As I’ve been at great pains to mention many times in previous posts on this blog, I’m a quiet sort of person. I don’t make a lot of noise and I’m content to lead a life that many might consider to be less than exciting.
One thing I’ve learned over the XX years (no, I’m not telling) I’ve spent on this earth is that things aren’t necessarily geared for us quiet sort of people. Now I don’t want to sound like a big whinger, and I’ll happily admit that many (probably most) people have endured greater trials than I have. But still, there are times when I can’t help thinking that life would be a lot easier if I was a bit more extraverted.
The main practical upshot of this is there are times when being an introvert can be quite lonely. Just because we don’t want to mix in big crowds and noisy environments, and we like to have that time alone to recharge, doesn’t mean we don’t crave human company – we just might be a bit more selective about the types of people and the environments within which we interact.
I’ve been through some of those lonely times. Times when you’re not sure what you need to do to find the companionship you need. Luckily, in those times, there have been other ways to feel a connection with the human race. They might not be equivalent to the real thing, but they do provide some level of compensation. Two of the best I can think of are stories and songs.
Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing better than playing a song to feel like you’re not the only person feeling the way you do. Of course, we all have different tastes, but my preferences revolve around soul, blues, and what I’d characterise as melancholy pop (think R.E.M., Crowded House and the like). Listening to this music always helped me feel less alone.
In addition to music, the other way I’ve always found to escape from myself has been stories. In a story, you get to see the world from a different perspective and experience the thoughts and emotions of somebody else. You get to travel on amazing journeys, and solve problems and win victories you could never imagine in real life. It can make you feel bigger and stronger, and more able to face the world and address that feeling of being alone.
With a song or a story, you’re never completely by yourself. I like to think of them as some of the best friends I’ve ever had. And like a really good friend, you never tire of their company. Put on a favourite song or dip my head into a long-loved book, and that feeling of contentment never fails to lift me up from the ordinary.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as