by Bella Rum
I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference. – Greta Garbo
I’ve mentioned before that I used to be an extrovert, and now I marvel at how much I’ve changed. I was under the impression that we pretty much stay the way we’re born, at least on this front. I looked around on Google a little. I found many articles on “How to Change from an Introvert to an Extrovert” as if introversion were an inferior position or a condition to be treated. Information is scarce on whether some of us naturally enjoy solitude more as we get older or if people can become more introverted because of a life experience, etc. But it does intrigue me, this considerable change in my way of being in the world.
I believe this happened to me. I know it did. I used to crave company and didn’t appreciate or need too much time to myself. Being alone bored me. I needed and enjoyed the stimulation derived from socializing, and I loved a friendly debate or dissecting a topic with a friend. I looked forward to get-togethers and lunches and parties.
That all changed.
It isn’t easy for me to be around people for extended amounts of time now. I love the people I love and want them in my life, but I really love them in small doses. If left to my own devices, I will focus on a project or activity for long periods of time. I become absorbed, and it relaxes me. I find it satisfying. I need time alone, and I find myself feeling as if I have to make excuses for this needed time, or that someone’s feelings will be hurt if I choose my solitary pursuit instead of time with them. No one is putting this pressure on me other than me, but it is real anyway.
H was always the introvert. He depended on me for social contacts. He didn’t mind going to a Christmas party, entertaining friends at home, or playing cards at their houses, but I was almost always the instigator.
He has not changed into an extrovert by any means, but he now needs more interaction than I do. I’m glad that he plays golf. It takes a good five hours. He’s happy, and it gives me time to read, write, clean the house or do laundry. Just time to be. But he still needs more. He needs for me to do things with him. He wants to go places, entertain friends and family at home more often and go out with friends and family more often and experience new things. I fear I’ve become dull and tiresome. Again, he doesn’t make me feel this way, but I do consider it.
I’ve recently begun pushing myself a little. I have no excuses now. Our time is our own. We can direct our days as we wish, and that is a true gift. We’ve started taking day trips, and going to restaurants with friends or just together, and we’re taking in a movie occasionally. We attended an event that friends invited us to, etc. Sometimes I think I could become a recluse. I’ve enjoyed everything we’ve done over the past few months, but I’m always glad to return home and encourage H to take a nap so I can get a few hours of alone time. Who knew he’d become the Bill Clinton of this relationship, and I the Greta Garbo.