I have discovered that as an introvert, I need some alone time.  It can be hard to find this time with a busy family and work life.  So one of my goals this year is to make some regular time alone each day to clear my head and recharge.

I woke up early this morning to enjoy some solitude and not long after, my young daughter woke up looking for some company. My daughter needs constant attention and most of the time I love spending time with her.  However, she does not understand when daddy (or mommy) needs just a little space.  We hung out and watched a little TV and played a game.

And then when I slipped away for a bit more solitude, I read a blog post by Brenda Knowles called The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo?  Knowles writes:

Alone time should not be looked down upon.  It should be respected and understood.  Maybe someday we’ll talk of solitude breaks openly and encouragingly rather than with hisses and shakes of the head. In the long run humanity will benefit.

I’m also looking forward to the day when taking needed solitude is understood and encouraged rather than looked down upon. My entire life I have enjoyed solitude, but it has just been within the last few years I have realized it is a need, a need in my personal life and in my work life. I don’t need or want it all day long, but a little time alone each day is how I work best. Sometimes, it is difficult to explain to your family that you need a little time alone and this is not a rejection of them, but rather a need to spend some time alone with your thoughts to rejuvenate and recharge.

It’s funny that I have been married for many years and until I started writing about introversion, I did not realize that not only do I need some solitude, but my introverted wife does too. I didn’t realize this was what was happening when she was staying up later than the rest of the family.  Understanding this is very helpful.  Sometimes I will take the kids out of the house for the day and give her the day to herself.  Normally, we both put the kids to bed, but she understands every once in a while when after a particularly long day at work I need some space.  Understanding our needs for solitude has been helpful.  It is not perfect; I may need her company when she would like to be alone or the other way around, but either way, the understanding goes a long way.

Right after I read the article by Brenda Knowles, I saw a tweet from Dr. Laurie Helgoe:

“Working in” is the new working out. Solitary reflection is essential for expanding the mind, just as exercise is essential for building the body. Got a work-in program?

Yes, this is what I am talking about, a “work-in” program!  For me, this means getting up early or setting aside some time during my day. And I consider the needs of my wife and think about what I can do to help her to have that solitude that helps her function best.  I also try to be aware of the needs of others, whether family members, friends, or people at work, and whether they have solitude that they need.

We must continue to get the word out that there is a need for solitude in many of us that is not selfish or strange, but in reality, brings us to our best self.

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