Inside the quiet and contemplative

The older I get, the more I recognize what my needs are. I think this is pretty standard for most people. In the last eight to ten years, my need for rejuvenation and contemplation have grown exponentially in importance, replacing the need for socializing I had in my twenties. I consider myself an outgoing introvert. When I am in social situations, including work, I am social and wholly engaged. But it takes a lot out of me--though I admit there are exceptions to the rule. But for the most part, I prefer to spend non-work time in as unsocial a setting as possible. Preferably surrounded by nature or animals. 

I haven't yet figured out how to explain my need of solace to some people and I recognize how my repetitive, "thank you for the invitation but no thank you" might make someone feel rejected or at least baffled by my lack of enthusiasm for being with other people. Social outings take a lot out of me no matter how much I like someone. And the larger the group of people, the less fulfilled I am by the experience. Small talk is one of my least favorite things to do. It happens 40 hours a week at work, so I prefer to have deep, meaningful and hilarious conversations with people that don't require the getting-to-know-you or getting-caught-up banter. I can do it just fine, I just prefer not to. I don't care what people do for a living as much as I care about what they carry in their heart. What inspires them. How they honor what ever feeling they are having at a given point in time. 

I write this after going to a social gathering last night that was so loud I had to yell to communicate in a room where there were too many bodies for the maximum capacity of the space. I'm glad I went, but I am pooped and probably wont want to do anything heavily social for a week. 

I find quiet to be sacred. I cherish it. I am revived by it. One on one conversations with a lot of space, depth, curiosity and little to no advice-giving, also revive me. Being with someone who is fully present and not seeking to influence or be filled up by me, is a gift and I have these encounters (for which I am grateful) in expected and unexpected places. Sometimes even in the  midst of a party (though, we often leave to find a quiet space to continue the conversation). 

As I read through the emails I've shared over the years with my fellow introvert friend, ML, I am comforted in knowing there are other people in my life for whom, while being together is a great blessing, togetherness is not required for a deep connection. There is a lot of time spent researching and pondering the inner spaces of being, so when I come together with other close friends (many of whom also identify as introverts) we are able to share what we have been learning about ourselves, the world and the invisible magical places that are impossible to reach amid the noise and haste. This is my favorite kind of time spent with others. 

It also makes me feel less fearful of ML's death because our bond is maintained in a space other than the physical.