The Crazy Year

I want to talk about “The Crazy Year”.

“The Crazy Year” is the year immediately following the birth of a child or the ending of your partnership/marriage/relationship that was supposed to be life-long. 

It’s the year that everyone goes crazy.

Think about it. We all know folks who’ve had kids or gotten divorced, or both. Remember how they were for that year after it all went down? Remember the drama and remember feeling worried for your friend? Remember watching your friend make crazy/weird/bad/out of character decisions? It's not always horrible...sometimes it's just a crazy drastic haircut. Sometimes it's a misguided fling. Sometimes it's a move to a really impractical place.

Or maybe it was you. Remember the haze of that first year of parenthood? Remember the nights you wanted to throw your baby out the window? Remember blowing all that money on “going out clothes” because now you were single again? Ill fated dates off of that you look back and just have to laugh because why on EARTH would you date that person!?

I’ve noticed that most people I know go through a crazy year after a baby or a significant break-up. I noticed this a long time ago, before I ever noticed it in me. I remember making a work friend who had just been divorced in her early 30’s……..and lordy she was a hot mess. I remember getting in stupid, stupid fights with friends who’d just had babies thinking “What the hell is the matter with her!”.

It's The Crazy Year.

Then I realized I had my own Crazy Years. And I realized that year after I left my first husband was probably my peak Crazy Year.

Here’s the thing…

These are two events that our culture tells us we should celebrate and be ultimately happy about. And yet they often are dripping with grief. Grief for the loss of what we thought we had. Grief for the reality that is so radically different than what we thought it would be. Grief for how unfair the world suddenly looks when other people seem to have it so much better than you do.

You’re going through this crappy grief and navigating this brand new world….and everyone around us looks like they have their shit together. So then you pretend to have your shit together. And how miserable is that, to walk around pretending to be all put together when not-so-deep-down you feel really really fucked up.

Society takes people going through a really traumatic, profound, hard time and tells them “This is the happiest time of your life!”. It makes sense it would make people crazy.

The Crazy Year puts people in survival mode. There’s very little thought, just lots of putting one foot in front of the other. Running from things that seem dangerous and hiding in weird places.

I can tell you that from the time of my own Crazy Years, I don’t remember much. But I damaged a lot of relationships. I made a lot of poor choices.  It was just getting through each day as it came. When your world is so shaken up, it’s really hard to thoughtfully consider your future again…….because your future just got thrown in the air in a seeming jumble. How are you supposed to plan around that?

I've been thinking about this a lot because recently I made a terrible error in judgement. I tried to give someone in the midst of their own Crazy Year some advice. Unsolicited advice. Double whammy. I know better! And I did it anyways! I know better!

This is the thing about The Crazy Year:

It needs to happen.

The person experiencing their Crazy Year needs to through it.

A person in their Crazy Year feels uniquely isolated, and this isolated feeling goes hand in hand with the feeling of “My crazy year is so much worse and different than anyone elses!”.

There’s not a lot we can do for our friends and loved ones in their Crazy Year except be present. I think that, at the end of the day, you just have to show them “I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere”.

You have to bite your tongue when you want to give advice, no matter how helpful. When someone is that deep in their grief and stress, advice often comes across like judgement. NO matter how nicely you say it. Because it’s a Crazy Year and nothing makes sense. You can be super nice and loving and want to help……….and the person in their Crazy Year will hate you for it if you just blurt out your concern in the form of advice or "help". 

If you can do helpful, practical things…I think that helps. Make them a meal, offer to watch their kids, take them out for happy hour and listen to them rant about their ex. Sometimes that stuff doesn’t feel like it’s terribly helpful…….but it might just be the best kind of help they can receive right then. 

The most important thing we could all do is just recognize The Crazy Year and graciously accept that it's here, and remember that it will pass. Let your friends be crazy and irrational and a little ridiculous. Be a little extra forgiving when a loved one in their Crazy Year says something hurtful. It’s a really hard time to go through. Let’s all take a second when we encounter our friend who has a 6 month old and she is being extra awful and bitchy…….let’s remember that this is her Crazy Year.  Maybe her baby is a nightmare but she doesn't feel like she can share that because she might look like a bad mom. All of us with kids know that NOTHING is consistent about babies in that first year or so and we can all remember at least one night where we wanted to just get in the car and leave it all behind.

It’s tough to live through. Let's remember how hard it was and realize other folks are going through that tough stuff, too, even if they don't show it.

If you have a friend or loved one who seems to be really struggling or just seems off or who suddenly your friendship is going in the pooper….take a minute to think about if they are in their own personal Crazy Year. And if so….extend them a little extra grace while they work through those thorns.


I'm stepping in a week later to edit this to add some clarification.

This isn't a judgement. This is an acknowledgement of reality and a reminder for those of us entering a crazy year or those of us loving someone who is in a crazy year...........

Have your crazy year. Let your friends have a crazy year. It's so rough and turbulent but it's also filled with so many crazy awesome life changing lessons. I think if we embrace the Crazy Year instead of trying to ignore it, there is a better life on the other side.


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