Tuesday mornings are mine. For three and a half hours, I can do whatever I choose. This past month or so, I’ve chosen to bring my laptop to Barnes and Noble. With a medium chai latte at hand, I write uninterrupted. Here I get space of mind. No obligations to fulfill, no one I know at my table, nothing to attend to except my own rambling thoughts. It’s glorious.
I’m an introvert. It’s only recently that I’ve understood what that means for me. I need solitude. Being alone is how I recharge. Extroverts get energy from being among people and in stimulating places. Not me. Crowds and noise stress me out. If I can’t get time alone, I get crabby. Worse, I don’t know what I’m feeling, or thinking, or even who I am.
I remember when my first husband and I returned from our wedding in New York. We had a small ceremony at my aunt’s and uncle’s house in Mount Kisco. It was a great deal of excitement for me to manage, especially since I’d met my husband’s parents for the first time. Lots of moving around, lots of noisy Spanish relatives, lots of hoopla.
Back in our quiet rented house in Santa Barbara, I took a deep breath. But wait! We had visitors–friends of my husband’s from Iowa. My husband planned for us to take them out to dinner. I refused to go. I had reached my limit and was feeling the ominous beginnings of a head cold. That’s how many introverts’ bodies work: if we can’t get the down time we need, we’ll get sick in order to get it.
My husband was furious. He could not understand. “What’s your problem?” I didn’t have the self-knowledge to explain, but I stayed firm. Looking back, I’m amazed that I didn’t cave in and go out to dinner with them. I recall curling up under the down comforter on our bed, sighing with relief into the silence.
Now that I’m quite a bit older, I find it easier to accept and care for my introverted self. I set the alarm for 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. My husband sleeps on while I meditate, or do some rounds of EFT (tapping). Or do yoga. Or work on my writing.
That precious time has so many possibilities that I always run out of minutes before I do everything I want. I love the quiet of my time in the early morning. With an hour or so of solitude, I am a much friendlier person when we start the day.