Most people hear the word “introversion” and equate it with shyness. If you’ve actually done any reading about it, you know that’s not the case. True introversion is a primary focus on one’s inner self, deriving value and meaning from that activity, as opposed to from the external world. Introverts can interact socially; they’re not afraid of social situations or interpersonal activities–rather they simply thrive more on solitary activities or with fewer people.
To the surprise of no one who actually knows me, I’ve long understood myself to be this way. I’m totally capable of being social and thriving in those situations, but I prefer quiet environments, and more focused interactions with people. I also spend a non-trivial amount of time analyzing myself, my thinking, and my actions and trying to use this activity to learn more about myself, how I engage with the world around me, and how my actions affect other people.
I’ve always been a thoughtful person, even from a young age. But as I got older, different dimensions took shape and as my worldview continues to expand, the position where I place myself in the narrative of my life will often change.
Somewhere along the way I became interested in being someone on the internet. I started blogs and other sites, began using social media (heavily), was invited to join the cast of some podcasts, started some others, and through those actions created an identity online, as so many of us have. It was great fun, I met a ton of terrific people (some of whom I would consider among my best friends), and explored new things with them. For about ten years, it was a major part of my life, and part of how I defined myself as a person in the world.
But something changed in the past few years. I’ve found myself doing less online. Leaving social networks. Ending podcasts. Not publishing as many posts, and not beating myself up about it. All but disappearing from the public spaces I once inhabited, and reducing my voice to an occasional whisper in the din of the online world.
At the same time, I began focusing on other things. The balance of my life shifted. I began journaling even more, and making it a bigger part of my life than it had been. Actively reflecting more, and putting more effort into capturing my thoughts for myself. Talking about this with people, encouraging them to do the same. Always writing—because I do still love to write—but only for me, and not any other audience. Keeping those muscles in shape, but with a very specific purpose in mind.
I’ve tried to keep blogging, because I’ve had lots of people tell me they enjoy it when I do write, which is an amazing compliment and more than I could hope for. I mean, what better outcome could you have for writing something than for someone to say “I like that thing you wrote, thank you for doing that”?
But the fact of the matter is that I’ve lost whatever thing inside me made me want to write and put it somewhere, and I’m not sure why. I’ve lost the desire to do pretty much anything on the internet in any public capacity, and part of it is just who I am at the moment, and part of it is my ever-growing disenchantment with the rest of the world at the current time. So I’ve decided to just become an NPC for the time being. Background scenery. Foliage.
I’m just not interested in being someone on the internet anymore. It’s been fun, and I’ve made great connections with people, but it’s an effort I’m not willing to expend right now. Ever again? Things change. Who knows. But for the moment, it’s not appearing anywhere on my list of things to care about. To be clear, there’s a part of me that’s really sad about this epiphany. I haven’t talked to many people that I once did in months because I’m just not in those populated channels anymore by my own choice, and that’s where the conversation is happening. I don’t blame anyone, and certainly no one owes me anything. Life moves quickly, and this was—as I said—my choice.
I wasn’t even going to write this post, but I figured I should. Because this isn’t me just being lazy and not blogging anymore, it’s a premeditated reflection on how I feel and why, what the effect of that feeling is, and how it manifests in my actions. Which is exactly the point. This is what I do. I’m just sharing this one with everyone, in case anyone gives a crap. (Presumably not, which is absolutely fine too.)
The internet is not the place it was when I started being really excited about it, and rather than stay here and bitch about it like an old, cranky asshole, I’m just going to leave it to other people for whom it’s still interesting.
All this said: Tim and I absolutely have plans to continue the podcast. It’s probably the lone public-facing internet activity I still enjoy immensely and we’ve had wonderful feedback from listeners. My sincere thanks to all of you, it’s a joy to have you listen to our stupid conversations, and we have plenty more to share. We’re actually very excited to kick off our next set of shows very soon.
In closing, I’m not disappearing off the face of the earth, I’ll still be around, and you can probably find me somewhere if you really want to. I just don’t expect I’ll be writing here much, and I wanted to say it out loud and on the record, and explain why.
In the meantime, I’ll just be quietly sipping my drink in the back of the room while you do your thing. Have at it, and have fun.