A while back I wrote a post titled, “The Solitary Runner.” I am frequently questioned about my “decision” to be an introvert. I remind individuals that being an introvert is not a conscious decision one makes anymore than one decides they are going to be “gay.”
The definition of “solitary” is “being, living or going alone without companions.” I agree with this definition but struggle with the following definition which says, “Saddened by isolation.” I am relatively certain there are some individuals who are in fact “saddened by isolation.” I am not one of those individuals.
I feel as though I am one of the lucky ones. I do not need to be around others and are dependent on others for my happiness. I have a friend who has told me he “can’t be alone.” I find this statement to be sad. It’s not that I necessarily mind being with or around others, most of the time I do not, but it’s the fact I do not need to be around others. I don’t depend on others to fulfill needs. I don’t depend on others for my happiness.
Research has indicated a “higher degree of happiness and fulfillment” for individuals who have many social outlets. This may be true for those individuals who require constant verbal stimulation from others to define their happiness. I do not agree with the results of this study when it comes to introverts. We actually find the incessant babble which fills many voids in relationships to be tiring and emotionally draining as well as completely unnecessary.
I have a favorite backpacking route in the Adirondacks. This route comes to an overlook which shows a large expanse of the High Peaks region. I can sit in awe and amazement for a long period of time taking in the beauty of the vista. Thoughts of simpler times and quotes from John Burroughs and Henry David Thoreau come to mind. The beauty combined with the quotes often brings tears to my eyes. I feel at one with what I am seeing. Others will look at the same view and within minutes claim, “That’s nice!” For them the view has been seen and the time is now to move on further up the trail. I would rather have these individuals continue on the trail than punctuate my solitude with inane conversation which serves to only fill what they can describe as an “uncomfortable void.”
Please do not confuse my silence and my love of silence with arrogance and with my desire to not want to be your friend. I ask for nothing more than your understanding that I cherish my solitude and will guard and fiercely protect it.
A solitary man.