Fifth Year of Retired Introvert - Introversion
Introversion

Fifth Year of Retired Introvert – Introversion

Even though half of my blog name is Introvert, I’ve written very little about it. I don’t know if it comes through in other ways in my writing? I think I hesitate to write too much about it because I sometimes sense others don’t want to hear about it.

It’s almost as if talking about my introverted characteristics makes some people feel I’m criticizing them for not being the same way. So not true. While there’s a lot written about introversion, it’s because introverts have often felt there’s something wrong with them. All the books, articles, etc. are written to show us that we are not alone. There’s nothing wrong with us.

I also know there are no absolutes but actually, a continuum from introversion to extroversion, and no one falls at either extreme. We are all somewhere in between but closer to one end than the other. It’s also likely we change in certain situations. However, it may not be something sustainable. I know I can be very social if I need to be, but it can quickly wear me out.

Alone vs. Lonely

One of my first posts tackled this subject. I had lived alone for many years and while I was sometimes lonely, I had come to embrace being alone. As this post points out, there are many advantages to living alone. While I love being married now and not being alone, I know I’m quite capable of living alone again.

Does retirement make you more introverted?

After I retired, I felt like I was becoming even more introverted. And that was before the pandemic. The pandemic completely changed my life and now it’s become easier to just stay home. I don’t think I’m a hermit, but sometimes it scares me a little that it would be so easy to never do anything outside the house. I’ve been slow in getting back to scheduled lunches with friends. Not because I don’t want to, but because I spend my time doing so many things at home and I’m pretty content.

Too much stimulation

I subscribe to a free publication called Introvert Insights. It’s a short mailer I get monthly, and it has some interesting tidbits in it. One of these publications talked about external stimulation, noting that it isn’t just people but all the things around you. So, living with clutter everywhere can provide that stimulation.

The example that resonated with me was magazine subscriptions. I’d get magazines I never read and they’d pile up around the house. That created stress. So, I’ve either canceled or let most of my subscriptions expire. I enjoyed the magazines; they just weren’t a priority. Read Too Much External Stimulation to learn more.

My favorite post about introversion

I have to say this is my favorite post about being an introvert – How to Misunderstand an Introvert. This was actually the result of a conversation with my mother, who never seemed to understand me. I tended to let her comments go but eventually, she’d push me enough that I lashed out. Not what I liked, but I had to stick up for myself. I wrote this to help anyone else who might make wrong assumptions about an introvert and truly wants to understand him/her.

You might be surprised by this, but I prefer public speaking to networking. If I have time to prepare and know my subject well, speaking to a large crowd is no big deal. But don’t expect me to enjoy making small talk with people afterward.

I could easily write more about introversion but it might end up being a regurgitation of what others are saying. It’s clearly an issue for many, since you can find so much written about it.

What amazes me though, is how what I find so accurately describes me. Makes me realize there are others out there just like me!!

20 Comments

  • Christie Hawkes

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Linda. I can relate. I too am more toward the introversion end of the spectrum. I enjoy connecting with people, but very much need to balance that with alone time. I found the point about clutter interesting. The piles my husband likes to keep around create stress for me, and I can get stressed out by magazines I haven’t read or even food in the refrigerator that I’m worried I won’t eat. It’s not so much that I may have to throw it out; but that it’s clutter. I’ve never connected the two things, but maybe there is something to that.

    • Retired Introvert

      The clutter thing was news to me too but it makes so much sense!! I don’t even like laying stuff out in advance of packing for a trip because it’s clutter to me. Thanks Christie.

  • Louise Crall

    Good post! As an extraverted mom of an introvert — i had to train myself to not be sad for when picking up from daycare. Just because someone is alone, doesn’t mean that they are lonely.

    • Retired Introvert

      At least you recognized it and didn’t expect her to be different. And you’re right – alone isn’t the same as lonely. Thanks Louise!!

  • Patricia Doyle

    Linda, I too am an introvert, although most are surprised by that as I can be very social and like to be out & about regualry. But those events tire me out and I need quiet, alone downtime after them to recharge. I think the extrovert/introvert dilemma is the duality mindset we live in – when there are two opposites, one is obviously “better”! Sometimes I look at the always on-the-go extroverts with admiration and sometimes just looking at them makes me tired! But like you said, I’m on the continuum myself, just lean heavily introvert and it’s a good thing to understand about myself…. so I plan that recharging downtime.

    • Retired Introvert

      I think that understanding is the important part. It allows me to schedule appropriately and to expect the need for “me” days. Knowing why I feel the way I do has helped me accept it and not assume I should feel differently.

  • Retirement Coffee Shop

    I’m in the introvert section of the public but can force myself to be extrovert when needed. I went to a training session once on how to deal with people and after we took one of those personality test they separated us into two groups. We were given a question of “What’s the best part of a party?” The other group had written answers of talking, music, food, and meeting new people. Our group answered “When it’s over!” They had divided us up introvert/extrovert and the answers were so funny.

    • Retired Introvert

      I’ve read so many things that show me I’m not alone in how I feel. I always thought I was weird so it’s been reassuring to know there are lots of people just like me.

  • Marty

    I was reading recently about Johnny Carson, and how he coudn’t stand small talk. He could perform in front a huge national audience, but he hated talking to a few people. So perhaps you’re in good company! My wife is also an interovert. I always do all the talking when we’re out in public — I always feel like we’re Penn and Teller. 😉

    • Retired Introvert

      Tim doesn’t talk much either so we’re quite a pair in social activities!! It usually forces me to talk more which can be challenging. This is when I’m thankful to be around extroverts. I’m great at answering question!! Or listening. 😉

  • Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

    I was just re-re-reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet and noticed (again) how she said that introverts made up a large portion of personal bloggers so I imagine you’ll receive a lot of “me too” comments from this post. I don’t know where I sit on the introvert continuim, but I definitely love my alone time (which I don’t get nearly enough of).

    • Retired Introvert

      I need to reread that book. I read it long ago so probably didn’t relate to the reference to bloggers. I did a survey early on and did find that most bloggers consider themselves an introvert. It wasn’t surprising given that generally introverts prefer written communication.

    • Linda Piazza

      Janis and Retired Introvert, I’m one of those people saying “me, too.” Although I missed my daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren greatly during the period of the pandemic when we had to keep apart, I am a bit chagrined to say that it was a relief not to have to meet others’ expectations of a full life. I could be my own self, deeply immersed in what interested me any given day. How do people get bored? My husband and I live in a neighborhood of homes on one-acre lots, so we had space to walk outdoors with our Great Pyr mix, greeting neighbors who were working in their yards while remaining distanced, but there was no pressure to entertain or be enthusiastic about a party or other social event. Due to my immunocompromised condition and also my preclusion from taking the vaccine, I still am not rejoining society to the degree that others are, but my vaccinated family members all test before getting together, so I’m seeing them now.

      • Retired Introvert

        I also had no trouble during the pandemic. My husband did all the grocery shopping so I barely went anywhere. My biggest struggle was trying to take care of my parents during a time when we were very restricted. We do a lot more now but I still need my time at home. As I think I’ve said before, home is my sanctuary and it always will be.

  • Mona McGinnis

    Solitude is like oxygen to me. YES!! I’ve been questioning my desire of late to be alone in my own home. I had 4 houseguests for 2 wks at the beginning of June and am just feeling recovered from that experience. As much as I enjoyed their visit, I was happy to return to my solitude. Shortly after that visit, urban cousins came to visit and felt threatened by the many bear sightings in the area. I feel equally threatened by the city crowds & traffic. Give me a bear any day! I often commented that I was made for the social distancing of a pandemic – living alone at the bottom of a hill in the country in retirement. This is a society of constant chatter & I appreciate your validation of introversion. Balance is key for me.

    • Retired Introvert

      Oh yes, I struggle with the constant chatter at times. I love my chatty friends but find I need a break after spending time together. Have you heard the term “introvert hangover”? It’s real!!!

  • Donna

    So funny what you said about public speaking. That was always my thing from junior high through college, and in my career, I was often the company spokesperson. But I’m with you! Terrible at the small talk afterward.

  • suzanne

    Hi Linda, as a fellow Introvert with extrovert tendencies, I both appreciate and relate to what you are saying here. Especially your quote about solitude being like oxygen.

    Your example of the magazines is interesting. I actually have a physical reaction to clutter and living with a husband who never puts anything back in its place is challenging. After 34 years, we are still working on that one.

    • Retired Introvert

      I don’t like clutter either. My husband’s thing is leaving doors open (including the fridge) and lights on. I’ve learned to live with it but it doesn’t mean I like it!!