Introvert retirement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABased on the people I know who have gone down this road, retirement is not the same for anybody. As an unpartnered, older woman, I am going crazy trying to envision my mine. I don’t like traveling and I don’t like volunteering. I have no grandchildren and hobbies bore me. For many years, I experimented with religion but it didn’t suit me.

I could probably avoid thinking about it if I had not put my home on the market. This kind of forces the issue. And, it has shaken up my life. There are strangers coming into my home and I am not in control anymore. The stager brought in all kinds of stuff I hate. When I tried to intervene she said, “It’s not your place anymore, you’re selling.” Everytime I see the fake plant in the corner of the living room I get agitated. The realtor, who is big on “light” keeps scrunching up the drapes and pulls the blinds up crooked. When I came home after the last open house I noticed that someone with hideous perfume had spent a long time in my walk-in closet and that someone had decided to relax for awhile on my bed.

What is it going to be like when I can’t walk into my home and lock the door against the outside world? To say this is freaking me out would be an understatement. Can a solitary introvert survive outside of a protected enclosure?

Over the years I have created various masks that helped me survive, but aging seems to tear these masks apart rather quickly and mercilessly. I imagine sometimes that my inner self has no mask and needs no enclosure. If I give this inner self the respect it justly deserves, perhaps it won’t matter where I live. Maybe this is my real life, long buried under all the debris of otherness. It would good to stop forcing it to dance to the wrong tune.

I assume I will rent an apartment somewhere but this is not very appealing. What I would really like is to live in an introvert community. This might sound like a contradiction, but really, what are most monasteries? Why can’t secular people live in quasi-monastic environments?

I used to stay at a retreat center that would be perfect for this. There were eight bedrooms, each with a private bath and patio, as well as a communal library, kitchen, dining room and meditation room. During most of the day, silence was maintained. People could talk during meals or if they wanted to go out on the grounds. There were no televisions and no one could have guests. All socializing had to be done in the small town nearby.

More and more, I feel drawn to the idea of secular “contemplative communities” where introverts can nurture and honor their unique presence in the world. If anyone knows where I could find one of these, let me know.


8 thoughts on “Introvert retirement.

  1. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had regarding the ideal retirement community. I am a fairly social introvert but find that I need about 10 hours alone for every hour spent in clamorous company.

    I’ve found that being very selective in my volunteering helps – choosing an activity that best reflects my preference for quiet work interspersed with small group/individual conversations/efforts.

    Reading is such a solace and I’ve recently begun sketching as an activity – no, not grandchildren or flowers in a vase.

    As for a home sale and the disruption – disengage, disengage, disengage. Your former home HAS been invaded but that’s for your benefit. Find some way of creating a temporary cocoon (a familiar throw, dim lights, reading) to soothe yourself – with luck, it will be over soon.

    As for relocating – prioritize – perhaps a location that supports a need for nature walks for example. Apartment living can be very anonymous so don’t assume that you will be drawn into unwanted conversation. Most of the time, your neighbors will not be seen at all and hopefully, not heard (in a noisy way) too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Been retired 10 years after crashing and burning for the second time in an intensely changed workplace, then attending ailing difficult parents and then at last blessed isolation in my own country house. Plus side: I have a beloved dog and ancient cat and I get to look at open water as long as I want every day. which is still most of the time. Minus side: 70 coming up and some health issues that leave me frightened of being alone. Find that most of my few friends have died or moved south, few neighbours suddenly young families with babies. I do some volunteer work but mostly writing, not interaction. never married, no siblings, people I used to care for move on and I dont have the energy to risk again.. I m fine on my own most of the time but still yearn for a soul mate or someone to talk with and especially someone to share information about being old with. Always was a misfit but now feel vulnerable. Cant handle apartments with rules and noise; need to stay in my own house but vision and arthritis are becoming limiting.

    To someone facing accommodations decision, figure out what is most important to you, go for it as life gets short fast, and have a back up plan. Friends are the best insurance and I m trying to figure out how to make some. True friends are a blessing at any age and always hard to find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and I have much in common. I am renting a room in a house now, and my housemate provides the social interaction I need without having to go out and look for friends. But I miss my own space. Thanks for finding my blog, welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. feel like we’re living the same life. or certainly similar. i am living in an apartment now, where no-one bears down on m e to t all and people mostly keep to themselves – which suits me beautifully. the apartment became a necessity when money and self-owned housing crashed big time.
    on another note, i would love to know the name of the retreat place you mention. and i would so love to retreat to said place. i am posting my email address for you – not concerned that someone will send me emails telling me how i can enlarge a penis i don’t even have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My thoughts – self direction includes choices such as whether or not to engage in social interaction, no matter WHERE you live. The problem of course, is that as we age our capacity for freedom of choice is challenged by many factors – dementia, financial constraints, physical disability, etc.
    But I’m thinking that if you like that retreat so well, and you have concrete ideas for an “introvert community” (sounds like an oxymoron lol), why don’t you act on your idea? Gather similarly minded people, investigate options and funding and go for it!


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