Thursday, October 3, 2013

Being Introverted in the 21st Century

"She, like every one else, had to find out by experience in what mode of life she could best adjust herself to the twin facts of her own personality and the moment of time in which destiny had planted it, and she was lucky perhaps that she found out so early." A City of Bells by Elizabeth Goudge.

I keep finding nuggets of wisdom to share from this book. There will only be a few more, and then I'll be done. The above sentence resonated with me, because I've always thought I should have lived in an earlier time. My personality really isn't suited to the fastness of modern life. I have to constantly pull back, reassess, and recover. I think of all the creativity going to waste because of having to do this. Jane Austen's era appeals to me; the quietness and smallness of it.
Wouldn't it be lovely to live in a small English village and walk to church? To shop at individual stores and know the shopkeepers personally? I much prefer visiting individually the baker, greengrocer, shoe repair shop, cleaners, and druggist instead of having them all under one roof. I prefer one-on-one conversations to the noise of the masses.

This contrast of modern city life with 19th-century country life is contrasted in the movie Lost in Austen. I highly recommend this entertaining movie. If you're a Janeite then you'll love it! Mr. Darcy comes through time to modern-day London and calls it "an infernal hellhole". I love London but would call any large city the same. The noise and busyness is hellish to a person with a quiet temperament.

So even though I'm in the fifth decade of my life, I'm just now getting comfortable with what I have to do in order to survive and flourish in the 21st-century. Comfortable meaning that I don't feel like I have to live up to anyone's expectations anymore. Comfortable in being who I am without apologizing. Yes, I'm highly sensitive AND introverted. I'm not a terrible person because I need/want large amounts of quiet time alone. It's not selfishness. It's pure and plain survival!

So all you extroverts...try and understand your introverted friends and family. Don't pressure them to get out more and socialize. There's nothing wrong with preferring being with one or two people rather than a crowd; or even better...being alone!

Yes, I know the importance of balance. But for an introvert in this century, the problem isn't getting out enough. It's having enough quiet, alone time. That's the daily struggle.


Angela said...

i am definitely putting that movie on my list! I think I would like to be an introvert but my life really doesn't allow it. However, everyone in my family -- kids and all -- has to have a certain amount of what we call 'alone time.' It's just hard to get around here: some people lock themselves in the bathroom, hide in closets, my husband used to go to the woods, sometimes I have to drive to the gas station.....

M.K. said...

I enjoyed that movie too.
I loved LOVED your description of life in an English village and the pleasures of a smaller, slower life. Life before WalMart! Traffic jams! Schools with 1000 students! Honestly, just life before 1960 might have been nice.

Pom Pom said...

So true! I liked that Quiet book. I think the most helpful tidbit I took from it was when she says that introverts get overstimulated. That's so true. I really fuel up when I have time alone.

libbyquilter said...

a great post and i can sympathize with a need for a slower paced lifestyle and quieter places. it feels good to be comfortably at home with oneself just puttering around doing what calls out to you as you see/feel it needs doing.

i'll definitely keep the movie in mind.


Gumbo Lily said...

I am so grateful that I live way out in the country away from the hustle and bustle. When I need a dose of it, I can drive right in and drive right out. I'm also grateful for a small trade-town where everybody knows your name. I am going to look up the movie you recommend. Thanks.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I've read introverts are those who are enormously wearied from crowd stimulation while extroverts are enormously excited from same. I am an introvert and happy with my lot in life.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I'm definitely an introvert, and in many ways I live a very slow life. Don't shop much (except when forced to), don't join a lot of clubs. I like walking in my neighborhood and knowing my neighbors. I'm distressed about how overscheduled most people's lives are--there's hardly anyone to live slowly with!