When I was six months pregnant with my son, I drove 2000 miles to southern California and back in my 1989 Volkswagon Vanagon with my two year-old daughter and my boxer dog in tow. I did this all with no stereo, no phone, and no electronics and I loved every minute of it.
Recently I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. The book hit home for me. Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, reminded me that I’m just fine the way I am. Introverted. Of course I know that I’m okay, but in a world full of extroverts, a world that praises extroverted qualities and living with two extroverts (now that my daughter and fellow introvert is away at college), life can be trying and often I feel awkward and guilty about wanting to be lone.
To those who meet me on the street I may not seem like an introvert. But I am. Being introverted does not necessarily mean you live in a hovel warded off from the world, it means that you recharge by being alone. When I was young I never really thought about being extroverted or introverted, I was shy but enjoyed my friends and my teammates. I was active and social but over a majority of my life I lived alone or occasionally with one roommate who was in and out of the apartment, so I always had time to myself. It was not until I got married, got dogs, had kids and then had my husband start working out of the home that my need for alone time increased and the anxious feeling in my gut started following me around.
I first discovered I was an introvert when my son was in preschool. The preschool instructor gave us information to help determine if our child was introverted or extroverted so that we could better understand their needs. I don’t remember what I thought my son was at the time, but I looked at the list about introverts and thought, that is me. The number one thing that spoke to me was that I recharge by being alone. I enjoy being with people but after being around them a lot, I need a break.
To extroverts (like my husband) this makes no sense because for them it is the opposite, they get energised by people. Of course it’s not always one or the other, people lie on a spectrum between the two, introvert and extrovert, but knowing your tendencies can be beneficial.
My best friend Leslie, who I met in middle school and knows me better than I know myself, is the one who suggested that I read Quiet, she said, “It’s kind of preaching to the chair, but you’ll like it.” She was right. It was a reminder to me that I crave alone time and to be happy in a busy extroverted world, I need to find time for myself.
I’ve struggled to do this over the last few years, with a busy family schedule and a house that is never empty, so I’m always searching for ways to be alone. But most of the time means doing something as simple as taking a walk, driving my car with the radio off, or sitting alone at a track meet or basketball game. For me creating some quiet helps me to be happy. And being happy gives me the energy to write and do the things I love.
What do you need to do in order to write, to live your life in the way that you want to live it, to be happy?
WRITING PROMPT: Chose one of the following words and write about it… Quiet. Introvert. Extrovert.