Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation. While introverts and extroverts are often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, the truth is that most people lie somewhere in the middle of the extroversion-introversion continuum.
I’ve always seen myself as borderline between introvert and extrovert. I need to spend quite a bit of time alone, but too much can be, well, too much. I’m also painfully aware when I’ve spent too much time with others, feelings of anxiety and discomfort overwhelm me, and if left unattended, become unbearable.
The biggest bonus to me with retirement is that I can finally CHOOSE how much time I want to spend alone or with others, and also who I wish to spend that time with. Quality becomes paramount. Unfortunately, the people I would most like to spend time with are back in Fort Collins working. So, after moving to a new part of Colorado recently, I have been studying the process of retirement and making new friends after age sixty.
Mike and I are the absolute best of friends, but I know how important it is not to depend too much on your significant other to meet all of your friendship needs. That can be a relationship killer in the long run. Besides, I really am a fairly gregarious person sometimes. I enjoy going into La Veta and hanging out with the women who run The Silk Road. They are so warm and welcoming to a newcomer like me. The women at the new realty in town are also nice, and I have found a few friendly people up in the foothills where we live.
Then I go home and enjoy my introvert room, the room where I write each morning. I have filled this small room with pictures, sayings and mementos from sixty years of living. I love sitting here looking around the room reminiscing, and feeling safe in my introverted cocoon. No one can touch me here, and I am free to let my imagination run wild, a bit like Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.”
In my safe place I like to challenge myself with questions like, “What do you want to happen today?” “Who would be fun to hang out with?” “What kind of interactions nurture my soul?” “Who do I know who makes me laugh a great big belly laugh?”
There I can find so much contentment! It sometimes seems I was custom made for retirement, because I don’t need or want much from the outside world. I don’t need much ego-building admiration, just the occasional friendly encouragement.
I’ve noticed that some claim not to have enough money to retire, when in fact their real problem is that they can’t imagine not being around people all day. I never liked most of what happened among my fellow workers. My experience was that of envy, back-biting and office politics, which got me in the end, because I wouldn’t play their kiss-ass games. You have to earn my respect, it cannot be bought.
Being a careful observer of human behavior, and aware of ulterior motives definitely has its drawbacks. Retirement and being a writer suits my character so much better. So glad I finally found my place in the world…