It will surprise many, who know me to find that I’d rather do the dishes in the kitchen than talk to a stranger at a party, (shhh, don't tell my husband). I like the quiet work of the chore. The alone time to regroup.
But put me at a party or in a group and I can be very polite. I will reach out to you. Engage in dialogue. Smile. I may even have fun. For this reason, many don't see the threads of introversion that tether me. After all, I really do like people, it's the social interactions that can be so darn exhausting. I prefer small gatherings, quiet dinners, sitting still alone reading a good book – for hours. I like texting. Days of unscheduled quiet time. I fantasize about living in a shack on a mountaintop – alone.
In this way I suspect I’m like my grandmother who said she was “antisocial, but not unfriendly.” She was happiest while sipping her coffee and reading her newspapers.
Course to find a moment alone, I've got to schedule it. Sometimes days in advance. Sometimes, the only quiet time I get is in the shower -- and I'll take it. I need a bit each day to feel centered. It's hard to find with a six-year-old (who right now is dancing to the Macarena behind me), and a job, and a husband who actually wants to hear my voice occasionally (keyword: occasionally).
I have friends whom I adore and I am finding, despite my best efforts, that those friendships cannot be maintained solely through text messages. But, as long as my world is busy and loud and engaging and yes, super fun and fulfilling, I will schedule some time for quiet.
Sometimes that means missing out on something else I love, but solitude is a gift to spirit and to self and I'm always better for it.
Polly Campbell writes and speaks on personal development and spirituality topics. She is the author of Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People, Viva Editions 2012.
The Benefits of Solitude»