Nobody’s home

I’ve done just about every personality test going and one of the constants is that I’m an introvert. Yep. An introvert. Me. I don’t have a problem with what many see as an anomaly. On stage. Out there front and centre. Love to party. Would talk to prince or pauper. And an introvert? Doesn’t figure.

But I’m reliably informed (if you think the Urban Dictionary reliable) that an introvert  is a person who is energised by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.

I’m often found at home (yes… it could well be that I’m just not answering the door), and until I began raiding the Book Swap Shelf at Jack Doyle’s, was a regular visitor to the library. I know a few quiet parks in Budapest and have frequented my fair share of secluded places. I like to think (and might even be guilty of thinking too much on occasion) and I have no problem being alone. So all good there.

Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to ‘recharge’ afterwards.

This is me, in a nutshell. I can be social for a whole day or even two consecutive days (at a push) but then need a day off to recover. My nightmare situation involves a three-day conference crammed full of talks and workshops, social chats and networking…and other people. Or worse still, a seven-day cruise, sharing a cabin with a compulsive talker, with no land in sight. Ye gods…it doesn’t bear thinking about.

The word ‘Introvert’ has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.

Now, isn’t that telling…

I’ve a fondness for open spaces. I grew up near the Curragh in Kildare  (a flat open plain of almost 5000 acres (20 km²) of common land) and spent a chapter or three of my life in Alaska – a state reputedly two and half times the size of Texas with a population of just over half a million (no counting the animals). One of my best ever holidays was spent in Kruger Park in South Africa and one of the most heavenly experiences I’ve had has been to witness vastness of the great African sky. I’ve gone days, and sometimes more than a week, without talking to anyone other than myself; it’s good for my soul.

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Where better to recuperate from the excesses of holiday revelry and the associated socialising than on a winter’s beach, miles from anywhere. Could you hire Silver Strand in Co. Mayo for a few hours and keep it to yourself? I doubt it. But toddle out there on a brisk winter’s day and you might well have the place to yourself, apart from a few sheep lunching on a nearby island.

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Go there in the late afternoon sun and watch how the light changes wherever you turn.  The absence of human sound is deafening. You can walk for miles and not see another soul. And it’s all free. No charge.What a treasure.

Even if others come and invade your space, there’s so much of it that you’d hardly notice. And when they, too, are quiet, the place takes on the semblance of a huge, open-air church; somewhere for quiet reflection, to make amends to that inner self that has been subjected to all sorts of abuse in terms of over indulgence in recent weeks. What better antidote to the stresses of everyday living could you possibly find? Heavenly. Simply heavenly.



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