Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What a long strange trip it's been

Yesterday was September 1st, and I forgot to ward off the evil spirits! So here we go:
 
Rabbit rabbit rabbit!
 
Evil spirits officially warded off.
 
I talked to one of the possible caterers for our November PAC dinner, and it's very do-able for them with the budget we have per person. I think that's the restaurant we'll want to go with, and have some appetizers, a buffet, and an open bar with beer and wine only. They're supposed to send me details of what they recommend with this budget, and then we'll choose the menu. Let's see, I'm thinking Eggplant Parmigiana, crab cakes, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella...all of MY favorites! Totally kidding. A choice between chicken, beef, and fish, the usual suspects when it comes to sides, etc. I think this is going to be fun!
 
I read a couple of journal entries this morning that really got me to thinking. (Stand back, she's gonna explode!) Lori over at Dusty Pages wrote about her need for "alone time" (and taught me a new word along the way: anchorite), and Lisa at Life on a Bison Farm wrote about the pathway that has brought her to her current life. Both of these wonderful women could have been writing about aspects of my own life.
 
Apparently Lori and I share a deep-seated need for solitude. So much so that we recognize our potential for becoming complete hermits! When I retired, one of my coworkers said, "Beth is going to turn into a hermit!" Well, it hasn't happened--yet--but I DO recognize that tendency in myself and try to make sure that I don't overindulge in my desire for solitude.
 
I think Lori will agree with me in that it's not a dislike for people...well, most people. Okay, sometimes it really is a dislike for people. But luckily, that's a rarity. The vast majority of people I'm around are fun, interesting, and very nice folks, and I always enjoy spending time with them. Part of it is simply being a very shy person, as is Lori. We had a little email discussion about it, and agreed that most people would never believe that about us. I remember having a discussion with a friend at work in which I mentioned that I was always painfully shy, but that I learned to handle it better as I got older. Just as some of you were when you found out that I'm not a "talker," she was shocked and said, "I never would have thought that about you!" I said, "ACTING!"
 
And that's exactly what much of it was for many years. I would tell myself, "Act like you're outgoing," and then do it. I would say in my head, "Show that you're confident," and I would. It's become more natural as the years have gone by, but it's still something that I have to work at. It's no wonder that I'm exhausted after social situations!
 
I still find that I'm most comfortable and relaxed when I'm sitting here by myself, or when Ken and I sit in companionable silence while he works and I read. We're fortunate to have found each other, because neither of us feel the need to have non-stop dialogue or constant conversation, and we are quite content to just enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds us. My friend Jillian and I used to laugh about how she and I were sort of "jealous" of our days off, and just wanted to hole up in our homes and enjoy the quiet. We would joke that because we're so similar in that regard, we could get together and just sit silently in different corners and read. Ha ha!
 
I didn't used to be that way, and in my younger days, I always wanted to be around people. If I weren't, I would want to talk to someone on the phone. It was a constant barrage of social stimulation, and as I look back, it seems to me that it was rooted in the fact that I wasn't comfortable with myself, and had some sort of nagging question about my own happiness. I wasn't capable of being happy in my own skin, so I had to be around others to make up for that lack of confidence, and to hope that they would provide the joy in my life.
 
Which brings me to Lisa's entry: the path she's traveled to get to NOW.
 
Her story sounds eerily similar to mine, with a few obvious differences. Everyone's path is different, and we all must navigate it ourselves.
 
Her move from an active social life to small town life sounds like it was jarring and disconcerting, and not very welcome. She eventually learned to love what life was teaching her, and she strikes me as a very together and interesting person.
 
While we all have some regrets about things that have happened to us, and choices that we have made, I find it foolish and counterproductive to dwell on "What if..." questions. Of course, it's natural to think in those terms once in a while, but we can't change what has happened. For me, it's better to realize that the choices we have made, whether good or bad, are part of what has brought us to this point in time, and the important question then is, "Am I happy with where I'm at NOW?" If we answer no to that question, we've still got some work to do. If we can answer yes, we are fortunate indeed.
 
We can all stand room for improvement in certain things, but if we have come to enjoy being happy with our own company and to not need others to create that happiness, we're doing okay. And while it's understandable to have regrets about certain decisions we've made, it's more important to realize that these are the things that have made us who we are. Whatever pain, whatever joy, whatever sorrows have occurred in our past have contributed to our current outlook on life and our own view of who we are. Learning from our mistakes empowers us and lets us know that while we may not be able to control what happens to us, we most certainly can control how we react to it. Repeating the same mistakes over and over is damaging and dangerous, and results in stagnation and a lack of joy. Taking those mistakes and turning them into learning experiences allows us to grow as human beings and enjoy our lives to the fullest, rather than being mired in regret and bitterness over things that are long past and beyond our control to change.
 
I wish you all much happiness.
 
Thanks, Lori and Lisa, for the inspiration!

24 comments:

makemarc said...

I could react to the entirety of this entry and say something deep and inspirational, but I'd rather react to the very opening part about warding off evil spirits and ask: Does Nutwood Junction refer to where you live in reality or where you live in your head?
Hee, hee.  As you can tell, laugher is what keeps me sane. Or insane.

sybilsybil45 said...

How WONDERFUL  to read that there are others like me out there.  I thought that I must be an odd bod as I too could quite happily live as a hermit  but can still enjoy my friends company....but oh the bliss of sitting here all by my wee self..thank you for making me not feel guilty about it.... My friend Mary is the complete opposite to me and she craves company all the time and never stops talking...I know that it is a cross I have to bare so I sit here and wait patiently..sometimes ...for her to go home at 6pm..she comes over to me at around 8.45am and stays ALL DAY....she will go up the village for a walk and sometimes I actually think of things so she can go for...just that...aint that horrid....see I have already said to much LOL  goodnight...Love  Sybil xx

http://journals.aol.co.uk/sybilsybil45/villagelife/

easteeleco said...

My husband is introverted. Every social event is extremely hard on him and he requires much quiet afterwards. And yet, it wasn't until my sister's ex described Paul as a "quiet" man that I truly realized the truth I've always known (his introversion). LOL... Quiet is never a word 'I' would use to describe Paul, but I finally see how that is what he projects to the rest of the world.  I think your shyness is just another word for introvert... the fact that you are exhausted after social gatherings seems to bear this out.  And... the other thing I've learned is that 'introvert' and 'extrovert' are just indicators of where the energy comes from. :)  Introverts expend energy to be with others, extroverts absorb the energy from gatherings.  Sorry, for meandering ... Estela

gen0507 said...

OMG!!!!  I think you can see straight into my soul.  I'm the very same way!  There's no where that I'd rather be than home, & there's no one that I'd rather be with than my hubby.  We are the same way about not needing to talk all the time ~ just being together is enough.  I'm not a very out-going person.  I'm kinda shy until I really get to know you.

AMAZING ENTRY!!!!  THANKS!!
Hollie

cvgflydis said...

All I could think of while reading this was......THANK GOD THEY ALL WENT BACK TO WORK/SCHOOL.................alone time.....me time. I just backspaced and deleted the rest of it....TMI~LMAO

Angel

marainey1 said...

It is important to find your own special space where you feel comfortable.  Solitute is good and you sound happy.  Make the most of your days, they fly by too quickly.  'On Ya' - ma

buckoclown said...

I agree with Estela's comments.  We are both introverts, and we get our happiness from within without the need for external stimulus.  Nothing wrong with being an extrovert, it just is not the way we are.  I also taught myself at an early age to be outgoing and aggressive at work, people are shocked that my true personality is more laid back and that I enjoy and often make people laugh in our personal lives. :o)

mleppard06 said...

lovely entry. My space is my craft room late at night when all the boys and animals are asleep...quiet...bliss.... take care mrs t xx

frankandmary said...

I am fine with just ME(ok, & Briege, Pema & Clementine,the kitten I am supposed to "place," but she is looking mighty at home!) I've changed. I've had some med issues & some life issues(doesn't everyone?) & I don't even get the PAY ATTENTION TO ME ALL THE TIME people.  They alternate between making me yawn & exhausting me. I don't have this deep seated fear of falling into isolation. I like my quiet time, my old home & my young cats.  Good enough for me, & that is all it needs to be good enough for. ~Mary

lsfp1960 said...

I'm just fine with "me" also. Although, I do love to be with & talk to my friends. Just planned a lunch out for gals from my high school graduating class today for Sept 15th.  I also enjoy my time at home. After working for 47 years..I relish not having to get up & be somewhere every morning at a certain time. If I need to make an apoointment...I make it for later in the morning or "the first one after your lunch, please."    In Lisa's journal I commented that in my younger years I made a few bad choices.  Where would I be if I'd done differently ?  I don't have a clue but I'm happy where I'm at today, no matter what I did in the past.  Linda in Washington state

aimer said...

I totally relate to this entry. People are often surprised when I reveal that on every personality test of the Meyers-Briggs genre that I've taken, I'm always an introvert. Like you, I practiced acting outgoing and confident, but it takes a great deal of energy to "perform." So I look at my alone time as time to rejuvenate my spirit, to rev myself up so that I can enjoy the company of others. I guess that I'm like a battery; sometimes I need recharging.--Sheria

jimsulliv3 said...

While I'm naturally extroverted, I, too, enjoy alone time when there's no sense of need to converse with anyone. There are just times that the obligatory banter between mates, friends or family is plain uncomfortable. Good post.

Jimmy

amy122389 said...

I'm the same as Mary - I'm juuust fine in my house with my pets...and nobody else.  I've always been shy though.  Really shy.

~Amy

preciousone25 said...

I think most of us have experienced enough of life to have learned to be happy with who WE are in ourselves, and we've learned to love the people we are.  Although I'm not happy at all with how my life has turned out, I AM happy with who I am as a person.... and I'm VERY comfortable spending time with ME, I LOVE my quiet time, which I get alot of now that my son is older and spends alot of time with his friends or in his room... LOL!!  

Joann

preciousone25 said...

P.S.... OH, and YOU, SHY?????   HA!!!  WHO ARE YOU KIDDING!!!!!!!???

Joann

godolallie said...

Your entry rang some very loud bells for me. I am very shy and throughout my life have always 'overcompensated' for it, so no one ever believed I was wracked with self doubt. Events have changed me considerably over the past years and although I crave a hidden 'haven' from my difficulties I intend to keep on trying to overcome them.
Found you via Frank. I am also with Uncle K in that I run from one thing to another... :)
Liz http://journals.aol.co.uk/godolallie/pictures-within-pictures/

eml625 said...

Would it surprise you if I told you I'm the same way??
Yes, I'm shy !!! When I started working (my first lab, I was 19) I WAS painfully shy. I use to do  like you and say to myself, I'm outgoing, I'm fun, and I tried to be. I think that's why J-land is perfect, we can be outgoing and funny when we are really sitting here ..by ourselves, silent !!!
Take Care
E.

queeniemart said...

AH, lovely way to put it. I learned something last week when the 22 yr old girl i work with said that her past mistakes were "learning experiences". Remember that? She taught me alot that day. I had looked at it like that. A person can take what happens and become damaged and get stuck or move forward and TRY to have a good life. Or SOME...cough cough.....stay damaged, move forward and put on a happy face when the soul is crying. You have an excellent outlook. I love to be alone and be silent or quiet. As long as my brain is not going goofy that day, i am so content. Then there are times i want very much to talk to others but we do not always get to talk to the others we want to talk to.
So glad you found inspiration in others writings. That is a great part of J Land. XOXO

wwfbison said...

Thank you for the kind words.  I read Lori's entry and of course felt it hit home with me as well.  I would much rather be home with all the critters alone or with hubby than I would anywhere else on the planet.  It is where I feel safe & loved.   I was surprised after reading the comments to see so many others would or do choose their home lives & quiet time over a hectic social life, it shows contentment and that can be so hard for people to find.
Lisa

carouselqueen70 said...

i have severe social anxiety so I am a hermit but not by choice. I want to be around people but just cant. I think it is a curse. I dont have any friends. My only friend was my sister who died in october of last year.

I have alot of What ifs in my life. I am trying to correct a few of my mistakes I have made. I am 38 and I still dont know what my purpose is in life at all yet. I do know that I am on a journey to find out. ..hugs, Christine

valphish said...

You know, Beth, I am much like you.  I have always been shy, but have forced myself to interact with others through the years.  I DO enjoy people, though.  I think most people are lovely.  When I was working I think I had a little more confidence as I was around more people, but now that I am home and on disability, I love being holed up and quiet.  I could be alone for days and wouldn't mind it.  My boyfriend and I can sit in silence for hours, too, and enjoy it.  We do!  How nice!  Quiet is bliss.  
http://journals.aol.com/valphish/ThereisaSeason

fisherkristina said...

Beautiful entry. Yes - our pains, joys, sorrows, trials, and mistakes all shape us into who we are today, by giving us a new perspective, and helping us grow.  We can't be the person we are today without our past.  

I too have my time during the day where I just sit quietly.  I could do it for hours.  Unfortunately, I don't have as much time to do so as I used to.  I should make time.  It is a way to learn much about oneself and others and the world, and to commune with God - or a way to just refresh oneself by relaxing and doing nothing.  It's wonderful...

Krissy :)
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink

lurkynat said...

hugs,nat

helmswondermom said...

What a great entry!  I'm sorry I just got around to it.  And yes, I do agree that it isn't a dislike of people in general.  When I'm in a social situation I enjoy myself -- granted, with some people more than others! -- but there is something soothing about time alone or quiet time with someone that gives me something I really do need.  Loved the entry!
Lori