Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe
― Susan Cain
A few times in my life I’ve often thought how great it would be to have lived in a different age.
I have affinities with certain time period for absolutely no reason I can think of other than it purely being based on novels, films and TV programmes that I have, over the course of my life, consumed and thoroughly enjoyed.
The time periods include the Victorian era, the 1920’s and the 1950’s. All because (apart from liking the clothes) I like the idea that society was so structured. There were less people so solitude was easier to find. You knew your place in the class system (not always a good thing obviously), and there were a lot of cultural changes going on.
How exciting it must have been during the period of getting women’s rights or finding out that the railway line was coming to your town.
I’m no historian which means it’s rather a basic viewpoint.
The point is I used to think it would be easier to live in a less technology filled, less petrol driven, more simple era.
Now though I believe if you’re an exceedingly extroverted individual, like me, then this is just possibly the best time to be alive.
As we stand in 2014 society and the people in it are now more than ever living in an introverted world.
This is pretty tough on our extroverted friends but hey, it’s about time the tables were turned in our favour.
21 Century Introvert
- Face to face time has reduced. Places that people traditionally gathered to meet are no longer there, or used in the same ways. Pubs, social clubs, work based clubs, parks and other groups which used to be major gathering places are now not so. This isn’t such a bad thing for introverts though. For one thing it means less pressure to be part of something. More people tend to spend more time at home or do things in family units (cinema, cafes etc).
- Social media has meant I can connect with so many interesting people, all over the world. I can dip in and dip out of conversation and more importantly no face to face small talk involved.
- Better technology has allowed me to now to work from home more often than not, which took all of 5 seconds for me to full embrace and I’ve never looked back.
- Information is everywhere on-line and extremely easy to get hold of. For one that used to spend hours in a library, the library is now constantly available to me at the touch of a button. Information and ease of access to it gives me a sense of security in some ways. It also means I can learn new things, and keep learning.
- Facebook (while a complete pain in the arse) has at least allowed me to keep in contact with people I care about so they know I haven’t completely left the planet. Having said that I find interaction on it very hard sometimes, perhaps it’s because most of them are extroverts to one extent or another?
- People hardly ever use phones now which is pure joy for someone like me that detests speaking on the phone. Communication techniques are changing all the time. We’re either back to face to face time or written communication, both of which I prefer.
- Blogging has given me a whole new reason to be creative. There are so many on-line platforms for writers, artists, singers, even LEGO builders! As an introvert I get very jittery when I can’t spend time writing because for me that’s how I feel comfortable communicating. Now I’ve got a whole platform to spread my writing over.
- Most importantly I can surround myself with good people on-line. People that either share my values, or who are doing something challenging that I’d like to do, or just ooze with being positive and wanting to get things done. Simply by reading their muse it has helped me develop quicker in the last two years than in has my whole life.
- Mindfulness, yoga, simple living, urban homesteading, meditation, slow living. All embrace alone and/or quiet time. Even seen to be fashionable in some cases (ugh). And yet they are in some form or another what I do and how I embrace every day without even thinking about it.
So now I believe that while some areas of this era are far too over consumed and constantly rushed, here within it lies peace and a new dawn for people who identify as being introverted.
Loneliness, what’s that?
A lot of people (in the know) are saying that loneliness is a big problem in our society these days, due to the reliance on technology and our ever growing shift away from traditional social gatherings, and that this problem will continue to get worse.
I think a lot of people may fear being alone, which isn’t the same thing as loneliness.
I’m constantly finding in my own life that connecting with people comes down to either wanting to socialise, and knowing how to do it (learning the extroverted skills), or learning to make connections with others in altogether different ways. Ways that feel comfortable and come easy to me.
What’s important is that the connection does not have to be a crowded room, a dance floor, or a friend of a friends birthday party (because you thought you had to go to that right?).
If you like spending time alone – good for you. It certainly does not make you odd, weird or any other negative word used to define introverts and loners.
This is the best era ever (almost!).
Cover photo courtesy of Paul