I love solitude…always have.
I was that quiet little girl who would get lost in her own world playing with dolls, reading complete novels in one day, filling up coloring books, and writing in her diary (I think I went through about five of them by the time I was ten years old).
My father always urged me to get outside and play, but somehow I always managed to slip back inside while he wasn’t looking and find some blissfully quiet place in the house to be…well…me.
Even so, there were definitely times that I would get lonely or bored – but by then, I was often so out of the loop, and so shy, that it took me awhile to ease back into the flow of the neighborhood with the other kids.
Eventually, I grew up and out of my shyness, but I still cherish my “me time.”
Truthfully, my need for “me time” is both a function of my introversion and the simple enjoyment I find in being by myself. I’ve realized that I function best when I can hang out with close friends or family for a few hours, and then retreat back home and chill.
On the other hand, when I find myself in a large group of new people, I quickly find a way to blend into the background. This is my introversion.
I’ll usually post up with the one person I know – or linger around the food so I don’t have to make small talk with anyone (I’m not a smooth small talker).
Sometimes…I know this is horrible…I will pull out my phone and urgently buy something from Amazon just to avoid the “Nice to meet you, my name is blah, I do blah” conversations.
I am certain that this may come across as being snooty, arrogant, anti-social, even bitchy. But truthfully, I PROMISE, that’s not it… at least not usually.
Interestingly, in my day to day life, I am happily surrounded by people all day long.
At work, I am engaged and talkative; chatting it up with people from eight to five. One client even told me I was hyper as we talked constantly for nearly forty minutes. A co-worker actually laughed in disbelief at me when I told him that I was introverted.
When I’m on, I guess I’m really on.
After work though, there is minimal solitude to be had – at least not until my kids’ bedtime.
With them, I navigate no less than 1,200 “Mommy, guess what” questions by the time they go to bed. Thankfully, my husband has accepted that, at least from nine to eleven, I need to zone out and have quiet time to think through the organized chaos of my day and plan how I will get through the next.
The silence gives me time alone with my thoughts; whether I’m mentally preparing my five year career plan or simply listening to Jill Scott’s “Prepared”.
There’s just something about not having to react to anyone else for a while that allows me to recharge.
If I don’t get that time to reboot, I. am. no. good. to. anyone.
Hence, we have created the “Mama Room,” which is all mine. When the door is closed, everyone knows what time it is.
Even though my social life largely revolves around work and home, I love hanging out with my girls too. Whether it’s going to lunch, for drinks, or weekend getaways (my favorite), those are some of my favorite times.
While I’ve never been the girl who had a million friends, my handful of close-knit friends is all I need. All I want.
I cannot imagine exuding the energy it takes to be a social butterfly.
My closest friends know that I am not the friend who will call every day (not even every week). But I am that friend who is thinking about you, praying for you, checking in when you’re on my heart, appreciating when you check in with me and always ready to run when duty calls.
I can imagine it might seem a little oxymoronic to be a socially inclined introvert, but that pretty much sums me up. It’s like being social with an asterisk – or vice versa.
I embrace my solitude when I have it and also recognize the blessing of human connection in family and friends.
So, for those who can relate – enjoy your bubble baths, your Netflix, bookstores, solo lunches, your walks…oh the joy!
But also fuel up your social tank for fun and those irreplaceable times with those you love and who love you.
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