Alone Time

I’m so tired!

I’ve been meaning to keep up with this blog, to write three times a week, but there’s so much else to keep up with. So much taking energy . . .

It’s not the work, although I have a lot of that. But it’s manageable. What tires me out is the people — don’t get me wrong, I love people. And I have the good fortune to work with absolutely wonderful people — smart, dedicated students and supportive colleagues who are continually innovating in their work. I love everything I do . . .

My problem is that I’m an introvert, and hypersensitive (meaning that I over-respond to stimuli, like bright lights or medicine), and even a bit sensory defensive. So although I love people, I need alone time, when I can sit in a room, with the light dimmed, and do something like listen to soft music. All by myself.

I know I’m not the only one. Since I have so many friends who are writers and artists, many of my friends need alone time as well. They tend to be introverts, people who want to go deeply in life rather than broadly. And deeply often means deeply into themselves, which you can only do when you’re alone. The challenge of being an introvert, of drawing your energy from alone time and expending it during time with other people, is that you can go too much into yourself, spend too much time alone. I have to make sure I get out and socialize, not just see people during work.

(I have sixty students. So almost every day of the week, I’m with people. And I live in a large city, where when I step out the door I see people. Although sometimes being in a large city, where you don’t actually know the people you see on the street, can be refreshing, and not so different from alone time. There’s something lovely about anonymous time as well . . .)

In addition to spending this week with people, I’ve been sick, which always lowers my threshold for sensory stimuli. Some days, all I wanted to do was stay in bed . . .

So the trick is, trying to figure out how to get enough alone time in my days so that I can function well, because if I don’t get that alone time, I find that I’m tired and cranky. And you can’t really be cranky when you’re teaching. One thing that helps is going down to the river, who is a very restful sort of neighbor. (The river is almost out my back door, separated from me by a bridge. When I walk over the bridge, I’m right there, on the riverbank.)

I thought with this post I would include some photos of my favorite willow tree, whom I like to visit when I walk by the river. Here it is!

Willow 1

Willow 6

And here is me trying to be a willow spirit. Sometimes I just go and sit by the willow. I look at the river — I think looking at water is a good way to still and refresh the mind. We live metaphorically, although we often don’t realize it. Water is a metaphor for the unconscious, for the depths of the mind itself, and so looking at water can help you get there, to that still, deep part. And it can be cleansing, as water is. This was me after a long day of teaching, down by the willow . . .

Willow 3

(I feel as though I should write about this? Life as metaphor. When I have a little more time . . .)

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3 Responses to Alone Time

  1. Thank goodness for the river…yes, that metaphor for the sweep of our lives.

  2. Excellent view on being introvert Theodora, I completely relate to where you’re coming from which is why I’ve recently moved from the City to the Coast. I still miss the City though and how anonymous living there is. Being near water is a more powerful draw . x

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