As an introvert, I’ve always craved solitude, so much so I’ve been considered antisocial.
With my head permanently stuck in a book from an early age, I loved nothing more than my company and the warmth of a cosy blanket.
Jumping forward 30 years, I find I need solitude almost as much as I need air. I need it to survive. I also need it for my health and sanity (otherwise, I might just go troppo). Honestly, without my beloved ‘me-time, I border on hulk-like behaviour, threatening to turn into Ms Cranky Pants or The Ice Queen at the drop of a hat.
The irony isn’t lost on me that in order to be ‘social’ I need to also be ‘antisocial’.
I know that now after packing things into my life for years – work, networking events, catching up with friends, parties, volunteering and more…that only led to burnout, illness and depression. Oh, it also led to a deep-seated feeling of failure, weakness, and disappointment.
Instead of pondering the questions ‘Can we have it all’ we should be asking the more practical question ‘Can we do it all?’ – Sheryl Sandburg
I asked myself this a few years back after reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg, questioning if scaling back my life was my self-perceived ‘weakness was leading to me leaning out of life and not leaning in?
I’m happy I arrived at the conclusion I didn’t need it all and I certainly didn’t need to – or want to – do it all.
Yes, I wanted things. I wanted happiness. I also wanted good health, love and career satisfaction. BUT I didn’t need a kick-ass career in the corporate world, a volunteer position on a not-for-profit board on the side, other positions of ‘prestige’ AND invites to the ‘in’ networking events.
Nope. That wasn’t for me. A simple life. That’s what I want.
A simple life with bits of solitude, a lot of downtime, as well as time for reflection, writing, and peace. Admittedly it’s still a struggle. Life loves to test me with new opportunities and temptations, but I cannot deny that listening to my mind and body and its need for doses of solitude is exactly what I need – often.
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