You would think that being in my late thirties would find me equipped with amazing insight into who I am and what makes me tick, but I am still learning new things about myself every day. Perhaps I’m just changing periodically at a fundamental level, leaving my mind with the task of catching up and relearning who I am at any given moment. Perhaps I’m just a slow learner. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know I’m still discovering more and more of myself each day.

I am, apparently, a bit of a wallflower. While I’m not sure I would call myself shy, I certainly do stand back and watch the world around me more often than not. When it comes to relationships, this is best seen in how I interact with friends. I tend to be the kind of person who waits for others to interact with me. I’m an introvert and tend to be a loner, though it’s not what I want for myself. And here, I think, is where my lesson awaits me.

I can have periods of time — seasons, if you will — where I feel more and more lonely. I feel forsaken and ignored and unimportant. Many people go through this, so I know I’m not sick or broken in some way, but it doesn’t make it any less dark and painful. Knowing that I have a tendency to withdraw and retreat from time to time, though, does offer me with a possible explanation in those moments when I question my sanity or worth.

Is it definitive? No. Relationships grow and whither all the time, so one explanation can’t cover all the possibilities. But it offers a bit of hope.

Why share this? Because I know others go through this as well. And maybe knowing that there’s something you can do about it — namely, to reach out and make things happen on your own initiation — can offer a stronger feeling of control and hope.

Because sometimes it’s not your fault. And sometimes it is.