I’ve always known I was an introvert. But if this COVID-19 shutdown has taught me anything, it has, with 100% surety, made it undeniably, perfectly, almost hilariously clear... that I am deeply, truly an introvert all the way to my core.
I’m so sorry extroverts, that you may be stir-crazy right now, possibly even losing your grip on reality, due to isolation and lack of social stimulation, but I’m doing just fine. Silence suits me. I recently came down to Springfield, MO from Chicago, IL to sit out the rest of the shutdown. But going from weeks of solo living to a bustling household now consisting of three adults and two toddlers is overwhelming to say the least. I love my family. I’m grateful to get to see them and spend this time with them. But it’s going to be a relief when I go home to my books and my art and my tiny space saturated with calm contentment. Realizing just how introverted I am made me start thinking about what it is that sets one person apart from the next. Why is there that difference of personality between extroverts and introverts?
I believe it’s as simple as balance.
Two of my best friends are raging extroverts, and I often laugh feeling like I’m the alley cat they coaxed out from hiding in a shoebox by throwing treats at me until I was comfortable enough with them for them to pick me up and smother me in love and attention. That is, of course, for as long as they can before I freak out, escape their arms, and run back into hiding. I absolutely think I would have a sadder life if it wasn’t for those extroverted friends shooting excitement and adventure into my quiet existence. But I’m also sure that my introverted tendencies have allowed my friends moments of contemplation, re-centering, and peace, (and many good books) that they otherwise would not have had.
So advice to you, from a well-adjusted hermit, on how to get through the rest of the shutdown without further losing your mind. Set times... times for interaction with others (phone calls, video chat, or even a lap around the neighborhood to wave at your neighbors as you stroll by) and times of silence. Commit to the quiet. Sink into it. Meditate even. Think over past experiences and relationships, try to remember what arts, stories, or activities you liked as a child and translate them into adult action. Set a maximum amount of time you can spend scrolling through facebook or glued to Netflix, and when that time is up, stick to it. Open your eyes to the world right here, right now. See the beauty of the moment: the spring flowers about to bloom, the architectural design of the home you live in, the lines of your palm, the color spectrum of your pet’s fur... For a moment each day, let go of the worries of the world and the future, and instead soak up the present. Feel your heart beating, your lungs expanding, your eyes blinking. Reveal in the wonder of your own being. You are beautiful. You are strong. And you will get through this.