I am an introvert, that’s nothing new. Everyone who knows me, understands that I spend little time outside the house. Being outside drains me of energy. It’s a mental exhaustion that often accompanies tuning people out. I don’t have enough energy to hear their words. It doesn’t come from ignoring loved ones. It’s that you’re so mentally drained. The idea of having to listen to one more sentence makes you want to collapse into a heap and not move for a week.
In short, my home is my sanctuary. I’ve put a lot of thought being much of this space that Sander and I share and it’s growing into a beast we both love. And what happens when I did have to leave it? I’ve lived here for several months now, an environment where I don’t speak the language. Tuning people out was even easier than ever. I didn’t need to pay attention because the words made no sense. Of course, after I was subjected to these Dutch words, I’ve begun to learn them. I do see that fatigue creeping back in to rear its ugly head though.
Anyone who knows me, understands that I speak very little. As an introvert, I’d rather observe than place the spotlight on myself. I once told Sander that if strangers must see me, it must be for a brief moment before I vanish forever.
I enjoyed the relationship I had with my friends in America. I saw them once or twice a month and that was fine. There would be so much to catch up on. We could get a meal together and talk for an hour straight before saying goodbyes. Anyone I spent more than an hour with (you can ask and they will confirm) our conversations are less frequent. Spending time together becomes more of enjoying the presence of each other. Like an elderly couple that don’t need to speak to communicate.
So how is it then, being in an environment where no one knows these precious details?
Sander’s family is often confused about why I’d rather spend the day alone. Wendy’s words often resound when about it.
“You just have to get up and go out!” And I did, and I enjoyed it, but that does not mean that I need company. It does not mean I need to go out every day. My inner introvert would get mad at me!
It’s hard to explain to people who don’t see the world as we do. Sander does and we often spend our time playing video games in silence. That does not take away our “together time,” in fact it feels like we’re always together and loving it. I have yet to do an apartment tour but our home is small.
Sander and I would rather have a two person desk/computer area, than have a dining space. This is how we live.
In the meantime, I’m working on ways to fight this social fatigue. I’m reading a lot more and listening to more mood boosting music. I’m thankful that social situations are less frequent here. But I understand that going out is important. So I guess I’ll do it once in a while but still keep my hermit membership card in my wallet.