Loner. That word usually conjures up images of the guy in the leather biker jacket, standing in the shadows, trying not to be noticed. No family, no real friends, nothing to tie him down. That’s the movie version of a loner, though—not the real-life version.
I know this, because I am a loner.
I don’t wear a biker jacket (anymore) and I rarely go ducking in the shadows. I have family and friends I enjoy spending time with. Obviously, I’m not hiding away—blogging and Facebooking and having my own website isn’t the best way to hide—but I am a loner.
So what makes a real-life loner? It has to do with your energy source. Does being around friends and loved ones energize you? Or does it drain your battery?
For me it’s the latter. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t enjoy being around people—quite the contrary. I love my family, I love my friends…but I need time between visits in order to refill my energy tank.
It’s not a matter of what we’re doing either. We could just be hanging out, talking. But after a few hours I need to break away. Go find a quiet corner, or leave altogether. And if the gathering is at my house…well, expect me to get antsy and start hinting that it’s time for the party to be over.
The hardest part of this is that my husband’s family is full of extroverts. For them, family gatherings are all-day affairs. People everywhere, for hours on end. Add to that the fact that one get-together can end and the next day they’re ready to do it all over again. It’s enough to send me into an emotional tailspin. They gain energy by spending time together—but I lose it.
They simply don’t understand. To them, time is meant to be spent together, and “alone” means “lonely.” When I pull away, they can take it personally.
Fortunately, my husband has learned to accept this about me, and often passes on my regrets when I decide to stay home because it simply hasn’t been long enough since the last visit. He doesn’t truly understand what goes on inside me, but he sees the results. He sees how much more enthusiastic I am about going the next time when I’ve had enough loner time.
I sometimes wonder if this is why I write the way I do—in spurts, with big gaps in-between. Maybe I need a break even from the “people” in my head.