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(c) 2019 Karen Southall Watts

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An Introvert Contemplates Isolation

When the dire pronouncements began, I didn’t think much about what I’d do in terms of my own life and social distancing. I was too busy going to work early to disinfect my classroom, then changing my assignment due dates to accommodate new deadlines at one school, and then I was moving students from a face-to-face format to online education with little warning at another. In short I was busy. For an introvert during a crisis being busy is a blessing, as it kept me out of my own head – that rich inner world that can go from fascinating to frightening in a heartbeat.

Now, all the grades have been submitted and I’m getting to know my apartment, and the spaces under the furniture and in the closets. Mopping can be a bit therapeutic.

Social media has been flooded with quips and memes from introverts about the current crisis. After all, we innies have been ready to unite, separately and in our own homes, for years. The public message of introverts is “we’ve been preparing for this our whole lives,” but of course there is so much more to any introvert than you see on the surface.

Choosing to spend time alone is different from being forced to do so. Even an introvert can feel caged when there are no options. We’re stuck in our houses, and we’re stuck in our heads. Already, I’m awash in pandemic pondering:

After watching several days of panic buying…I remembered how my parents always kept a stocked pantry closet and a full HUGE chest freezer that could feed us for months. Being prepared was a normal part of life. What happened?

After watching the communication mish-mash of government officials tripping over their own tongues and messages…I again wondered why teaching “soft skills” like listening, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication is still considered optional.

After a few calls and messages from loved ones living far away…I realized it’s time to live some of that reorganize your life according to your values advice I’ve been giving others for years. Stay tuned.



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