Hermit at Heart

The other day, fresh from the shower, I chose a clean pair of pants to wear. Seeing particular favorites, I quickly reviewed my coming week’s obligations and plans, then chose the pants. As I pulled them from the drawer and put them on, I felt tension flowing away from my body and mind, replaced by a rush of quiet euphoria as I realized that, for the next few days, I would stay home. Topping them with a favorite pullover hoodie sweatshirt, I felt complete, whole, and entirely happy.

I avoid wearing these pants, a pair of camouflage-patterned military fatigues, if I’m going to be seen by people outside my immediate family. I’ve been shy about wearing them since a lovely local woman gently and cleverly teased me about them (see Camo Clash). As much as I enjoyed the attention, I decided not to wear them in public anymore. I henceforth firmly identified them as “homestead pants.”

Mark in fatigues

Mark’s camouflage fatigues, not for general company (Photo: Russ White).

My point here, however, is the rush of emotion when I decided I would be largely alone at home for at least half of the coming week. I am close to accepting my introverted self. I have come to embrace my inner hermit.

Living semi-remotely, we try to monitor our mental status. Michelle seems to need more social interaction than I do. Aly probably seeks company more than either of us, largely because of her age and marital status (which is to say, single).

I’ve come to realize that I’m an introvert.

Mark sitting on a rock

“Top o’ the world, Ma!” A happy man, in the midst of his forest (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

I’ve actually known this a long time, referring to myself simply as “shy,” something that others doubt, given my ability to speak in public, act on stage, and otherwise perform publicly. I used to bow to their judgement, and avoid calling myself introverted, but I really am. Overcoming a personality trait through effort doesn’t negate it, after all.

I learned that introversion isn’t defined as the total avoidance of people. Instead, it involves one’s energy. Briefly, an extrovert gains energy from other people, an introvert loses energy to other people. So, an introvert can function in society, but needs time to recharge energy through alone time.

Here on the homestead, I can recharge to my heart’s desire. The question becomes: have I acclimated to the solitude to the point that I need more of it to recharge? I don’t know. If so, I’m still covered.

I adore the solitude of our homestead. I treasure the freedom to be myself, unobserved (other than filtered and controlled views, such as in this blog) as I would be out in society.

Ironically, I wrote this during a socially intense week; I’ve already been to dinner at new friends’ house with the family, and the day you read this I’m going to a dinner dance fundraiser for a local organization. I go unwillingly, have a great time inevitably, but return home gratefully, and with a sense of great relief.

We’ve been here too long now to name the homestead. We wanted to do so from the outset, but failed to agree on what to call it. Informally, jokingly, I refer to it as “the hermitage.” More often these days, that seems a fitting name for it.

For one such as I, a hermit at heart, that sounds like home.


This entry was posted in Philosophy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hermit at Heart

  1. Virginia says:

    Love the pants!

  2. Angela says:

    I must say this post spoke directly to and about me. I too am an introvert and although people try to dismiss that fact because I can function somewhat as an extrovert, I truly am. I love the way you described the part about losing energy from people. I love nothing more than returning home and unwinding in peace and solitude after too many social obligations. I really like “the hermitage” as a homestead name, it seems fitting somehow. 🙂 From one hermit to another or I should say hermitess, have a peaceful week. 🙂

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Angela. I should credit my Psychologist sister, Beth, for explaining introversion and extroversion to me.

    The other reason The Hermitage appeals to me is because hermit thrushes feel so comfortable here, they sometimes overrun the yard in summer!

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Thanks, Virginia! Me too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *