Alone For Seven Days? Where Do I Sign Up?

I took the Meyers Briggs Personality test years ago and found out I was introverted. Me. Introverted. I know. I was surprised, too. I had lots of friends. I was never at a loss for words. I can hold my own at a party. Need me to speak in front of a large group? I’m your (wo)man. 

The following day I shared this surprising news at the faculty lunch table. Our school counselor was there and she set me straight. She asked, “You have a choice – you can join your friends for a huge party, lots of people where you’ll only know your friends  OR you can stay home a read a good book?” I chose the good book, of course – thinking it was because I loved reading. Then she asked, “You just got home from a really fun party. Are you energized or exhausted?” Exhausted. Isn’t everyone?

Apparently not. And apparently, I am introverted. And a bit shy, I discovered.

While preparing to sit down and write today I came across this writing prompt: “Write about 5 things you would do to entertain yourself if you did not see a soul for 7 days.”

Oh. My. God.

Not see a soul for seven days? My heart went pitter-patter.

And just 5 things? Are you kidding?

Ready. Set. Go!

Read, blog, clean, organize, surf the net, catch up on TiVo, rent movies, garden, cook, bake, read some more, do laundry, repaint the banisters, update the photo albums, take more pictures, learn how to use my Blackberry (which is wasted on me because I only use it to call people and text), sleep, give myself a mani/pedi, soak in the tub refilling it with hot water over and over again until my skin is wizzled, play piano, sing, listen to music, download more music, do yoga, take naps, clean out closets…..

That’s, like, 25 things and I’m just getting started. I didn’t even stop to breathe typing that list.

I don’t know about you but I treasure a quiet house. When my husband asks me what I want for my birthday or Mother’s Day I tell him, “Take the kids somewhere, anywhere, and let me be in the house all by myself. For hours. And hours. And hours.” He says, “No. Really. What do you want?” So, of course, it never happens. It would be a nice birthday gift but I’d feel too guilty actually doing that for Mother’s Day.

The life of a hermit or recluse fascinates me. I often wonder what it would be like to pack up a few treasured belongings and go off to live in a cozy one room cabin in the woods. You have to hike in from the main road. A stack of books. A journal. A trowel and good potting soil. Sturdy hiking boots. My camera. Of course, this fantasy never involves dangerous animals, life threatening weather conditions or Deliverance characters. Just me and a friendly doe that visits me in the evening and the blue bird perched on my window sill to wake me in the morning.

But I love my kids. My husband. My life. So, it’ll never happen. But a girl can dream.

And I’m so intrigued by the above writing prompt that I don’t even know where to start. Am I in my house? That cozy cabin in the woods? Is this a scene from the Will Smith movie I Am Legend? Do I have to hunt my food or am I well stocked? Can I leave the house and still not see anyone? Or can the setting be at a gorgeous beach resort, all my needs are met, and I just don’t have to engage with anyone? (Now THAT’S a vacation I’d love to take)

So that’s me. Introverted Jane.

Who treasures a quiet house and gets positively giddy at the thought of being alone. For seven days. Without seeing a soul.

And a To-Do list a mile long.


Filed under Observations

22 responses to “Alone For Seven Days? Where Do I Sign Up?

  1. suzicate

    I’m right with you…I crave solitude!

  2. I see so much of myself and my tendencies in this post. I don’t think most others would think of me as an introvert, but my preference is always for quiet and often for solitude. I wonder, though , if solitude would quickly turn to loneliness if I had too much of it?

    Maybe you and I can take turns inhabiting a cabin in the woods, a la Thoreau in Walden?

  3. Me, too… and I don’t even have kids at home any more. It isn’t that I have to be alone, just that the things I enjoy doing, like those on your list, are solitary activities. Husband is welcome–as long as he’s quiet. 🙂

  4. I know what you mean Jane. I always score one question more on the introverted side on those tests. I’m really right in the middle, just ever so much more introvert. I just had this past week to myself pretty much, recuperating from my surgery on the couch. And while I was pretty uncomfortable and all that, it was also nice to have an excuse to just read and watch TV and veg out. So a week alone? I see how that could be a treasure!

  5. Last year my husband finally believed me and gave me a surprise at a B & B–alone. He packed my bag for me, grabbed a few good books, my journal, and some treats. We had a lovely dinner together, and then he said, “You’ve got until tomorrow evening all to yourself.” My jaw hit the floor. It was the best gift–but it took him a long, long time before he realized that I was serious when I mentioned how nice it would be. I’m definitely on the introverted side. Get a bit stranged-out by having to be social with people I don’t know very well. I’m all about Walden. Oh yes.

  6. One of my friends set me straight on the intro-extrovert thing (I think). Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like other people, it means you derive the majority of your strength and energy from within, meaning you need a good amount of recharging-type solitude. An extrovert doesn’t necessarily hate being alone, they just tend to be energized by interactions with other people. This friend figured her daughters were actually a shy extrovert and an outgoing introvert.

    I’m so with you on the being alone in my own house thing. That husband who left his wife alone at the B&B for a gift? A prince among men.

  7. unabridgedgirl

    That personality test is probably the closest I’ve come to taking interest in those things – – I usually find them too broad. I am an INFJ. I was surprised to find out that I am an introvert, too, though it makes sense – – I doubt that I’d share half of what I do on my blog with anyone outside of the blogosphere.

    Great post! And great ideas for if you were alone!

  8. I’m a Meyer Briggs ENFP (evidently a non-so-common combination), and would find myself doing most everything you would with your quiet day.

  9. After reading all the comments, I’m going to wonder if blogging isn’t an introvert forum. We get to be alone, and we get to interact with people. The best of both worlds for an introvert.

    Hi, I’m Faemom, and I’m an introvert though I play an extrovert when it comes to social gatherings, though I totally miss the days when I could just sit all day and read. Hmmm, I don’t know if this mothering business was meant for introverts.

  10. Allison has it exactly right (I do some of this stuff for a living). It is about where you draw your energy from – what depletes you and what restores you. I have always been somewhat in the middle on the whole E versus I scale. I was an E in my teens and early twenties but as I moved into my late twenties I tilted to the other side of the scale and am now an I.

  11. I think a lot of writers are introverts, so I think maybe it would make sense that many bloggers are, too?

    INFP here 🙂

  12. Hah! Rachel and Kitch stole the words from my mouth!!

    Blogging would seem a home for introverts. We can “socialize” while getting our reading kick. Nice.

    I actually do not crave being somewhere alone. I would rather be somewhere with my husband alone for a day. That would be fun. He and I can have fun while doing our own thing. Of course this fantasy would be equipped with 2 laptops and the books of our choice. And food. Good food. Lots of it too.

    Nice to meet you, introverted Jane. 🙂

  13. I don’t think I’m an introvert…but a week to myself? Holy shit…I wouldn’t even know where to start!! And i’m with you…I love having a quiet house all to myself…but it never happens!!

  14. I can really relate to this! I love being alone. It’s healing to me and I never, ever get bored!

  15. Oh I dream of an empty home and time to myself. I do get it sometimes but there is always something that comes along to spoil it, like the phone ringing, the window cleaner etc.

    Maybe bloggers need that, as most people here have agreed with you!

  16. I have also taken the Myers-Brigg Personality Test (ENTJ)…Until recently, I did not fully understand the difference between an intravert or an extravert. I accepted the stereotypes. However, being an extravert or intravert is really about how we process our world, and where we get our energy. An intravert gets their energy from within themselves, and extraverts get their energy external to themselves. The extraverts love the list of activities that you would love to enjoy. The difference is that they would have brought all of their friends. 🙂

  17. I can relate to the serentity and peacefulness of being alone..and the excitement of tackling a to-do list I think would be very Type A in there somewhere!

  18. I love this post. And, more than ever, I think we are very alike. I am Introverted Aidan. I love a party, but I adore coming home. I do. And I’m right there with you in terms of Mother’s Day and birthday wishes. A little peace goes a long way 🙂

  19. Jane,
    You’re a girl after my own heart! I remember after my daughter got married a year and a half ago I told hubby and all 3 daughters that what I wanted most was to be able to go to a hotel or B&B for 48 or even 24 hours ALL BY MYSELF. I didn’t want to have to answer to ANYBODY. My daughter was like “we were gonna send you and daddy somewhere for a weekend.” I said “You don’t get it. As much as I love Daddy, I want to be BY MYSELF. I don’t want anyone else telling me what to do or expecting something from me. If I want to watch TV I’ll watch TV. If I want to read, I’ll read. If I want to sit and twiddle my thumbs, I’ll do that and not have to cowtow to what someone else wants to do!” Still haven’t gotten it, but it’s a good dream! And I agree with the blogging/introverted thing. Maybe that’s why I have so enjoyed doing this.

  20. I’m a complete introvert. Not because I’m shy or don’t play well with others, but because others drain me. I need time alone to recharge my batteries. And that’s the problem with motherhood, for me. There is no time to recharge because I’m never alone. The draining part of other people—that’s my *job* now.
    Makes it tough.
    But every year for Mother’s Day I rent a hotel room and leave for the weekend. Because I need solitude to be a person, and 364 days a year I’m barely human anymore.

  21. I dream dream dream of 2 days alone in my house. I don’t want to go away to some spa or go on a cruise or have a fun-filled weekend in the city. I want my husband to TAKE THE CHILDREN AND LEAVE. Just go. Let me be. Let me wake up in a quiet house and go to sleep in a quiet house, all in the same day. Let me finish my coffee before it gets cold. Enjoy a peaceful dinner. Oh let me.

    I daydream about ways this could happen. Where they could go. How I could will it to happen! No go so far. But I am not ready to let the dream die! I am determined to!

  22. ck

    oh wow…7 days? I can’t even being to fathom how lovely that would be. Especially this morning when I woke up to another snow day. Seriously, I need those 7 days. Do you happen to know where I can get them?

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