Part 2: Introversion
My life as an Introvert has been just fine. As a kid I lived in the forest with the wolves…no no, I mean with my Minnesota family, a mom and dad busy farming and lumberjacking and one younger brother. There was all the time in the world to become a lover of books and silence. I read books in bed, at the dinner table, sitting on a log in the woods; by lamplight, flashlight, sunlight and electric light. According to my dad I was a bookworm which made sense, but I didn’t have a clue that I might also be an introvert because none of us had ever heard of such a thing, and besides with whom would I have played anyway! We were deep in the woods at the end of a gravel road; the nearest human being my age was another introverted girl a mile and a half away.
An Introvert generally prefers solitary activities to interacting with large groups of people. If you would rather work through your feelings in your diary than have a conversation, then you are an introvert—[and that] Introvert also describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone.
My shelves are full of diaries.
I spent high school on the fringes of the popular crowd, my first Minneapolis job feeling rural and inadequate, and my marriage to an Air Force guy not liking the noisy camaraderie of military life.
Somewhere in there I started college, a young/wife/mother/commuter at East Carolina University. I was instantly in love with school and totally comfortable for the first time in my life. I’ve wondered why. If I’m so introverted how did busy campus life suit so well. Well first of all it was all about books wasn’t it? Secondly, it was all about discussing the subjects in the books. Thirdly it was about having coffee at the sub with like-minded people and arguing about the point of the books.
All was well until arts and politics entered my life. Fortunately I discovered drinking about the same time so endless gatherings with cheap wine and wilted celery just flew by in a happy mix of chatter infused with gossip and enlivened with babble, and much proselytizing for the latest candidate or choreographer. Made me all sociable and friendly and, have you noticed, wine also gives one the ability to make very intelligent observations and suggestions.
That was then; this is now. I’m through with art (except at North Fourth) and politics (except for voting). Which is so fortunate since wine now causes insomnia unless I drink it before noon. And it’s just not that good in coffee.
What a huge relief to be guilt-free when turning down invitations to any form of socializing. It gets easier and easier in fact because eventually the invitations cease. In which case you must be careful not to succumb to FOMA (fear of missing out) with its own peculiar symptoms of which anxiety and self-pity are just two.
What does it mean? I am more comfortable being alone with my musings and my books; my memories and photographs; my classes (there is a professor but he lives in my computer and I’ve never been averse to professorial voices) and my culinary experiments. I don’t need the noise of the human world so much, whether from real people around me or TV or music. Strangely enough I enjoy non-human noise of all kinds: Traffic, wind, rain, birds, baby hippos, waves…all good. Loud music, loud voices…all bad. I suppose it means I am an introvert.
My goal here is for a happy-while-introverted-mid-old-age that falls somewhere between the life of a hermit and the life of the party. My lifestyle just needs a bit of fine-tuning and I’ll be there.
Some photos of my own private woods…you can see why I would prefer it to noise and people.