Warning: This Is a Vulnerable, Rambling Post

Posted On: 01.04.16

hay bales

January 4, 2016. 5:38am on the first Monday morning of a brand new year. I sit here, at my beloved kitchen island. My guy and my girls are still sleeping; the house is quiet. But I’m up. I’ve been up since 4:15am writing and thinking. Writing and thinking. Two of my very favorite things. Two things I hope to do lots of in the year to come.

The holidays are over. Normally, this would make me sad, nostalgic. But this year, I find myself welcoming the passage of time, the taking-down of the big, dry-needled tree, the steps forward. The last three weeks have been hard. That’s all I can really say at the moment, all I feel I need to say. Life, I know now, again, can change in an instant, and it has, and I find myself struggling and sad in certain moments, wondering if I have the strength to push through.

The good news: I do. I absolutely do.

And this place? This place will help, maybe as much as anything else. I will come here to scribble thoughts, to process change, to feel. Here, I will avoid pretty filters, artificial sweetness. Here, I vow to be nothing but real. (No worries: on Instagram, I will still be an itty-bit faux :))

I do not mean to be cryptic, but it’s just that some stories are not mine to tell. But the thing is, the heartening thing is, that my story is mine. And that’s what this blog is, right? My story. Bits and pieces of it, at least.

I think back to when I first started this blog. It was a while ago; spring of 2009. I thought I was starting it to promote my first novel, but the truth was more complicated; I started it to grapple with tricky things that were foremost in my life: new motherhood, the loss of Dad, the uncertainty I had about my identity as a once-Ivy Leaguer, exquisitely educated but secretly pretty clueless about how to live in the world. I began writing here because, in many ways, in important ways, I was lost.

And I’m a bit lost again. Anew. But I’ve decided that’s okay. That is life. And I’m going to embrace all of it – this lostness, this life. And I’m going to feel it and write about it here. And I need you. Yes, you. You who reads these words, who maybe sees yourself in them. (The benefit of vagueness, chosen or not, is universality, no?) You who knows that life is not simple, pastel-hued perfection, but something that can be, at any given moment, gritty or glorious, heartbreaking or happy. I believe that the good life is all of these things, that the contrast of light and dark is what makes it what it is: precious.

I warned you that this would be a bit rambling, but I find myself unapologetic for this fact. If I came here today with a tidy little bullet-list of my goals for 2016, with a picturesque account of the holidays, that wouldn’t be right, or real. Instead, I come here with this, this early morning mess of words that are nothing if not an ode to this odd little corner of the ether I once needed, and need again, and to all of you who are here, those of you whom I know well and not at all. You.

So, yes, I need you. I’m saying it. I need you to bear witness this piece of my life, to gobble my imperfect words, to be here. Oh, and something else, something grand which feels less important now, but IS so important to me: My novel THE RAMBLERS is coming out in a little more than a month (on February 9th) and you will be hearing about it more and more because I would love for you to read it. It’s funny because I pretty much despise the promotional aspect of writing (as I think many of us writers do), but I feel so good about telling you all about this book, and particularly now. Why? Because it’s about three complicated, but well-meaning people who are a bit lost in their lives, who are fumbling to find their footing, and happiness too. Sound familiar? It does to me. (Links to preorder here.)

Much more to come about book stuff. Events and reviews and insider email lists and all that sweet jazz, but for now, I just want to say thank you. For being here, for reading, for supporting me, for allowing me my moments of weakness and wonder as I ramble on.

Happy 2016, guys.

Despite it all, because of it all maybe, it’s going to be a good one for all of us. Mark my words.

xoxo, ADR

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45 Comments for: "Warning: This Is a Vulnerable, Rambling Post"
  1. I love you most when you ramble and when you are real. xox

  2. Elise

    This is just everything. It is real, it is raw, it is what I aspire to.

    I see myself in these words so much and find myself wishing and hoping that I can feel as strongly as you do that I, too, will be alright and have the strength to go on.

    Thank you for this.

    ps. I can’t wait for the new book 🙂

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Wow. Thank you, Elise. I think that it’s so easy to lose track of the fact that so many of us are struggling with things, bigger and smaller, particularly in a digital world that too often encourages us to gloss over, and filter out, the harder stuff. I’m always heartened to know that I’m not alone, that our problems might be different in essence, but in so many ways pain is pain is pain. I so appreciate your words and support 🙂

  3. Heather

    “And I’m a bit lost again. Anew. But I’ve decided that’s okay. That is life. And I’m going to embrace all of it – this lostness, this life.”

    Oh, these words…yes. Love this post and when you are a rambler. Interesting how your new book is titled “The Ramblers” and you often are the best when you do your own rambling…hmmmm…


    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, you. I’ve been thinking about that connection lots recently, how I gave my book a name that has so much relevance to me personally and existentially. Hopefully, that’s a good sign? xx

  4. Zoey

    You are amazing, and I admire you even more after reading this post. You may think you were rambling, but your openness and sincerity simply endear you to your friends and readers that much more. I hope that whatever you are going through is able to be resolved soon, but in the meantime know that you have the support and well wishes of your readers. I can’t wait to read your new book, and keep your blog posts coming!!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, Zoey. This really means a tremendous amount, to know that you and others are here reading, that I’m so surrounded and supported in so many ways. It gives me great comfort to know that I can come here and be real. It’s a gift, really. Thanks.

  5. Are you familiar with Amanda Palmer? (I heard of her on the Dear Sugar podcast, which I highly recommend, BTW) She has this song called “In My Mind” that’s sort of my New Year’s Anthem.
    “And it’s funny how I imagined
    That I would be that person now
    But it does not seem to have happened
    Maybe I’ve just forgotten how to see
    That I am not exactly the person that I thought I’d be”

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Oh, I love those lyrics so much and must check out Amanda Palmer. I love Dear Sugar. And thank you for your words today.

  6. Michelle

    Your ability to be open and vulnerable is one of the things that drew me to you and your blog in the first place. I’m so glad that you find comfort in this place, with us.

    Being lost just means you’re growing. I think we all go through periods of being lost and found.

    We will be here for you.

    And i’m very excited about the release of The Ramblers.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      “Being lost just means you’re growing.” Oh how I love this and believe this. It’s been such a treat to see you here and there and look forward to seeing you soon. I hope you love The Ramblers once it’s out 🙂 xx

    • “Being lost just means you’re growing.” I’m feeling a little lost myself today after the high of some really big achievements. So what I’m feeling really must be growing pains. Thank you for helping me reframe this sadness that’s lodged in me today. Like Aidan, I know I’m up for the challenge. xo

  7. Gale

    Wow. I’m so surprised to read these words today. Lately you’ve seemed much more assured of yourself and your place than you used to. I would not have expected to come here at the start of the new year and find you feeling lost. But I’m sorry that you are. Reading between the lines it sounds like maybe you got some bad news over the holidays and I’m hoping that you and your family are all doing okay. At any rate, I’m glad you are here, asking for the support that you need, and working hard to find your way. I’ll keep you in my thoughts over the coming days and weeks. Take care of yourself.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Gale. Your intuitions are correct… There was some news recently and we are all still processing it. You are also right that I’ve felt so good of late, very confident and grounded, and I’m happy to report that all of this can co-exist. I so appreciate your email yesterday. xx

  8. A–Know you are not alone…I think that’s what gives us all comfort in dark moments. The past week has been devastating in my world as well, but it’s not my story to tell, only to witness and be part of. Wishing you resilience…

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, TJ. I’m so sorry things have been tough in your world and I’m sending good thoughts. Wishing you resilience as well. I’m realizing that resilience is really one of the most important things we can have and hope for.

  9. Michelle

    Reading your rambles is what resonates the most with me and what I love so much about your writing. The little words, ones I do not expect to hit me but they do, within your paragraphs challenge me to grow!! I need to do a LOT of growing and finding this year. I pray your hard time does not last long and that all will be well for you soon. I am looking forward to Feb 9th very much!

  10. I love when you ramble and when you are yourself. I’ve been coming here for years and I appreciate the honesty in this post.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Ayala. I know you’ve been popping by for years and that means more than you know. Thank you for your loyalty and your love and support always. xx

  11. San

    Love your rambles, not loving that you’re feeling lost and that you’re hurting, but I hope that it’ll all be ok and that 2016 will be wonderful and kind to you.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, San. I truly believe that it’s the hard things that make us who we are, even when they hurt so much. I have very high hopes for 2016. I really think it’s gonna be a good one 🙂

  12. Lost, but real and honest. Suits you well, Aidan. Thanks for making us feel less alone. Happy New Year. xo

  13. I think this is my favorite post of yours, ever. And I really needed to read it today. Thank you!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, Jessie. A true compliment and happy that my words resonated. All my best for a wonderful year ahead.

  14. I love your ramblings and your vulnerable posts. You have the unique ability to put into words some very personal feelings that resonate with so many, because we all have them. And yet, we’re too often afraid to share them. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling sad, I have too. And it’s ridiculous, because I have so much to be grateful for. I get it.

    And I can’t wait for The Ramblers!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Allie. I so understand the fear, too. The fear of telling it like it is, putting our softer selves out there, of saying that we are hurting. But I also know that this is how we truly connect, when we stop pretending all is peachy, and speak honestly. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling sad. Hope things lighten for you soon. And thanks for the enthusiasm about my book! I’m getting really excited!

  15. S

    I love your affirmation that you are strong enough to push through. That’s ultimately what defines any of us–that we believe that we have the strength to just keep moving through whatever we face at the moment. We are who we are not because of the hardship, but the way we handled it.

    Your writing is raw and real and in so many ways hopeful– for everyone facing challenges that we are not alone. Hang in there and keep going.


    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, S. It’s interesting, but just saying that I’m strong enough to push through made me feel even stronger. I so believe what you say – that we are who we are because of the way we handle what life deals us. I actually wrote a bit about this on my post today. Anyway, thanks so much for your words 🙂

  16. I’m right there with you, Aidan. Hang in there. You are strong, indeed!


  17. The rambling posts really are so good. Thank you for sharing your vulnerable, lost-ness with us. We, in fact, need you too. So it works out just right. Hang in there. I’m believing 2016 is going to be wondrous too. xo

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Julie. I suppose we are all lost in little and big ways, no? Such high hopes for 2016 – for all of us 🙂

  18. Debbie

    I don’t know you, and I don’t know how I even came across your blog. FB promotion, I guess. I just wanted to tell you that I feel like I could’ve written this post. Because that’s exactly the way I feel. And I just lost my dad, so I really don’t know how to even process this. I feel vulnerable and lost. Life keeps flying by, and I want it to show down so I can figure things out. But it’s not going to. Anyways, thanks for this, and I hope your new book does really well.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      So happy you found your way here, Debbie. I’m so pleased my words resonated with you, but I am so sorry about your loss. No two losses are the same, but I lost my own dad in 2008 and I know how hard it is and all I can say is that things do get better with time. Thinking about you and wishing you peace and fond memories of your father during this hard time. xx

  19. So I have been an on and off reader of your blog but I always come back to it. I love your posts on instagram and I love your writing. I can’t wait to see what you come up with this year and I can’t wait to buy your book. I’m a huge fan and so much of what you have written and discovered through your experiences and ramblings have resonated and given me guidance and solace in times when I’ve felt lost so thank you for all that you do. You are heard and your words mean so much.

  20. As usual, Lindsey hit the nail on the head. I bow to the authenticity here and the struggle. For me it was a relief to read these words from you because you have struggled and succeeded and continue to take life by the balls. I have felt really really uprooted and a bit unhinged lately and I am not sure why, but I too was happy to put the decorations away.

    I know that this all changes – the struggle and the victory – and the sadness softens us into smooth and gleaming gems. Your heart is safe in this place. Thank you for sharing it.

  21. Jude

    Those feelings of being lost are so challenging, especially as a mother.Too often you’re supposed to be the one who isn’t lost. From my life experience you are absolutely doing the best possible thing when these feelings drift in. Good self talk that says you can and you will get through this.

    I’ve been a blog and instagram follower for some time know and I have a really strong belief that this will make you even stronger and more comfortable with where you are. Go with it.

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