The Art of Living Alone

your-personality-type-introvert1I was always one of those rare types that was meant to live alone. I don’t mean that in an “awww, poor Calhoun” kinda way. I mean it as a fact. You see, I’m what most people refer to as an introvert. Where most people get their energy from being around people (we call those types extroverts) I’m one of those people who does their best thinking and doing on their own… which sounds like a masturbation joke, but I swear that wasn’t what I intended. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that I’m socially insufficient. On the contrary, I was raised in a house of, mostly, extreme extroverts. At a young age, you learn to fake your way through it. But you know that saying “fake it til you make it”? Well, besides being the worst life advice (unless you’re trying to give the person an ulcer) you can give to someone, it doesn’t always work.

See, my affinity for alone time started pretty early on. Sure, if you ask my dad, as a kid, I always had plenty of friends and all that stuff (mostly because, can you imagine the disgrace of having an unpopular child?) but I let it be known that I was a man of my own making. Like every young man, I went through that utterly impossible phase of doing everything that I could to make my pops proud of me. He played basketball. I played basketball. He performed surgeries. I watched his medical tapes. Okay, that last one might sound more messed up than it actually was… probably led to my love of horror movies… anyways, I did the whole “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” thing. But just as it happens with every father, so it goes with every son. You realize that you will never be your father and he realizes that you won’t be, either. Lucky for us, that realization came at a young age.

It was around the age of 6, when I had my first basketball practice. As the whole group huddled around the coach to listen to his words of wisdom, I proudly proclaimed, “I have bellybutton lint. It’s red, but I don’t have any red shirts. What kind of bellybutton lint do you have?”

introvertAnd so my practice of alienating those around me so I could have a little peace and quiet began. That’s where things become difficult, I suppose. The world caters to extroverts, without really taking the time to understand introverts. As an introvert, I’m not shy. I just exhaust myself socially much quicker than those around me. I’m not antisocial. I just prefer the good company of a few people as opposed to a raucous party. I’m not awkward… well, actually, I kinda am, but believe me, that has nothing to do with being an introvert. The most exhausting part of living out in a world that favors extroverts is how frequently people impose their own thoughts and feelings on you.

Classic case. Okay, yes, this is about my father again, but I can save my daddy issues til Sweeps week… the time had finally come for me to move out of the dorms. Something about the uncomfortable, forced socialization of dorm life just wasn’t conducive to my whole “growth as an adult” or whatever new-age phrase you wanna throw down. I was more than ready to move out of the dorms and live on my own. As I explained how I wanted to live alone to my father, he sighed heavily.

“Are you sure you won’t be lonely?”

I sighed back. “No, Dad, you would be lonely living on your own. That’s fine, but that’s not me.” See, while others worry about things like loneliness and going entire days without talking to people, that sounds like my dream. Social stimulation? I’ve got a dog that keeps my hands pretty full. Hell, even when I take Karl for a walk, people stop and ask to pet him. Right there? That’s social interaction number two. I’m already a pro at this.

Plus, think of all the other benefits. Dishwashing? I’d know where everything was, instead of having to guess half the time. Flushing the toilet? If I go to pee and somebody forgot to flush, guess whose fault that is? This guy’s. Clothes? I don’t put ’em on for myself. Those are for other people who probably don’t wanna see my pasty, white torso. If you think about it, most of your daily life is living for other people.

Living on your own? Things go at your speed. The dishes get cleaned on your schedule. The bathroom gets cleaned because you do it. The laundry gets done because, well, the same boxer briefs four days in a row is closing in on unhygienic. All I’m saying is, there might be something to this living alone thing.

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