Most of my life I’ve been a recluse – someone who lives in solitude and avoids people to an extent. My home has always been my peace, the place I can be my complete self without the fear of someone judging me for one thing or another. I often think back to my school days and how life was so different for me back then. There were no responsibilities, no social media pressures (at least for me), and friends were naturally made as we had to spend all week together. Of course, life doesn’t remain that simple. Eventually you have to be responsible for putting in the work to grow into your own and make and maintain relationships. This is easier for some people than others. For me, I realized it’s harder than I ever could have imagined. The friends from school? We are no longer. New friends? Meh, we’ll get to that later in a different post.
Social media is a blessing and a curse. I’m happy to be able to see the lives of those I used to call friends play out through posts, stories and reels. I get inspired by seeing the start of their businesses, seeing them get engaged and married, having babies, travelling the world. However, at the same time, for a recluse like myself, it gets me in a negative headspace sometimes. Thinking I’m not doing enough. I’m inadequate because I’m not engaged, I’m not taking luxurious trips, I don’t have my own business, I haven’t bought my first home. I’m 27 years old and feel I haven’t changed at all since high school. I was naive in the sense I believed for a long while that eventually life would magically change, and I would have the life I felt was worth living. As if it would be handed to me on a silver platter. It’s the millennial in me, I guess.
In all honesty, I was content living the loner lifestyle and still am. But I’m just starting to realize how little of life I’ve experienced due to this and me being a true introvert. I’d much rather avoid social situations and feel guilty about it for a whole day, than feel the uncomfortableness of socializing and overthinking every detail at a social event. It’s exhausting, and it’s never about not liking someone or a group of people. It’s literally me overthinking every tiny and large detail of events and issues that are only in my head. For a period of time, I hated this part of myself and fell into depression spells due to it. Admitting defeat and doing my best to move on. I don’t show this stressful, anxiety induced side of myself because I feel like no one will understand. It’s too easy for others to tell me it’s okay and not to worry, and that I just overthink too much. Spend a day inside my head and then tell me how I should feel.
I got used to the idea that running away and hiding are the best ways to cope and avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s easier to not have friends and a social life because I don’t have to make an effort to be nice, or go out, or share things about myself, try and make conversation, put on a bra. There are no expectations. No possibilities of hurting someone or getting hurt myself because I thought I made a new BFF, but really didn’t. Connecting with people to the point of building a lifelong friendship seems nearly impossible. Especially at this stage of my life being almost 30.
All of these things I talk about in a negative light, are things I want to use to better my mental health and overall happiness with life. I stay in the shadows because I feel safe there, even though it gets cold. But safe isn’t always best. How can one expect to fully experience life in the best ways, if they never take risks or put themselves out there? Putting myself out there is a risk. One I never wanted to take. Until now. I’ve let my introverted mind and lifestyle keep me from the things that could have grown me into the person I could be today. I put myself on an invisible timeline with nothing but mental notes and plans that never made it to paper. A big goal of mine now is to not feel ashamed for how I’ve chosen to live my life the past several years. To not beat myself up so much because every other post on social media is someone travelling to a place on my bucket list, or people from my past life who’ve managed to stay in contact all these years, living their best lives together. I’m learning that there are no standards to a happy life and there is so much more to it than the material things and relationships I don’t control. My life is great the way it is, and I’m grateful to feel ready to share who I truly am with not just the world, but with myself as well. Who I am is a big question mark because I’ve let others define me by my actions or lack thereof. I’m ready to build and claim my chosen life, one day at a time. It’s not about what treasure awaits at the end of the rainbow. It’s about the journey, the experiences, the personal growth, that leads to the treasure.
I’m on a personal growth journey, but I’m also on a journey to find people I can relate to and who relate to me and my situation. Even if I can inspire just one person to stop letting their negative thoughts dictate their life and to leave the shadow for the light, my heart will be full. The choice is and has always been ours, and it’s never too late to bloom.
Until next time,