I started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain during the long and lazy Christmas break. Our family was busy in the days leading up to Christmas; in the days that followed, however, there was a long stretch of time where our family calendar was empty. We had nowhere to go and nothing to do.
And it was wonderful.
I spent many hours engrossed in reading. I taught myself and my daughter how to finger knit. I organized my little TypeA heart out. Knute and I stayed up late talking and watching movies and sipping wine. The kids played on the Wii together, stayed in their jammies until well past lunch, and for the most part got along swimmingly. For the better part of a week, we enjoyed the simplicity of just hanging out together as a family.
And knowing myself and my family as well as I do (and perhaps with a bit keener insight after reading Quiet), I can understand why a week of nothing was just what we needed.
While none of us are dyed-in-the-wool introverts, all of us - Knute, myself, and all three kids - are at our most balanced and best thrive when we have some downtime to ourselves away from the noise of the world. For us (at least, for Knute and I) a dream vacation isn't one that involves visiting Mickey or cruising the seven seas any other sensory overload version of the American Family Trip. The perfect vacation for us involves nature, solitude, opportunities to socialize in small doses, and ample time to just hang out and do less, not more.
In the pages of Quiet, I saw many bits and pieces of myself. Writing this post was difficult simply because I had so many different a-HA reactions as I flipped through the pages and so many different post titles popped into my head, titles like:
Behind the Screen.
Wherein I discuss how blogging is the perfect medium for more introverted souls.
Wherein I describe my ever-burning need to find an organized spot in my home for quiet, downtime, and where I can write, read, and dream.
Modalities of Me.
Wherein I remember all the many Mando Fun events I attended with my husband during my years as a Navy Officer's Wife and how I dug deep to smack a smile on my face and put my best high-heeled social foot forward.
Wherein I shudder at remembering all the different group work I was required to do during college and how I abhorred it.
Wherein I describe my deep love for my friends and family and the different groups to which I belong and how I best enjoy their company in small groups, not big crowds.
Wherein I connect the dots between being easily overloaded by sensory stimuli and introversion.
His Own Man.
Wherein I chat about the charms of my older son, the gregarious introvert.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking opened my eyes to the positive aspects of my own introverted tendencies. In a world where the loudest voice wins, where sensory overload is the new normal, and the group dynamic dominates from the classroom to the boardroom, it's refreshing to read a book that champions a quieter, more thoughtful approach to life.
*Disclosure: My Amazon affiliate link, just so you know.