2020 was a hard year for the world. The COVID-19 pandemic, loss of jobs, loss of life, loss of health, a long overdue racial reckoning, de-centering white people, an insurrection in the US: the list goes on and on. And yet, I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I keep wondering why. I was fortunate to keep my job, yet I lost a friend and my beloved father-in-law. I haven’t seen my best friend in more than one year. Why am I happier now?
I think it is because the world slowed down and the massive losses filtered out what was important in life. Working from home helped me realize that I need a quiet and calm environment to thrive. I’ve been working longer hours and getting more done, yet I have more energy.
I’ve always known that I am an introvert, yet for the first time in my life it seemed the world became introverted too and I finally belonged. I’ve been reading a lot about introverts and realize that there is nothing wrong with being this way. For a year, we were all forced into an environment where introverts thrive. For many people this was challenging to say the least. For some of us, it was a respite from the chaos of an extroverted world. US culture was built for extroverts and seems to be rushing back to this supposed ideal as the pandemic wanes.
I’m not rushing back. I’m taking what I have learned about myself and others like me to foster the quiet that I need. I’m reading the book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. If you have ever been called quiet or feel you thrive in a quiet world, I highly recommend it. Even if you are not an introvert, you likely know and love one.
Susan Cain did a TED talk when the book came out seven years ago. Introverts can be engaging speakers, particularly when it is something we care deeply about.