Insights from an introvert

When I was six years old, my favourite song was a Sesame Street ditty called, “I don’t want to live on the moon.” I sympathized with Ernie because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to live on the moon, either. My little six-year-old self was horrified by the thought. Who would I talk to? Who would I play with? His wistful strains resonated with my childish fear of feeling lonely. Since then, times have changed. My fear of being alone has become a compulsive desire to soak up as much solitude as I can between my deadline-oriented editing job and the two courses I’m taking because the AMS says I have to. Yes, it’s true. I am a jaded fifth-year student.

Gone are the days when a Friday night included heading to Stages in clubbing garb (thank goodness). My Friday nights these days either include toiling at this newspaper or reading, writing and reflecting in my room or in one of my usual downtown haunts—alone.

It gives me time to think, breathe and feel healthy. The cycle of binge drinking and binge studying at Queen’s is something I’ve never understood. I certainly used to perpetuate it, and now that I’m older and wiser, or maybe just tired, I’ve realized it’s not a healthy or self-satisfying lifestyle for me.

Making the choice to return to Queen’s as an undergraduate student for a fifth year was a difficult one. My housemates and friends from years past have graduated, my degree is finished and everyone my age seems either to be in graduate school or working in downtown Toronto. I came back this year for the Journal. I also came back to put into practice what I’d learned in my first four years—how to drink and party less and think more—and turn myself around. We’re only a week into the school year and already this time around feels different, and not just because of the diggers and machinery that were missing in my other four years here.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. Going out to the pub for a beer or trying out a new restaurant are enjoyable ways to spend an evening filled with animated conversation. But my circle here has gotten smaller, which leaves me with more time to invest into the friends I love who are still here, and more time to invest the way I would like. It finally feels the way I thought university would feel from the start. I can curl up and watch a movie without feeling guilty or feeling as though I’m missing out. I’ve realized sometimes I just need time on my own.

I’m not sure if solitude is something you grow into being comfortable with, or something you learn or something some people never find.

But I would like nothing more than to spend my down time doing just that—calming down. Give me a mug of hot chocolate, a pillow, a good book and call me 65-years-old, but that’s what I’ll be doing next Friday. And you aren’t invited.

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