I Am Becoming a Hermit

(copied image)

Growing up, I was considered to be the shy child and my older sister referred to me as a “home body.” This nickname was due to me always being home and not out with friends. I preferred solitude to constant people stimulation. What I considered my God-given gift, writing, was best utilized alone. My creativity was all in my head and the only need for people was to share my stories and get feedback.

As I got older and moved out into the world, I found people and cultures different from my own very fascinating. It was very effortless to have wonderful social interactions with diverse people including those that are older. I loved being able to put my shyness in a box and embrace being a social creature. However, as I move towards forty, there seem to be a 180 degree turn back to the person I was but with a nasty twist – I am starting to really hate being around most people.

There were subtle things that indicated I was reverting. I first noticed it at church. Church was always a nice place to be most of the time. I did not always want to attend church because sleeping in seem better but when I did attend it had its pleasant social moments despite the issue that most of the teens in my age group had their cliques. A few years after college, I started to find it difficult to sit in church.  Initially, I thought it was because I found church boring, after all, I had heard the same sermons repeatedly and no surprising new twists. I tried different churches and slowly I started to feel so uncomfortable to be around people as well as I kept experiencing a horrible negative internal reaction to even being in the same room. After trying  to address the issue with prayer and forcing myself to church, I started my ongoing sabbatical (note that this is not the only reason for my church absence).

The job at that time and my former career choice in behavioral health were also affected. I could even say that my career choice was a major catalyst for my people withdrawal. I remember when I started that career path. I had lots of hope and enthusiasm about the difference I would make in people’s lives.  Fast forward to today with an advanced degree and a former state licensure which are literally laid to waste.

The girl who loved enjoying people because they bring something new; the girl who wanted to help others; the girl  who had visions of being an expert in my field is now someone who is capable of little compassion (depending on the situation), little ability to empathize, easily annoyed, can withdraw from others in the blink of an eye and would love to be on a little island somewhere with limited people interference.  I will joke with my dear friend that I really hate (being around) people and sadly that joke is not very far from reality. How I manage to still have friendships is very surprising (maybe it’s divine intervention, thanks God :).

The once homebody turned social girl now wants to be a hermit. There are more days out of the year in which I would love to be in complete solitude than days that I want people’s interaction. Being introspective and learning to admit the difficult things to myself (hence the reason why writing this candid blog is not difficult at all and it’s not different from what I actually tell people), I concluded that this turn of event is a sad state to be. I do remember that shy girl who looked forward to interacting with her friends and the young woman who discovered so much about others by becoming more outgoing. When I stop long enough and think about my current state, I realize how much I miss that young woman.  Unfortunately, in this here and now moment in my life, I find the idea of being a hermit with occasional visits with friends and family as a very peaceful thought.

PS I am willing to share the  island but with distant neighbours.


12 thoughts on “I Am Becoming a Hermit

  1. I can certainly understand where you are coming from:
    Lonely Loner… I have been a loner for fifty-seven years. I would have never planned it that way, but I had no say in the matter. I am an only-child, and my parents moved us around a LOT. By the time I graduated from high-school, I had attended eight schools. The longest I stayed at any one school was two years. The longest we stayed in any one place was three years. I learned very quickly to “make my own fun”…to live in my own head. I graduated from high-school with a class of over eight-hundred kids, but I only have contact with one of my former class-mates. My best friend died of cancer almost two years ago. He was like a brother to me. Losing him was like losing a piece of myself. My first wife committed suicide in 1997, and her death destroyed my family. I have no contact with my own kids. The only family I have left is my parents, and my dad is in a nursing home and no longer remembers me when I have visited him. Update: Dad went to be with the Lord October 1st.

    This past December, I got married and moved to a new community. Six weeks after we got married, my wife moved out and refuses to have any more than minimal contact with me. So now I am a married-single… I can’t date, or otherwise get to know another lady, because I am still “married”, even though I have no marriage. She doesn’t care what she has done, and is doing to me. She simply doesn’t care about anybody but herself. If I disappeared or died, she wouldn’t miss me. She is now living with another man…while still married to me.

    I attend a wonderful church, with a lot of nice, friendly people. They miss me if I am not there a Sunday or two, but how many Sundays would I have to miss before I was “out of sight, out of mind”? Not many I suspect, because all I have is superficial relationships there. I don’t REALLY know anyone. Their support has been crucial this year, as I have gone through a LOT of bad situations.

    I live in an RV park, and most of the residents are snow-birds, who have gone home for the summer. I don’t really “fit in” with the folks here, because I am a new-comer, and significantly younger than most. If I had someone come and move my rig out, my next-door neighbor might miss me…for a while, but I doubt anyone else would. So I pretty much stick to my own little corner…a married-single man…alone…a lonely loner.

    I would be happy to share your island with you, as long as you don’t mind if my corner of the island is clothing-optional.

    1. Steve,
      I am not sure why I missed your post earlier but better late than never… LOL on the clothing optional. Hey, if you keep to your part while clothing optional, then it’s a deal to share the island. I really am sorry to hear about your losses in your life. Was your parents military? That tale of moving around sounds very much like a military family.
      I have found that forming close relationships with others are very difficult even in the church community. It is so much easier for people to have a very superficial interaction -I care about your when I see you but out of sight is out of mind. I had one weird experience a few years ago when a lady from church invited me over to T-giving dinner with her family. I could not say no because I had already let her know that I wasn’t doing anything for that day. Interestingly, after that T-G dinner, she and I never had much ‘connection’ in church. It was a hi and bye thing. I guess she was doing her holiday Christian duty.

      The older I am the more I notice that most people are very busy with their own lives and do not have time or space to be open to having extended family/friends unless there are special circumstances ie. holidays or tragedy. I can see why single people feel more comfy around other singles because they become your support and family. I do sometimes miss the close knit community and family I was raised with growing up. I think it’s just better to be in total isolation than in the midst of people who care only when it’s necessary or convenient. I think there are more forced isolated people out there than we know.

      1. My folks weren’t military. We would have had more stability if they had been. We were nomads…gypsies. I can come up with good reasons for some of the moves, but a lot of them don’t make any sense to me. We left Springfield, Illinois for Greenville, South Carolina before I was two, so dad could go back to college and finish his bachelor’s degree. Over the next six years, we moved several times within the same area. Then we moved to the St. Louis area so dad could attend seminary. We were in one place his first year of seminary, and somewhere else his 2nd year. He didn’t finish seminary, and we moved back to Greenville so he could work on his masters and PhD. He never finished either. Then we moved to the Atlanta area so he could pastor a church. We were at that church for one year, and then we moved again. We then moved to Oklahoma City so dad could pastor another church. I finished high school and went into the Army while my folks were there. Stability…what stability~

        I can fully understand your feelings about most church people. They are “family” while everyone is in the same building, but once you walk out of that building, you are indeed out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I will have to say that there were quite a few people that prayed for me and my situation over the last several months. I have been in the senior pastor’s home once, and in the assistant pastor’s home once, and those were both group-meal situations. Only one couple in the church has had me in their home for a meal, and they have had me over twice. Another couple invited me for dinner at a restaurant once…on a non-church night. People are just too bloody busy these days.

        Our assistant pastor did step up to the plate and take me to the medical center when I had my bladder surgery a few weeks ago. I really appreciated him for taking time out of his busy schedule for that.

        Singles don’t fit in well in a church that is heavily couples and families. My church has a few singles…mostly younger people, and the older singles really don’t seem to be interested in making any connections with other singles. I told my senior pastor that I feel like a leper, because I am neither part of a couple, nor truly single. While I am functionally-single, I am not legally-single, so I am neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red-herring.

        Once we move to that island, we can at least be distant neighbors, and look out for one another.

        1. My dear friend and I chat quiet often about how difficult life seems to be as we get older. The interaction with people seem so distant and strained. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution. I have found that despite whatever difficulties, I just need to find one thing at a time that brings me some peace – even if that means just sitting at a park enjoying a good day.

          1. I try to go to the nudist resort that is close to where I live at least once a month. Those trips are mini-vacations to me, and what I like to call my “mental-health days”.

  2. Why does being a hermit have to be a bad thing? I don’t think it is a bad thing. I know an actual hermit who lives in Louisiana, US. She enjoys her life very much.

    1. Anon,
      I think there is a downside to isolating. It’s missing out on the positive influence, interaction, and support of others. I believe we need others at certain times in our lives and the more isolated one is, the less likely to foster a connection with someone else or even share a part of yourself with some one else.

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