For the past few weeks I have been lethargic, sleeping more than usual, reluctant to start anything new. No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to call friends or go for a haircut. I had no inclination to setup meetings with prospective clients or launch a major project. Even getting myself excited about watching a movie seemed too great a chore. Was I coming down with something? A low grade infection or the beginning of a cold? It had been a while since my last medical checkup. Were my hormones running amok? What was wrong with me?
Perhaps it was time to schedule an appointment with the doctor. As I dragged my feet to the phone, it struck me that October had been a tough month. Important festivals had marked the beginning and end of the 31 days. Add to it birthday parties, Diwali gatherings and miscellaneous dinner invitations. No wonder I was lethargic, listless, and too lazy to take up any activity beyond the bare minimum required to function. A room full of people had surrounded me most of the days. I was either recovering from one party, getting ready to attend one or hosting another. My exhaustion stemmed from all the mandatory socializing that typically marks the festival season.
I am not a party person. I wouldn’t call myself a loner. I prefer to use the term “happy in my own company”. On a daily basis I definitely prefer to have more time to myself than in the company of people. Being around lots of people for a long duration of time drains my energy. Some think I am shy but I have no problem addressing large audiences at conferences. Some may think I am a snob because I seldom stop to network after I am done speaking at the podium. I have been called “intense” by people who like me and “boring” by those who don’t. Others consider me a social misfit for my inability to find idle chit-chat stimulating.
My favorite time of the day is when I sit with my cup of hot tea and a book. The tea may get cold while I finish reading the book. My idea of a perfect day is to spend “alone-time” with someone I love; just us, one on one. Whether we take a walk on the beach, visit a café, stroll through an art gallery or simply spend a day indoors with few distractions. A day like this goes a long way in rejuvenating the flagging spirit that is desperately trying to reassert itself in the raging cacophony of a hundred voices and bodies, loud music and noise.
“I burn more calories in my brain” is something I have always claimed and I believe it. I like being quiet in my shell. I prefer to chose when I go out, with whom and how often. I prefer hosting an intimate dinner for a few people to throwing a loud party. I am not averse to meeting people but I find constant conversation annoying. Like a phone battery, I need to periodically recharge my spirit from my inner reservoir. Sometimes, all I want to do is hibernate, like a bear. Store my energy, revive my spirit, and stew in silence. Meditate.
With silence comes insight. Once I create space between the jumbled thoughts that run like scrambled signals on a crowded frequency. I know what is wrong with me. Nothing.
I am an introvert. Being introverted is a temperament, not a disorder. And like many introverts who prefer solitary pursuits, I am happiest when I am doing what I love, write in solitude.
“Loneliness is poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.” – May Sarton.