Hermit or Happy?

Are you a social butterfly? Do you call and visit friends frequently? Do you assume everyone else enjoys company as much as you do? This may hurt, but not all of us like visits, especially unexpected ones. I don’t want to discourage people from being friendly and caring, but I have my limits. I can only tolerate so much “together time.” Let me help you understand my point of view.

I was raised in a small, quiet family. We had infrequent guests, and I enjoyed spending my spare time reading and listening to music. I recall my mom telling me to come out of my room and “be sociable.” My response was usually either, “I don’t have anything to talk about,” or “I’m reading a good book!” I relished my time alone, and I don’t feel like I missed out on anything by not having siblings. Some people have tried to tell me how “lonely” my childhood must have been—those people may mean well, but they know nothing about me. Maybe they are projecting their own feelings. As an only child, I learned to entertain myself. I didn’t have to share my toys. So? Those aren’t negatives to me! I am happy in my own company.

I get bored super fast, so after I learn something (such as when I earned my CNA license), I practice it a bit, then move on to the next challenge. If I don’t have a goal to accomplish, I will be bored. That’s one reason I usually have a book in my hand. As I’ve studied for my Master’s in Spanish these last two years, I took a class that made me understand something: I have little patience for interactional language; I generally focus on transactional language. Interactional language is pleasant chit-chat (the niceties). Transactional language is more direct to get something done. I might seem abrupt and rude sometimes, but my mind is on my to-do list. I am at my best in a classroom, whether I am a learner or a teacher. I can survive professional conferences and interact well. I think it’s because I attend one or two per year, and I truly enjoy interacting with other teachers. I get so many great ideas from my peers.

It might sound strange, but even though I belong to a few professional organizations, I am not much of a “joiner.” When given a choice between going out for a dinner with colleagues or staying home, I stay home. I never go to the Christmas parties or end-of-year festivities. I get my work done and stay to myself. Some people are offended when I choose solitude over socializing. If you are one of those people, just remember: It’s not you; it’s me. I am not rejecting you; I am celebrating my solitude. I guess I am a happy hermit.

If you want to come visit occasionally, call first. Please don’t just show up at my door unless I have told you specifically that it’s fine. I like having time after work to do nothing all by myself. I also relish quiet time with my daughter and our pets. As I get older I have found that I actually prefer the company of my pets. 🙂 Leave this happy hermit alone. I will emerge when I feel like it!

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