Empty Spaces (and Moving Past Loneliness)

“Periods of recovery are likewise intrinsic to creativity and to intimate connection. Sounds become music in the spaces between notes, just as words are created by the spaces between letters. It is in the spaces between that love, friendship, depth and dimension are nurtured.”

—Jim Loehr

I live a life that I am incredibly grateful for; a life full of activities, work, people and fun. And yet, particularly at times of transition, my life seems overcome by emptiness. Empty spaces that are at first unwelcome, but ultimately absolutely necessary.

How my empty spaces show up
A familiar feeling started sweeping over me yesterday as I dropped my friend off after coffee. I got a lump in my throat, a sense of dread as I drove back to my empty house, where there was no one waiting for me. I love my condo – I bought it two years ago and I live alone. On most days, I am incredibly thankful for my solitude and personal space. But as I drove home yesterday with no plans for Saturday night (intentional because I’ve been sick), a feeling of total emptiness consumed me. I felt taunted by the running to-do list in my mind, of all the projects I could be working on but didn’t want to start.

My eyes welled up with tears and voices started sneering in the back of my mind. “See? You can’t be alone. You say you’re happy by yourself but you’re not. This is proof.” I know that voice is wrong (given that 99 percent of the time I am THRILLED to live alone and have time to myself), but I also know that in those moments of near-panic, if I can just get past them, there are deeper truths waiting.

1. Physical messages: When your body talks, listen.
I got really sick this week. I was extremely fatigued – no amount of sleep seemed to be enough. I saw this coming from a mile away. I know I’ve been running myself into the ground.

On more than one occasion in the last month, I’ve had to stop in the stairwell at work and just breathe. In those moments, my eyes would grow wide and I would get struck with the sudden urge to drop every single project, task and friend I had committed anything to. To completely cancel my schedule, my projects and my to-do lists, because it was all too overwhelming. I didn’t run away and I don’t plan to. But I also can’t continue operate at a pace that makes me feel that way on a regular basis.

I believe our physical health is a reflection of our mental and emotional states of mind. Our bodies are smart. They know what we need. My body demanded this week that I bring my crazy life to a screeching halt and re-adjust. Get my emotional ducks in a row. Re-prioritize and give myself permission to take a time out. And in those time outs, to allow myself to sink into the empty spaces of my life. The spaces that are not filled with activities or people – just me. I tend to avoid them because they can feel lonely – very lonely – at first.

2. Break-ups: Empty on overdrive
When I slow down, particularly after a break-up and when the weekend comes, I notice empty spaces in the day that weren’t there before. Where I was once laughing and smiling, replaying a fun conversation or looking forward to a future one, there is now nothing. Nothing but quiet.

In an effort to avoid the emptiness, I might make phone calls or refresh my email inbox, twitter stream and feed reader. I seek distractions to shove in the empty spaces that I know I am avoiding. But deep down, I know that none of those things are going to bring back the giddy excitement drug that I was so used to taking. I know that the only way out is through — to be quiet, and to let the emptiness exist. To be patient with myself and pay attention to what I truly want and need. And to suffer through the empty spaces instead of stuffing them with temporary relief instead.

3. Big goals: The bigger the project, the bigger the spaces
As you know from recent posts, I am back to working on my giant goal, THE goal of my life. Writing a book is one of the projects that I feel I was born to do.

During the week I fantasize about working on my book on weekends; spending time alone in coffee shops or in front of my fireplace, writing. Oooooh, aahhhh. So romantic. But when the moment comes to sit down and get to work, I feel intimidated by the emptiness. I am reminded that I am working on this project alone. That at the end of the day, its success depends on me – on my ideas and my commitment. The empty spaces return.

What do red flags, break-ups and big goals have in common?
Empty spaces show up when activities stop. They show up when a relationship ends, and when a big, important project is on the horizon. Empty spaces can be scary, lonely, and sad at first. They can feel paralyzing. But when the empty spaces show up – if we let them – that is exactly when our lives get quiet enough to make room for what is next.

So make the hard choices. Walk through the fire. Sit with your empty spaces and see what happens.


P.S. What did I end up doing with my Saturday night? I lit a fire in the fireplace; bought a delicious salad, dark chocolate and a mocha (with whip!) for dinner; put Sex and the City on in the background; cleaned-up an old pile of clutter (clear space, clear mind) and yes – worked on my book. Empty space – SURVIVED. And you know what? After I panicked and wrote this blog post – I really started enjoying it. :)

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisa Doucette February 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Wow, I'm really glad I went against my better instinct to call you last night (though I DID have the overwhelming urge to watch the SATC movie at one point…weird…)

I am terrified of those lonely silences that sneak up behind us and put their tenuous chokehold on our lives. When you wish a hole would open up where ever you are and suck you down and out of the life that is looming, seemingly impossible, over our heads. Some call it anxiety, some call it fear, some call it depression – those all may be true, but in reality most of the time it is just the frailty of life. And the fact that we are only humans living in it, not superheroes.

And Ms. Blake, you live the life of a superhero. Going and going, accomplishment after accomplishment, steady and strong companion to friends and family, pillar of knowledge and respect online, soon enough to be brilliant published author…I can't even imagine doing what you do day in and day out (it kind of exhausts me just thinking about it!)

So thank you for the reminder to all of us that it's ok to embrace that vulnerable and terrifying empty space, dwell within it, and find a type of peace that only comes from going through it instead of just the motions or trying to avoid it.

Extra kudos for doing it with chocolate. 😛


benjamintwilcox February 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I love this post, Jenny! I agree with Elisa when she says you live the life of a super hero. :) It's refreshing in a way to hear that you feel overwhelmed sometimes, even with all that you accomplish in a given day. It makes me feel better about feeling overwhelmed in my own situation sometimes. It is great that you have allowed yourself to feel the lonely feeling and then moved forward from them, taking care of yourself as well as your goals!

I actually have been feeling the loneliness feeling every now and then, having moved to a new area where I don't know many people. Valentine's day weekend, when many single guys will go hit the bars with their buddies, I had neither a girlfriend or buddies. But, as you described, I took a deep breath, popped in the movie Casino (I think guy's equivalent of SATC) and enjoyed the time to myself. Most situations can be affected by how you frame them in your mind, and I have learned to frame my alone time in a positive light, even on a Friday or Saturday night. Awesome writing as always!


James Harkins March 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Most situations can be affected by how you frame them in your mind, and I have learned to frame my alone time in a positive light, even on a Friday or Saturday night.

I don’t think this could be written/said/explained any better. Agreed!


jennyblake March 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm

James — that’s awesome that you’ve reached a place where you can re-frame
when you’re alone. I actually crave alone time! I think it just gets tough
being along if/when there’s something big going on — which is nothing a
little wine, chocolate and friendship can’t help fix :)

Thanks for stopping by!


RaynaNyc February 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I love reading your posts, Jenny. You don't disappoint with inspiration, but you also remind me of our humanity. This one resonated, a lot (maybe because I, too, spent the weekend home sick). No matter how busy life gets I try to remember to be my own best friend and 'listen' to what my heart and body needs. Sounds like you already 'get' that. I like to believe that if we are true to our spirit, and keep pursuing the positivity and activities in life that feed us we are better for it. But I have learned that the rest just doesn't show up. Need to make time for that too. Sometimes the people (and experiences) that we would like to let in and joyfully fill those spaces may not be able to catch up to us:) Look forward to the book and the continuing story.


jeremyorr February 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I could not agree more, JB! We are smarter than we give ourselves credit for! We run around with this nagging in the back of our minds and if we just stop to listen to our bodies and minds, we are so much better for it. The hurt begins to subside and things get easier. Day by day, with good friends to talk us through it (because none of us can do it completely alone) we get incrementally better. Until one day, you no longer think about your car anymore. We were talking about cars, right? ;O)


jennyblake February 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Elisa – for starters, calling me is ALWAYS your better instinct! :) Although I am thankful to have had my “empty spaces” last night (even though a slumber party with my virtual SLASH for reals BFF always sounds wonderful).

You just said it SO incredibly well with this line: “I am terrified of those lonely silences that sneak up behind us and put their tenuous chokehold on our lives. When you wish a hole would open up where ever you are and suck you down and out of the life that is looming, seemingly impossible, over our heads.” Perfection. And beautifully written. I am so glad I'm not the only one that feels that way!

And you, my dear, also live the life of a superhero! Thank you for everything you said in your comment – I'm just doing the best I can to live a full life of giving and receiving (and breathing!) on any given day. Some days are good, some are bad. Absolutely true that we are all only human – and those ups and downs are just part of life.

Thanks for the encouragement on my chocolate addiction – some habits are just NOT worth breaking! Now all I need is to pair it with the perfect bottle of Cupcake wine. Soon enough! EEEE!!!


RebeccaRapple February 28, 2010 at 10:02 pm


I feel like you really hit the nail on the head with this post. For me, there is another especially difficult aspect to coping with the empty spaces, especially the big ones. That is dealing with other people's responses and desire to help. Whether it is your friend who wants to set you up with six guys after the big break up, your boss telling you she hasn't taken a sick day in four years or your parents pressuring you about job applications, when you really need to sit and figure out your purpose. And, all of their advice is so tempting – it would feel so good to fill the empty space with dates, work or busyness without purpose. When, really, we just need to settle deep into the empty space and let it work with us.

Thanks for making me feel very human and connected.


PS – Great to chat with you this week! I think you're great! :-)


jennyblake February 28, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Thank you so much Benjamin! It's so great to hear from you – and you and Elisa both are just too generous. I am definitely not a super hero! But I'm flattered to even be put in that category.

You are DEFINITELY living in/among the empty spaces right now – new city, new job, new home, new experiences – I admire you so much. It takes a lot of guts to pick up and move to a new place, and sit with the empty spaces (especially on a day like Valentines Day) and be okay. Love that you watched Casino – mob movies are totally the guy version of SATC! So comforting in their own way. And I think it's so true what you said about framing things in your mind – I love your positive spin on things.

By the way – I also LOVED your “coinstar for the mind” diagram & post – keep meaning to comment (particularly on how neat your handwriting is!)


jennyblake February 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm

JO! You cracked me up with the car comment. Yes – we are TOTALLY talking about cars – you know, the empty spaces between the driver's seat and the passenger's seat. Or in your case – the empty parking space where your car used to be. Too soon for such a bad, tasteless joke? So sorry. HUGS.

You have had a rough week – punctuated by many empty spaces indeed. But one thing I continue to learn from you is how to handle those spaces with integrity and a positive attitude. You are a great friend and a great person, JO – glad that we can support each other through the good days and bad ones. So true that each day gets incrementally better, especially with the help of friends. On that note, I hope you're having fun at the races today!


jennyblake February 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Rayna – thank you so much for your incredibly sweet comment! It truly means so much to me to know that my posts help or inspire you in some way. I am so glad this one resonated (and sorry to hear that you've been feeling sick).

I love what you said about being your own best friend and listening to what your heart and body needs. It's something I am definitely still learning – but life seems so much easier and more manageable when I do listen (and relax) instead of trying to force things.

And very true what you said about making room for new people and experiences too – great point! Thanks again for your continued encouragement – I hope you feel better and have a great week ahead! Looking forward to keeping in touch 😀


Irina I March 1, 2010 at 1:29 am

Jenny, I know exactly how you feel. You plan all week about an exciting introspective weekend where you get to focus on yourself and your own personal goals for a bit. Then the weekend comes and with it comes the sweeping sadness (and sometimes terror) of being alone. I usually plan on at least a little something with someone else at night so I know I have it to look forward to.

I see a lot of my friends who are single and in their 20s go through this right now. I think you can basically avoid this if you have a large group of friends that you aumatically hang out with or if you're in a relationship. But at one point or another, we'll all have to learn how to face the loneliness.

This is a classic stage in a person's psychosocial development, Erikson's intimacy vs. isolation stage (more on this here). I guess what is helpful to me is that everyone tends to experience this and we all have to learn how to get through it, how to be on our own before we can truly be with someone else.


positivelypresent March 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

What a great post! Thank you for sharing this. Loneliness can be really unpleasant sometimes but, from reading your P.S., it sounds like you really did make the most of things.


Grace Boyle March 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Well, that's also funny because my Saturday evening consisted of something similar. And Elisa, weird, I almost popped in Sex and the City movie (instead, Dazed and Confused because I didn't want anything emotional) haha.

This is such a beautiful post. One of the best pieces of advice I feel I can give in these moments, is to just feel what you're feeling. To sit with your emotions, be okay feeling sad, elated, upset, angry, happy, etc. and notice what it does to your mind and body. I too, am sick and have run myself (yet again) into the ground. It's so frustrating, but I know that I just will keep sleeping, leaving my weekend and week empty and doing things for my health. It's very true that emotional affects physical and visa versa. Thanks for this beautiful post :)


andreaowen March 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Jenny, I love #1, always listen to your body :) BTW, You’ve been given a BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD! To claim it, go here: http://liveyourideallife.blogspot.com/2010/03/beautiful-blogger-award.html


MarcKS March 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm

When I read this it felt familiar… felt like something I had internalized before.

It's really difficult to embrace aloneness… to not hide from it.

” Aloneness is beautiful, it is grand. Loneliness is sorrowful, it is despair.

On the surface, they look the same. But in reality, they are worlds apart.

Aloneness is our nature. Loneliness is us running away from it.

You are alone. Why make it into a problem? Relax into your loneliness; into your sadness. Don’t run from your aloneness, for it is always there. Celebrate being alone, delight in yourself, dance in your aloneness. If you can’t, then you will forever be running away. Love yourself. It is the only way.

Simply sit down, and be lonely. Don’t think about it. Just feel it. Relax into it, and then you’ll find that your sadness has its own sacredness. Being alone is the perfect chance for you to go deeper into yourself. See all your subtleties, face yourself squarely, and gaze at all the parts you don’t want to. Bring it all up into the light of your awareness, and accept them, love them.”


Colin Wright March 1, 2010 at 8:49 pm

This is something I've become more and more accustomed to while traveling.

Despite the fact that there are always people around you, and even with the sizable and communicative online community I'm fortunate enough to be in touch with, moving so frequently really catches up to you and you don't ever really have firm foundations when it comes to friendships.

I'm actually at this point right now, here in Christchurch, where I've met a few people that are really great, but I definitely don't have a group yet, and I definitely don't have a place in society. As far as most of Christchurch knows, I don't exist, and I think a big step in being part of a place is being missed.

All that being said, I know this is just a part of the process. The same thing happened in Argentina, and by the time I left there that country felt like home. It's just a matter of plowing my way through this, getting as much done as possible in the meantime, and maybe watching some Sex in the City until then :)


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:26 am

Rebecca – great to hear from you! I completely know what you mean – within MINUTES of telling my friend about the relationship ending, she asked me “what my plan was” – how I was going to get back out there and line up the next round of men. UGGH! I couldn't even think about it. The empty spaces have been such a roller coaster (at some moments freeing, at others terrifying) – but I know that I have to come out of them on my own time, not others'. Oftentimes the people who love us are just trying to be helpful, but in the end, the whole point is for us to discover what we really need by getting quiet and really listening to ourselves.

Your comment gave me a huge smile yesterday – it was just so nice to know that this post touched you in some way, and hearing that made ME feel very human and connected. Such a pleasure getting to know you – I'm really looking forward to keeping in touch in whatever form it takes! :)


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:29 am

Irina – yes! The sweeping sadness/terror is exactly what I felt on Saturday, even though I had intentionally lined up a quiet weekend. I felt it again last night – but it was almost like knowing that it was coming (and having a word for it) made it a little easier to deal with. Going home to an empty house when I'm feeling emotionally “empty” can be really tough – I can't even imagine how people must feel when they breakup after living together.

VERY true that you can avoid this if you constantly surround yourself with friends, but at some point we all need to learn to deal with it. And I know that even when we are in long-term relationships, there will still be many moments of feeling alone and/or lonely – it is just intrinsic to being human.


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:30 am

Thanks Dani! It's interesting – as someone generally focused on being happy and wanting to see the good in things (we share that in common :), I have a really hard time just letting myself feel sad sometimes. But ultimately, when I can do that, I come out of it happier and myself again (Sex and the City never hurts!).


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:33 am

Grace – thank you so much for the wonderful comment (as always!) and the wise words (again, par for the course :). So true that just feeling whatever shows up is an important part of getting healthy – emotionally and otherwise.

Sorry to hear that you've been feeling sick too – I totally know what you mean about having that be frustrating! My friend had to MAKE ME slow down last week. Normally living a big full life is really fulfilling for me and I enjoy the frenzy, but it definitely requires major periods of rest and recovery too. Sometimes life throws them at us when we don't stop often enough on our own :)

And PS – You, me and Elisa CLEARLY need to have a SATC virtual slumber party!!


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:39 am

Marc – that blog post you shared is ABSOLUTELY amazing. It is exactly what I needed to read/hear and then some. Seriously – I cannot thank you enough! It can feel so challenging at times – embracing loneliness – because by it's very nature it is isolating and has a sadness to it. But it's exactly like the part you quoted above – if we can really just go deeper during those moments instead of run away, and accept instead of run from it, we will free ourselves from the pain of wishing something was different than it was.

I also really liked this part: “Aloneness is our true nature; we can never, ever, not be alone. We come into this world alone, we leave the world alone. And in between these two, we are alone – but we frantically hide from it, run from it, pretend it isn’t true.” A good reminder that there is no sense in running from being alone – at the end of the day, it is just part of being human.

I'm still speechless by how much meaning I've gotten from even a quick skim of the post – I'm printing it out right now and am going to give it a MUCH closer read. THANK YOU!


jennyblake March 2, 2010 at 1:45 am

Hey Colin! Thanks for stopping by – our new friendship contract is off to a great start 😀

Reading your comment gave me such a different perspective on my own feelings. Here I am feeling lonely, still with my same routines and friends and family nearby – it would be even crazier if I was smack dab in the middle of a new life! Those feelings of “aloneness” must be really pronounced for you as you travel around to new places – especially when you first get there. I can imagine you are getting more skilled at processing them with relative calm – and/or easing the pain with a little Sex and the City 😉

There's also something AWESOME to be said for relying only on yourself (emotionally and otherwise) when you are in a new place – it's very empowering. I have mad respect for you doing it over and over again.


sameve March 2, 2010 at 2:47 am

This is beautiful, Jenny! I love that you have continued to write these personal posts, they're all fantastic. It's funny, there's definitely a bit of the grass is always greener in situations like this. I'm the opposite of you. I live with Rob, and have very little time to myself. Although I love him dearly and am so glad we live together, I get a little excited when he has a work event or meets a friend for drinks. I treasure the empty spaces, the time to myself. But, I still remember when they made me feel the same way you do at times. Those feelings suck, but they are totally normal, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. My advice would be to make the most of that time, since for now, you live alone and that's not going to change…but clearly you already know that :) *Hugs*


J.D. Meier March 3, 2010 at 2:10 am

I find that life's better with the right people in your world, but you also have to be your own best friend and content to be alone. It's that Yin-Yang deal … that constant tension and balance of connection and aloneness.

Aloneness definitely helps us value togetherness … and vice-versa. It's all good.


J. Money March 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm

I love how REAL you are here, so many people would be afraid to put all this out there , but not YOU! Our girl Jenny F'ing Blake! The 1 person I'm incredibly excited to meet IRL this weekend! (aww yeahhhhhh). Get ready to explode with love & energy 😉


Quisha March 3, 2010 at 10:59 pm

This is a great post, Jenny! It makes me feel good to know that… “I am not alone”! Haha. I think when we tend to feel this way we think of it as a bad thing. This post shows that we should enjoy that alone time or those empty spaces and cuddle up with a book and a glass of wine :)


Lauren March 4, 2010 at 2:03 am

As you can see, many many people can relate to the empty feeling you described in your post (which was so perfectly written I could cry). People handle situations differently and I know that I (along with many other people) use being busy as an excuse not to deal with what's going on inside my head. Instead of dealing with emotions, loneliness and feelings of emptiness, I just bury myself in work. That’s where I go when I want to block out everything else in my life. It’s my defense mechanism. It’s where I go when I’m scared and it helps me get through things. But that's the fallacy behind it – it doesn't *help* me get through *anything*. In fact, it only assists me in avoiding these emotions until one day when I can't take it anymore and I have a holy-shit-mental-breakdown-overflow-of-every-emotion-mankind-has-ever-experienced. And that's not fun.

You are absolutely right when you say we need to listen to our bodies and embrace the emptiness, because it's not really empty if you fill it with time for yourself.


jennyblake March 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Sam – thanks so much for the kind words! I always love hearing from you. SO true that we can all experience the “grass is greener” syndrome – I think especially when it comes to being in relationships. Always a good reminder to enjoy my singlehood and alone time while I still have it. I'm SO thankful for all the friendships I've strengthened and the time I've had to myself since my breakup with my last boyfriend. Thank you for reminding me of that!


jennyblake March 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm

JD – So true. It really is about embracing that paradox: I love my life and I'm happy alone AND I love my friends and I'm happy when I'm with them. (I use “I” in the broadest sense – that we would all do best to embrace the yin/yang of connection and aloneness that you described so well).

It's all good for sure – sometimes I just need a little perspective, which is why I am SO thankful that all of you are here to help with that! I hope you're having a great week! 😀


jennyblake March 4, 2010 at 11:38 pm

J-MONEY! Thank you so much – your comment just lit me up. It's so sweet and I'm glad that the “realness” didn't scare you away. Sometimes I think posts like this might send all my guy readers running for the hills! Like – nooooo – feelings – run! Glad you stuck around and I cannot WAIT to meet you IRL!!! OMG. So close I can taste it. Love & energy explosion is right!


jennyblake March 4, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Quisha – thank you so much for your comment! You are definitely not alone. It's funny…I felt so alone when I wrote this post, but after putting it out there I realized just how common feelings like this are. I don't know if its the weather, the moon, or the tides – but people seem to be going through a lot of transition right now. I also first tend to label these feelings as “bad” and want them to go away as soon as possible – but once I settle into them a little bit I realize they are just a part of life's ups and downs, and we do much better to embrace them.


jennyblake March 4, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Lauren – oh my goodness! Thank you for the incredible compliment – it means so much to hear how much you enjoyed the post.

I totally know what you mean about burying yourself in work as a defense mechanism. I think *you* described it perfectly with the “holy-shit-mental-breakdown-overflow-of-every-emotion-mankind-has-ever-experienced” line – YES! That's exactly how I feel. I go through such waves of emotion where I'm like – whoa! Where did all of those FEELINGS come from? It's amazing how much we repress without even realizing it. It's not fun when they come gushing out at inopportune moments, but I usually feel so much better when I can just release them (instead of holding on so tightly or trying to avoid them with busyness). Hopefully in the privacy of my own home (or with a friend) – and not DURING a meeting (as has happened to me in the past).

Thank you so much for stopping by and for the amazing comment – I hope you are having a great week!


Rob March 7, 2010 at 3:33 am

Hi Jenny. Thanks for writing this. I don't really have much to add that the other comments haven't already covered. I can sympathize with how hard it can be to write about these things, even when you want to. It's not something I've ever published on my blog, even during the times I've really really wanted to.


TMFproject March 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Just swinging by to say this was wonderfully insightful, and I adored it. Happy book writing, Jenny!


Jesse March 8, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I found this just in time. Thank you. While we know we can make it through those empty spots, it's nice knowing we aren't the only ones struggling. Plus, the empty spots provide us with the best excuses for enjoying that excellent dark chocolate.


deambrosejr March 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm

This post hit me pretty close to home. Thanks for the honesty. If you ever come to Boston, I'll buy you a drink.


jennyblake March 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Hi Rob – thank you so much. It's true – writing about this stuff feels very
vulnerable (soul cracked open for the world to see) – but I can't tell you
how much it helps me to hit “publish” and hear from people like you. It's
truly the best cure for feeling sad – I encourage you to try it
sometime…when you're ready. You might be surprised at how well people
respond :)


jennyblake March 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Thanks so much Ash! Always great to hear from you. Keep kicking ass at TMF –
your posts continue to blow me away. I'm always excited when a new one pops
into my Google Reader (now if I could just stop lurking on my iPhone and get
to my computer and comment back, we'd be really getting somewhere!) Have a
great week, girl 😀


jennyblake March 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hey Jesse – I'm so glad you found this post at a time you needed it. It
means so much to me to know that we are not alone in any of this…the empty
spaces or the obsession with gourmet dark chocolate! Go buy yourself the
very best bar you can find – you deserve it 😀


jennyblake March 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Deal! I'm definitely down for a drink in Boston next time I'm there. I'm so
glad you enjoyed the post – thank you so much for commenting and letting me
know. It really means a lot :)


monicarolevans March 23, 2010 at 8:21 pm

This is a particular moving and personal post and I am so thankful to you for sharing.




jennyblake March 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Thanks so much Monica – I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it. I hope
your week is off to a great start!

Big hugs right back 😀


Chelsea June 11, 2010 at 1:46 am

Thanks so much for this post. It's nice to know pretty much everyone is afraid to face the empty space!


jennyblake June 11, 2010 at 1:50 am

Thanks Chelsea! I was reminded of that after seeing all the comments from people – it is so comforting to know we're not alone 😀


Katie Porter June 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Normally I read a blog for a while before I comment, but I just have to say thank you for this post. I just found your blog today after hearing it mentioned on the May 30/20 Vision podcast.

This week, and in particular today, I've been feeling some huge loneliness. I'm an introvert and embrace it, but still tend to forget how that shapes my relationships with people. When confronted with friendships in media (blogs, TV, movies… SATC??), I tend to feel mine are sorely lacking since I have individual friendships rather than one group and we'd prefer to email and talk in person than on the phone and see each other monthly rather than weekly. I forget that I'm okay just as I am.

I'm going to try embracing this emptiness when I feel it and just sit with it rather than beating myself up about it. I see now that when I'm feeling lonely, the last thing I tend to need is forced socializing. I tend to NEED to be alone at those times. This is an interesting perspective shift.


jennyblake June 18, 2010 at 4:02 am

Katie – thank you so much for your comment! I feel so honored that you took the time to write after just landing here :)

I love what you said about embracing the emptiness as exactly what you might need at any given moment, rather than beating yourself up. I'm learning that facing those empty spaces doesn't always feel good, but I usually feel proud of myself once I've made it through them and let my emotions be just as they are.

Thanks again for your comment – hang in there through those lonely moments, and know that you will be stronger because of them.


Eric Novinson June 19, 2010 at 11:55 am

Empty space is one of the major differences in life after college. I'm feeling this way right now, so it's encouraging to hear that this experience makes it easier to achieve goals. Embracing the empty space is an interesting idea, since it seems like fighting it would just make it worse.


KlineB May 22, 2012 at 8:12 am

I am really glad I had the opportunity to read this blog today. I can relate to pretty much 99% of what you said and have had my own feelings of emptiness and isolation. Thank you for the admission and good luck with your book.


Erica Brown November 9, 2012 at 10:45 am

I am new to your site and just happened to stumble across this post. Even though it was posted in 2010, I couldn’t have found it at a better time. Recently I went through a similar experience. You make some great points and it’s nice to know that I am not the only one that has felt this way.

It looks like you have completed your book. I will be graduating from college in May so I will have to check it out. It seems like something that would be very helpful for me as I begin to experience life after college.


jennyblake November 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

Welcome, Erica! So glad this post resonated with you — the empty spaces can be incredibly challenging, but also such rich periods of growth too. Very exciting that you are graduating soon — congrats!


Charlie July 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Wow, this totally resonated with me. I feel exactly the same way. Almost all the time I’m happy being by myself, doing my own thing, and seeing friends every few days. But if I go one week without some real social interaction (whether it’s because I’m sick, or scheduling doesn’t work, or what have you) those times alone stop being relaxing and start feeling ominous.

When I’m in good moods, I look forward to working on new projects, but when I have the alone time to do it, that mood goes away and is replaced by the desire to fill my time with immediate gratification (usually TV).

Great post!


Kristin September 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Thank you for this post. You have no idea how much this has helped me.

I have went through many changes in my life over the past couple of years. In 2011, I graduated from college in accounting & finance but I’m still having trouble getting a jump start on my career. In 2012, I went through a dreadful divorce and I am still feeling the aftershocks of that traumatic experience. This year, I was dating this guy but to sum it all up, he has left me with a broken heart.

There are a lot days that I struggle to even get out of bed which is really weird for me because most people would say that I’m an ambitious person. The only reason I do most days is because I have to get my son to school.

I think that the reason I struggle daily is because I just don’t want to face the reality of the situation… and that is I’m unemployed, broke!, and the only special person I have in my life is my son. I feel like I don’t have anything to look forward to and that really sucks! And it really sucks when I sit in my house day after day with nothing to do but look for a job.

But now, I see that “empty spaces show up when a relationship ends, and when a big important project is on the horizon.” This means that something big is going to be coming my way very soon & that I need to be prepared.

Thank you for helping me to reignite my inner fire. Now maybe tomorrow, I’ll be able to get my ass outta bed! & make some sh*t happen!!!


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