parties and holidays are the saving grace of it all. Something is better than nothing and I imagine our lives will fill up with our own goings-on some day and it won’t seem so…personal.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Well I’m probably not bitter because we are just visiting. I’d be having a REALLY hard time if we had moved here.

  8. the muskrat says:

    We went to a new egg hunt after hosting one for years at our old house. I made a very inappropriate picture for a blog post on Easter that made me happy.
    the muskrat’s most recent post: happy easter!

  9. Liz says:

    There’s nothing at all wrong with needing other people. We’r social creatures, and always have been. I’m glad you got that time with everyone. Love to you.
    Liz’s most recent post: Is There a Market for Short Stories?

    • Miss Britt says:

      I know it’s normal. Jared and I are both extroverts – we draw strength somehow from those connections.

  10. Kathy says:

    I’ve been puzzling over the interesting contradiction in your phrasing: that you & your husband are “people who need people (whoops! just saw the Barbara Streisand connection); that it’s both paramount to your happiness,yet a need that is a scary dependency and a vulnerability.” Part of me feels that home and all of the implications of that can be both a physical space and an emotion; my reference point is partly influenced by my dad’s military career: I’m an “Army brat” and by the time I was 12, my family had left behind a lot of “physical spaces,” I carried the emotional context of home with me. I think that the “scariness” and vulnerability is part of the human condition – we all have an awareness of it, some of us more so than others. Part of that equation is tangled up in the individual beliefs we carve out for ourselves – viewpoints that are part analytical and/or spiritual depending on what resonates in our hearts. Not sure that I’ve helped clarify anything here or just added my two cents to the conversation.
    Kathy’s most recent post: I Will Always Love You

    • Miss Britt says:

      We have definitely learned in the last year that home is both physical and emotional. I think we are both a little surprised at how much of the emotional feeling of home is missing from this physical space, especially since so many of our people are here.

      I agree that vulnerability is part of the human condition – the part we struggle the most against, it seems!

  11. that last photo, the one of you, jared, and the kids? brought tears to my eyes. the kids have changed so much since just the fall, and so have both you and jared. i miss yinz. hard.
    hello haha narf’s most recent post: Couldn’t Post This on the First

    • Miss Britt says:

      I know. I keep thinking that about the kids when I look at that picture, too. SO much change.

      We miss you, too. Hard. NOT TOO MUCH LONGER NOW!

  12. Faiqa says:

    I know how this feels. Whenever I visit family in Pakistan or India, I’m always a little stunned when someone says they have somewhere to be other than right there with me the entire time. I spend a great deal of time missing them and imagining our time together and I forget that they have whole lives that have absolutely nothing to do with me. Also, WHO ARE THOSE KIDS?! You tell that Emma and Devin they better stop getting so grown up right this minute. No more growing until I see them again.

  13. martymankins says:

    Ok… just one thing… that photo of you and your family is awesome.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Attended NAB 2012

« « Finding Adventure in Arches National Park | Inspiration: The Man Who Quit Money (and Worry) » »