Let’s open the new year with some thoughts on private and public life. This is also closely linked to the idea of introverts and extroverts.
Generally speaking, everybody is different. Some might prefer a constant stream of others around them. But I have always leaned towards solitude. I like spending time in my own head. But throughout the years, even I have come to understand that living publicly or privately is not a black and white affair, rather, it is a spectrum, a pendulum. And we need different amounts of each to experience a well-rounded existence.
Living within the public sphere also means to give up power. The physical world is filled with situations and variables we can’t control. Leaving the comfort of our own head means to step out into a space where we are not the master. Speaking as an introvert, that can be challenging. One thing that has stood out to me and helped me deal with reality, is understanding that while I can hardly control everything that is happening around me, I can certainly control what I give my energy and attention to. I have power over my response, even out there, in the real world.
Of course, control, power, all these things, are not real in the sense that even in private I hardly control everything that happens within my psyche. But somehow, to me, whatever happens in here, is manageable, it feels familiar, it feels significant. The things that happen out there, I’ve had a much harder time accepting, or even relating to.
However, even as someone who appreciates isolation, I have learned time and time again that social exchange is a necessary step in the process of developing ideas as well as my sense of self.