Sunday, January 6, 2013

In the Quiet

I've been fake-reading a book (listening to an audiobook) called, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. Now, before you go ahead and state the obvious, I KNOW I'm not an introvert, okay? My Myers-Briggs personality is ENTP, with Extrovert right there at the beginning. But I'm married to an 'introvert'. (You can stop rolling your eyes at the thought of Billy being shy.) He's an introvert in the cerebral sense. He's a thinker, and prefers the solitude of fishing and hunting, and craves routine, whereas I prefer community and urban life and spontaneity. I'm pretty sure that two of my three kids are introverted. Again, NOT SHY. Read the book.

I'm starting to understand the value of introspectivity. We have so little time in our over-scheduled world. We fill it the second we get it. FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, YouTube, StumbleUpon, WordsWithFriends, SongPop, texting, [insert your own vice here]. And we don't allow silence. Since moving just out of the city, I've found myself with a little extra time. Not much, but a little. And once I get past all the time fillers, I find silence waiting for me to call, like a long lost friend. I've been reading more. I've been thinking more. I've been sitting in silence more.

And now I'm a teensy bit addicted to silence. It's so important.

It's where I work out how I feel.

It's where I remember.

It's where I create.

It's where I meditate and pray.

It's where I listen.

It's where I breathe.

As I embark upon 2013, I want to make space for more silence. I want to go against my extroverted-must-have-human-interaction tendencies, and embrace my inner introvert. It starts with some mild solitude, but I also hope that it spills into other areas of my life. That I will allow time to think before I speak. That I will allow time for my children to have silence. That I will let others lead conversation, and think about what they're saying and not what I'm going to say next.

It's important to see the balance of these personalities. Just as we force introverts into the open, into social situations, into business presentations where they stretch themselves to meet the social expectation of extroversion and interaction, so we extroverts must see the value of the other side, must allow ourselves to look inward, to enjoy silence and routine, and find things there that we didn't know we had. That we hadn't ever allowed for. To find ourselves... the quiet.


  1. This is my second time reading this- well put Sus! You are so right- we are always forcing introverts to step out of their comfort zone while we extroverts are rarely encouraged to just...shut up? Kidding.

    I noticed last semester, that on my drives to school I wasn't turning on my radio or putting in my iPod. It felt so good! Yes, it made me feel slightly old, but mostly it was nice to know I could handle it. That I didn't feel the need to fill the silence the moment I noticed it.

    Anyway- great post. Keep it up!

  2. Loved that book! This is a great post. But, can I be the annoying one to point out the irony of listening to an audiobook called "Quiet"?

    Glad you're writing again.

  3. Haha! I also listened to the audiobook. :) It was one of our 2012 book club picks (and I hope you are able to re-join us!). I got really into learning about I vs. E when I took the Meyers-Briggs too when Ned and I were first dating. We actually alternated between "Introvert night" and "Extrovert night." The funny thing is now, I really need my time to myself and he thrives on being at Pinthouse! I love the theme of having more solitude in 2013- I'm in. Isn't there a quote somewhere about God speaking to us in the stillness? ;)