When people used to tell me to think of the positive side of a bad situation, I’d grumble that when you need to resort to that sort of self-brainwashing, it’s a sure sign that things suck. But what a difference a pandemic can make.
As a natural-born introvert, I’ve used a lot of psychic energy in my lifetime trying to talk and mingle more than I’d care to, simply because it’s societally expected and was a requirement of my work. Being socially reticent could penalize me for everything from my kindergarten report card to my year-end performance review.
Susan Cain wrote a whole book about the phenomenon a few years ago called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” No less an authority than Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the father of “flow,” had this to say in his testimonial on the inside jacket:
Those who value a quiet, reflective life will feel a burden lifting from their shoulders when they read (this) paen to introversion – and will no longer feel guilty or inferior for having made the better choice.
Talk about “Eureka!” moments!
When I first heard the terms “social distancing” and “shelter in place,” they sounded serious, but not life-shattering. Little did I know I’d revel in them. For me, these unprecedented times are like livin’ in an introvert’s paradise.” The pandemic is even eradicating the dreaded FOMO syndrome: What can anyone miss out on when the world is shut down?
And so I happily eat my breakfast of yogurt, nuts, and berries, read The New York Times inside out, segue into books, writing, in-home exercise, a couple of drinks and dinner, followed by some high-quality video streaming and a great night’s sleep.
That’s as long as I stay healthy. If I catch the virus, I know I’ll bitch and moan like the world’s most pessimistic grump. But until then, I’m savoring every socially distanced moment.