Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Power Of One

IMG_2508
"You're so well-adjusted for an only child."

"You're an only child? So you like got whatever you wanted as a kid, right?"

"I would never (Editor's note:  be wary of people who use this phrase. They're usually both sanctimonious and self-righteous.) want to raise an only child. I wouldn't want my child to be a brat."

"Only children are usually really selfish people. I mean, you're not that selfish."

"It must have been so lonely to be an only child. It's so much harder for them to make friends."

IMG_2496
The above statements and many like them, are just a few from a vast pool of casual conversations I've had about my up-bringing with friends and neighbors of varying degrees of closeness. The weirdest part about these comments (other than how rude people can be without meaning to be!) is that those who said them, seem to believe that they draw from some universally accepted pool of tried and true wisdom on only children. That somehow my being raised without siblings naturally makes me a certain way.

I actually believe that to be somewhat true. Just not in the way they do.

A while back Mary of Terralectualism posted about Susan Caine's TED talk on the virtues of introverts, and many of our dearest bloggy friends chimed in, delighted with many of Caine's points. I did too, though with some hesitation. (Not because I don't think introverts are awesome! Just to clarify.)

IMG_2564

I'm definitely not an introvert by many conventional measures; I talk to strangers easily, have little trouble speaking publicly (so long as I feel know what I'm talking about), as far as talking goes, in fact, I'm one of those people who talks incessantly and is very interested in listening to (and asking lots of questions from) other people. However, (though I've not read her book) many of Caine's points resonated with me. At the time couldn't quite put my finger on it. How did I, someone who's always self-identified as an extroverted person, recognize in myself so many characteristics described by this patron saint of introverts?

IMG_2541

A few months later though,  I had a conversation with my milking partner Heather that suddenly made all the pieces click together for me. Heather is also an only child. We were discussing life in a small communities and I mentioned that I often struggle with the constant social activity that knowing everyone anywhere you go inevitably brings about. How at the end of the day at work, where I get to visit with tons of friends and community members, the last thing I want to do is to go to a party, or a dance, or some other social event. How I don't feel like I get to spend enough time by myself.

IMG_2498
My friend came back. I've seen her a number of times now on my walks. I wonder if she ever feels lonely by herself? I kinda doubt it. 

"Of course you don't!" Heather exclaimed (she's not necessarily someone I'd call an introvert either;) "You're an only child. We need a lot of time to ourselves." She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world. And it is. But it hadn't ever really occurred to me that the seemingly disparate sides of my personality had something to do with my upbringing.

IMG_2528
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

Unlike many siblings (as in people who have, and are siblings to, at least one other person) I know, I don't charge my batteries, or relax in group activities, but rather have my energies depleted by them. This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy them, it just means that no matter how much fun I'm having, after a party, a gathering or any other social activity, I need a lot of time just by myself to recuperate from it.  Typically too, in any group larger than five or so people, I prefer observing to active participation.

I'd also just as rather stay at home with a book than go to an event. In fact in my teens and early twenties, I used go to parties then, after a couple of hours when I grew tired, retreat to the upstairs bathroom, closet, basement, or porch to read until my friends, or date were ready to leave.
IMG_2538
I've actually deduced that my love of reading is two-fold: first came the magic of words, but it was re-enforced by the fact that a person reading is usually left to do so in peace. A book is taken as a dis-invitation to engage its reader in conversation. When I still lived in shared apartments in large cities, constantly surrounded by literally millions of people, a book was like a square foot of private space around me, a territory no one else could venture into, even if they were pressing right up against me in the Tube.

IMG_2472
It's not that I don't enjoy new adventures, meeting new people, or having "fun". I do. It's just that often my need to be alone triumphs over experiencing those things.

Having spent so much time by myself as a kid, either physically, or with grown-ups in the room but otherwise engaged, I've grown used to needing to be alone with my thoughts, entertain myself, or as Heather puts it "just stare into space". It is almost a physical need, the way being touched can be too; where if it doesn't get fulfilled for a long time, an imbalance is created in I become ill somehow, either emotionally, or physically.

I prefer people one on one, am intensely private about certain personal things, have a strange love of keeping secrets, prefer group activities involving an agenda (such as dancing, crafting or learning, or politics or ceremony) rather than idle hanging out, I'm very self-sufficient and often find myself drawn to the company of other only children.

I'm never bored by myself. I never feel lonely by myself. In contrast, I sometimes feel lonely and bored in large groups of people.
IMG_2532
While these traits may be unique to my experience as an only child, particular to my circumstances, I've had most of them affirmed by my other "only"-friends in the many conversations spurred by my epiphany.

As for the myth of only children being strong, demanding personalities, I've often found the opposite to be true.

Many only children are actually pretty good compromisers, just as likely to adopt the middle-way than try to force their own will on others; a trait that I attribute both to not having a posse (or even just one) of other siblings who'll be there no matter what, as well as having your main sparring partner in childhood be an adult.
IMG_2526
More often than not, they're also very sensitive to other people's non-verbal communication, good at assessing a given situation and able to see both sides of an argument, something that I think must stem from observing complex, "grown-up" situations from a young age.

This exposure to adult behavior can also make them assertive in the manner that siblings may not be, because they are imitating their parent(s) reaction to a given situation, but this doesn't automatically mean that they're going to grow up to be demanding attention hogs.

In my experience though, it is just as often those who do come from families of siblings that want to dominate a given social situation, or are demanding and inflexible. I also find that they're just as likely, if not more so to need the attention of the crowd to be on them. One could argue that on some level, siblings are used to compete with others to get heard, while only children usually have no trouble of getting undivided attention.


IMG_2529
I was a pretty lonely child, but I actually think it had just as much to do with our lifestyle and family dynamics, as it did with my lack of siblings. As more or less, the only weird hippie-family in town, it wasn't exactly easy for me to bond with other kids my age. For one thing, I didn't really meet many, and for another, by the time I started to pre-school, I was pretty precocious and actually preferred the company of adults. Being not just an only child, but in a single parent family, I spent a lot of my time with other adults in places that adults went to, like work, gatherings with my mom's, or even my grandma's friends.
IMG_2530


Frankly, I remember being confused over how children seemed...well, kinda dumb. They just wanted to run around and play games about TV shows and none them had had The Lord Of The Rings read out loud to them. Not exactly a great attitude for making pals. Through kindergarten to fifth grade I had very few friends (I had tons of fictional friends of course; ). Then in sixth grade things changed, it was as though everybody caught up. Instead of play we were suddenly having conversations and that I was good at. As we entered our tweens, being an oddball suddenly turned into an asset instead of a liability. (This was the 90s, after all.) After that I never really had trouble making friends.


In fact, the only problem I've had with friendships since childhood, is that while I love my friends and like to think that partly because my only child-characteristics, I am a good friend (I'm a good listener, I'm emphatic, I'm interested in other people...) when it comes to spending time with me, I'm also my own best friend. I instinctively choose time by myself over time with others and so, sadly, I can sometimes be a little neglectful of friends.
IMG_2550
There's so much more to say on this topic and, of course, like Susan Caine (although she actually has science to back up her emotional argument ; ) I'm biased because of who I am, but this having been a big year of revelation about the topic for me, I wanted to hear other people's thoughts on it. So, tell me:

Are you an only child or one of many? Raising one, two, three, more?  Do you crave solitude or human interaction more?
IMG_2469

63 comments:

  1. I'm an only child too Milla and agree with everything you've said. I'm so happy with my own company and find groups of people quite exhausting, even though I might be quite happy being with them. I'm introverted and shy and not a bit spoilt! haha! I do feel that only children can be quite serious and older than their years. I tended to like the company of adults rather than children when I was a child. Love the photos with this blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only child friend! We're a curious bunch for sure. I wish we had been more spoilt ;) Thanks for checking in.

      Delete
  2. M. thanks for the insightful Sunday thoughts. I am not an only child, but I felt as if I were one because my siblings are considerably older. The eldest is fourteen years older than me. I was definitely a " surprise." Because of this I shared many of your similar childhood experiences and preferences sans Lord of the Rings. Haha! The running joke about me from adults was little Andrea is five going on fifty because of my old lady tendencies. I also spent a lot of time playing alone and today I find that I relish my alone time at home days.A few years back on my bday I asked for a day alone much to the chagrin of my Iin-laws who think that is a capital offense to spend any big day alone.

    More recently after reading more on Ayurveda and the Vedic texts I learned more about our natural constitution and I was surprised to find that many of my tendencies are also explained there via my natural constitution which is dependent on factors such as the state of the natural world at the time of ones birth. I've come to be a firm believer in this logic as well. It was refreshing to learn that there are things that are not personal, but cosmic, and therefore shared by so many....

    I may have had too much hot chai this morning, I'm getting all astrological on your blog now... Haha. Anywho, enjoyed reading on this lovely December morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that line !
      "It was refreshing to learn that there are things that are not personal, but cosmic, and therefore shared by so many...."
      Can I quote you on that? You should post about Ayurveda, I know a little about it, but haven't really delved into it deeply. Would love to hear your perspective more.

      Five going on fifty sounds familiar. I was partially raised by my grandma, so I can relate.

      Lots of love.

      Delete
  3. I'm one the middle child of three, shy and introverted, but sometimes very assertive when it's needed, and usually very talkative.. but I definitely crave time by myself.

    I'm raising an only child. I have felt bad about her possibly being lonely sometimes, but we try to make up for it by doing a lot of things with her, and seeing her cousins often. They are close family too, even if they are not siblings. I recognize some of the things you talk about.. she is very easy to talk sense into, she has always understood reasoning, she does really well with other kids, though she is an introvert and likely to watch by the sidelines when there are too many /strange children around. At four years old she knows and understands many complex things, because we always talk with her about stuff, and we read to her tons, and she is really close to starting to read on her own. So far she is very clingy though and doesn't like solitude one bit ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vappu dear! Don't worry too much about Indiana being lonely, we know only what we experience. I certainly remember wanting a sibling, but also feeling sorry for my friends who didn't get to spend the kind of "special" time with their parents as I did, cooking, cleaning, being treated like a full member of the family, participating. I think only children definitely have more equal footing with their parents. I loved (/hated-hahaha ; ) my cousins and was really close to the ones my age and still love to reminisce about our childhoods together, something I imagine siblings do. Thank you for your thoughts and happy snowtimes to you and yours.

      Delete
  4. Thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful piece. I too am a somewhat extroverted, only child. I was so confused by my need to be alone and your words really helped me understand that. I resonated with everything that you shared, and the paragraph about being the "adult" child in pre-school really hit home! I remember telling my fellow kindergardeners that Santa was not real, but actually a myth created by our culture for various reasons. All my little schoolmates heard was "Santa isn't real" and a everyone started crying. The teacher called my dad and made him come take me away (an "expulsion for the day" of sorts!). When I told him what happened, he laughed for hours, but I was seriously confused and felt terrible for hurting so many people when I was just trying to "enlighten" them! I didn't have a sibling to help me understand - all I had was this grown-up who didn't really understand how kids' minds worked telling me to not worry about it. And as you shared, it wasn't until middle school that my friends "caught up" with me and I could finally start to make some real friends. Anyway, all of this is to say THANK YOU for this piece. It really touched me and helped me understand myself a bit more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah! That is an awesome story Tristy, except that the teacher's reaction was pretty ridiculous. I used to do the same kind of thing in first grade about where babies come from. It's good to know we're not alone with these experiences. I bet your fellow kindergarteners tell that story still around Christmas time ;D

      Delete
  5. Hello :)
    I'm the next oldest girl among no less than five children. Besides my three siblings and my "half" sister I have two brothers, whom are my father's girlfriend's children. So: I have since my birth been used to sharing almost everything and have a lot of people around me. All day.

    Yet still, I can easily relate to the need to have time on your own. Personally I have always had a very great need to be able to close the door to my bedroom and spend hours alone; reading, thinking, dreaming, drawing; doing things that matters to me but nothing I want to share or explain to anyone else.
    I'd say that it doesn't matter whether you are an only child or not, you could still have this great need to reflect about impressions after some eventful days or so.

    - Rikke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, thanks for stopping by. I agree that to some degree this is a nature vs. nurture kind of thing. Some people are introverts by nature and some are molded into introverts by circumstance. I feel like my introvert tendencies definitely came from my only-ness, but it seems that even those with a multitude of siblings can have very similar experiences. Human nature-such a curious beast...

      Delete
  6. Middle child here (of 3) and introvert extraordinaire. I used to think it was a character flaw but now, in my late twenties, I'm accepting it as just a part of who I am. I naturally choose my own company as well and get exhausted much quicker than other people when socializing. I'm in a grad program that is small and involves lots of interaction and role playing throughout the day and my classmates are always confused when I go off to to the library at lunch instead of joining the crowd….I need to replenish! Thanks for a great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your thoughts! We are so thought that extroversion is something we should all strive for! Our society revolves around this idea and yet so many people feel left out of it. It's nice to know we're not alone, eh?

      Delete
  7. In some ways I feel like I grew up as an only child, because there was such an age difference between my brother and I. Possibly because of that, I can certainly relate to the things you said in your post, but I feel like there are friends I grew up with that would also feel the same way, though they had siblings close to their age.
    I have always been a bit skeptical of studies that say things like: only children are this way, eldest children all show these tendencies, youngest children feel this way, and middle children act in such and such a way. Maybe Andrea's right with her Ayurevedic ways, I dunno, but I think that maybe, despite our various upbringings and situations, some of us will still somehow have these common traits. It is interesting to think and theorize about, but maybe some things are just mysteries of nature.
    But thank you, because I did like reading your post, and as I said I really related a lot to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you completely, it is (to a degree) a total mystery how exactly each of us ends up the way they do. And yet...as Andrea said, there are some common traits. Perhaps it is because we look for them: Aquariuses are a certain way, only children are a certain way, bakers are a certain way...

      I do think that it's fun to make these kinds of generalizations for argument's sake and that certainly they do hold true for some people some of the time. I definitely thought about all the disclaimers I could have included in the piece, but sometimes it's just good to put something out there and hear what people think. Plus I'm a tiny bit sick of all the disclaimers my many sided mind often comes up with ;)

      Thank you for your thoughts on the matter.

      Delete
  8. while we have come to it from different directions (i am the eldest of two, and always always liked my time alone), you and i have this stuff in common. and this year, as we seriously consider/plan a move to a smaller community, i have been a bit worried about just that which you mentioned--that being in a less populous place could actually equate to more social interactions. for i do love my anonymity in larger places (and, for instance, mourned its loss when i became known around town as a shop owner). i remain convinced that in the bigger picture, the right smaller town will be good for me and my family--i will just have to adapt...or perhaps just adopt the role as the town's reclusive grumpy witch ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, girl, you don't know the half of it! I've never had such a hopping social life. To be honest I was kinda terrified to find that Heather (below) only engages in two social engagements a week! Are you kidding me!?!??! We do at least one dinner with friends, one party, one "community" thing (meeting, work party something), plus my own hanging out with friends. Sheesh. But on the flip side, I've never had a more satisfying and varied social scene; shows, dances, meetings and the best part is...wait for it...I can stay home from so many more events than ever before! Haha. Seriously though, I've definitely learned to limit myself and just say no to fun things if make me feel exhausted. That's the key anywhere you live. I can't wait to see where you and your lovely family land!

      Delete
  9. I'm an only child too- I totally feel that preference for activities with an agenda rather than just "hanging out"- in fact, I've never really been able to put my finger on why I often get bored in groups until I read that. I feel sometimes that even when I'm really enjoying being socially active I store experiences like that up and can't quite process them properly until I've had some time alone to reflect on them- as though social time is a time for observing, and alone time needed later at some point for actually thinking about and reacting to stuff. I grew up in the country too, where you can walk out the door and go for a walk for 4 hours and not come across another person. I think that also makes a difference. I do think there's something in common with only children. To this day I'm still freaked out that siblings always seem to have identical fingernails despite how different they look, and I wonder what other combinations my parents' genetic pool may have created, and if siblings I had would make it easier for me to untangle the nature/nurture of myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder that too! Often. "What would my siblings be like?" Has always been a favorite thought game. I also agree with you on the need to process my experiences. Hence the blog and journals. It helps me take quiet time to order my thoughts. Thanks for reading and especially commenting and sharing your thoughts, only friend ;)

      Delete
  10. Well....I'm the eldest child of 5, and the only girl. Like you I read alot when I was younger, all the time; and it helped shut out those around me. I also find that social situations take from me rather than charge me. I have a few local Christmas things I'm supposed to be attending in the next couple of weeks, and I'm about to bail on all of them besides the family catch-up. I cannot bear to be so tired....I'm going to sound really bah humbug here; but the drunkeness, hysterics, overeating and loudness is not appealing to me at all; let alone the bitchiness and gossip that can follow. I think you know what I mean. My eldest son was an only child for 4 years....I will say that with having our second child....our parenting for both of them improved somewhat. I think it's easier to forget that your only child is just a child, and they are more likely to be swept into the adult world. At about 3 they become a little more independent and I guess it's easier to expect more from them. Once we had number two, our world became more child-centric. Having a second child meant prolonging the "childhood" of our first babe. Having another kid around,meant he had someone to play with. An example....this morning Mia was sad, she said that while Oscar was asleep she had no friend around. I said "what about me?" she said "no, you're my mummy, it's not the same". I think though, that if she was an only child, she WOULD see me as her friend. It doesn't mean that the alternative is bad, just different. When I was little I always wished there were less siblings, less to have to share. I personally have been overwhelmed by too many people recently...and am looking forward to becoming a recluse. YAY! Whoops gotta be careful or i'm gonna get all bitchy. Actually one last point, I still need time alone now (even with kids and husband whom i chose to be with always; so that doesn't change as we get older i guess)....and will often remove myself off to a room on my own - like i am now in the study. i feel better, and rested after alone time. xo sorry to ramble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Christmas is the introvert's nightmare! Never a dull, quiet moment. Check out the link below that Missa left. That lady has a real neat trick for social events and the like, kinda like a catnap. You just go to an empty room (or maybe outside) and be alone for a minute. That makes me wonder if a lot of introverts smoke...That'd be the perfect alone moment. Hhhmmm maybe this Christmas I'll pick up smoking...JUST KIDDING! Hang in there lady. Lots of love and quiet times!

      Delete
  11. Hallo lovely Milla! I am another middle child of the three. And I need lots and lots of time by myself.

    And I am thinking: perhaps the introvert/extravert typology is just too simplistic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I agree that generalizing any characteristic might be simplifying too much, BUT also think that we should be able to do so for argument's sake, i.e even if something isn't true for most people most of the time, it can be true for a lot of people a lot of the time. Finding patterns in behavior is what we do, as humans; personal patterns (I eat when I'm upset, I unwind by doing art, etc.) and general patterns (mass shooters are often white males, only children are often socially awkward, children often pick professions similar to those of their parents). It's how we decipher social codes and mores. In my case, the mainstream thinking on my kind of people strikes me as wrong, in Susan Caine's she felt as though her kind of people are not acknowledged in our society. Without some generalizations there's no discussion, just utterly unique individuals.

      Delete
  12. OH SO far from an only child (second of five as you probably know) and yet i crave my alone time terribly. not so much right now as i cart my baby around with me everywhere but it still seems to count as alone time at this point. i resonate strongly with what you say about reading. a book makes a very nice and pretty shield!

    i also resonate with what you say about siblings sometimes needing lots of attention on the social scene, not that i feel i need attention but i know i am loud and very extroverted in social situations, which i'm sure comes from growing up surrounded by noise and kids and play. we still talk over each other, as respectful as we try to be, but that's only cause there's so much good stuff to talk about. i wouldn't give them up for anything and we are tight as can be. but i see our friends raising their little boy sylvan as an only child and i see a thoughtful, responsible, clever and amazing child that is somewhat standoffish from his classmates at this point, but content nonetheless. he has quite a close pack of adult friends as well, and adores our lucy.

    this is a fun topic, and i bet you'll get lots of comments as people like to share their stories. it will be fun to read about each one's experience. i loved what andrea wrote above about ayurveda. so interesting to consider all the strange and mysterious factors that come together to make us each the unique soul the we are.

    and lastly, sorry, (talker extraordinaire right here hehe) i totally relate to what you say about a small town and all the social engagements. again, wouldn't trade it for the world and i cherish my community here, but i do get exhausted! and pretty much make it an unspoken rule for only two social engagements a week or so. the holidays are not conducive to alone time! i'll have to remember to take a sweet peaceful walk alone in the woods, inspired by this post. with my babe of course :) much love to you dearheart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, dearest! It is so interesting to find this side of you, though of course we all knew it existed on some level, what with you being bookish and sensitive, yet out-going and social. When Missa refers to you below "as our very own social butterfly", it does seem to capture your charming essence, that somehow you've turned your introvert tendencies into this charming, sincere personality, not loud and attention grabbing center of attention, but fun and exciting and extroverted, yet extremely attentive to others. Certainly each time we meet I'm awed by how you always seem to say the exact right thing in conversation and mean it too, where I sometimes struggle to convey my feelings and get understood and respond to people the right way. I admire this a lot about you. I feel like in some ways you and I have gone the opposite paths. Perhaps being one of many has made you more extroverted and being the only one made me more introverted?

      Lots of love to you and your little/big introvert/extrovert family ;)

      Delete
  13. I feel like generalizations about anything are whooey, including social interactions based on sibling number. I think it all comes down to personality. Sure the way you are brought up will influence your personality to a certain extent but there are so many variables there that there is no way sibling number can be the singular influential factor.

    I am like you in that I really like alone time, but also like spending time with people, and that given a choice "alone time" trumps "people time"...sometimes leading to not enough time spent with those I call friends. I am the second of four children and yet we have these things in common!

    I just know that we cannot base our social interactions on things like these. I just look at all 3 of my siblings and see how different we are even though we all grew up in the same environment and know that our inherent personalities, our "us", stands out and develops outside of our familial social unit. My brother is a really down to earth Navy officer, one of my sisters is a high school drop-out/ex-stripper turned bartender who spends all of her money on Louis Vuitton while seeking love affairs with men twice her age of a certain income bracket, and my other sister seriously lacks ambition and has dedicated her young life to partying and seeking the highest high, and I'm an artsy vintage-wearing librarian. We couldn't be any different!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Alisha, thank you for your insight. I've said it before above, but I both agree with you and disagree with you. While I agree that generalizations take away from the complexity of human nature (and nurture ;) I also find that such generalizations are good for argument's sake, in order for us to have discussion on the human experience. I like what Andrea said about some things not being personal, but cosmic, shared instead. I also believe that since generalizations, patterns, if you will are, what our society finds and bases ideas on. Just because a lot of people have a similar experience doesn't take away from the fact that others don't and while I believe that we're all different, I also believe that we are not as different as we like to think. Whether these patterns emerge because we look for them, or because there's some truth to them they form the basis of our shared language and I feel that they're worthy of discussing.

      It's so interesting to hear about how different siblings can be, you and yours certainly seem to differ, yet I imagine that as you get older you'll start to see the underlaying similarities. My mother and aunt and uncles certainly grow more similar each day, though they used to pride themselves in their dissimilarity, a fascinating process. Then again, perhaps it's only unique to them.

      Take good care and thank you for sharing.

      Delete
  14. Not an only child, but crave lots of time by myself. Just as my parents (both) and my brother do. We're an entire family of social but introverted people!

    The people I know who were an only child seem pretty close to their parents, in a way that I never were until I was 25. Then my mother had a car accident, and that brought us closer together. Up til then, it was always me and my brother "vs" our parents. It wasn't a war, more of a pact really. Like, if push came to shove, I would always side with my brother. Other than that, I don't think I'm psychologically very different from my boyfriend, who is an only child.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a interesting point! Heather and I definitely talked about feeling very protective over our parents even at a young age, and still. My mom and I were definitely close, but also very co-dependant, so I guess close both in the positive and the negative. I also think that your experience is pretty common, we get closer to our family as we get older, after the initial separation period of establishing our own identities. aka teen-horror years ;D

      Thanks for your thoughts and happy december!

      Delete
  15. "I don't charge my batteries, or relax in group activities, but rather have my energies depleted by them. This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy them, it just means that no matter how much fun I'm having, after a party, a gathering or any other social activity, I need a lot of time just by myself to recuperate from it. Typically too, in any group larger than five or so people, I prefer observing to active participation."

    Oh, Milla, but this is exactly a definition on an introvert!

    I have a younger brother but we've never been close so I don't really consider it any kind of blessing. I know several only-children (onlies?) and none of them seems to fit the stereotype of a selfish, dominating persona. Quite the contrary.
    And as for the stereotypes... I actually read some article about how this whole stereotype has no sense whatsoever. For example, only childrem are supposed to be shy but according to authors of the paper they usually turn out the opposite. They don't have siblings to play with, so they are forced very early to learn how to make friends. The stereotype says that they don't share well with others but actually they do, beacuse they never had to fight with siblings for toys. They are better teamplayers, because they were never exposed to the unpleasand sides of being in a group.

    As I said I have a younger brother and my husband is an only child. I'm the shy one. I have only two or three very close friends. I hardly ever speak when a group is bigger than 4. And I like my stuff. I don't have much of it, I just like it to be mine. Like a toothbrush.
    My husband have no such problems whatsoever, he's open and outgoing, although an introvert, too. So yeah. Stereotypes. Awesome;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right of course! After looking up the link Missa posted below, I agree, I am an introvert! It's just interesting since I've never identified as such. More like and extroverted misanthrope ;) I definitely think that my only-ness pushed me that way and had I had a more "normal" childhood with more child interactions I would have become more extroverted and would enjoy the company of other's more. Like Still Blooming says below, it's a very nature-nurture balance kinda thing...
      Thanks for your thoughts and tales and Happy Holidays

      Delete
  16. Introvert/Extrovert-perhaps this falls somewhere in with the "Nature vs Nurture" argument as well, at which I have come to learn that I will Nurture, my Nature.
    I am an only child,at the age of seven went to live with my Great Grandmother and Great Aunt who were quite disconnected and certainly not open to the challege of raising a "damaged" girl. Growing up I spent much time alone and felt misunderstood. That time alone was in retrospect building self reliance, creativity and an observer. At times there is still a struggle thinking that I need to 'fit' in or 'belong' although it is clear that this is an expectation of society. It is no wonder that I married an only child. We have moved to the middle of the woods from LA and at times have long analytic conversations about ourselves, the small towns people, city living..etc. We have three children and encourage them to keep in balance (according to what they feel they need)their time spent with themselves and socially.

    Oh Milla, so much more can be said here. Once again you got us all thinking :) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I love that "nurture my nature"! Yes! You said it. I totally feel the struggle to fit in or belong, but also feel so freed from it now compared to all the years before. It took me by total surprise how I "don't have to" belong or fit in situations I"m not comfortable in. Baby steps, eh? I'm happy you're there to help your kids take them so much earlier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and happy December full of love and light to you and yours!

      Delete
  17. hmmm... this is all very interesting! I have a brother and sister but I am the oldest and was an only child until age 4. At age 3 I went to live with my grandparents and then my siblings ended up moving in with us years later so while I was very excited to have them coming to live with us it was a difficult adjustment and hard for me to find enough quiet/alone time... I read a lot. Or I would climb to the top of this hill (where my little brother and sister never looked!) and hide out and sometimes watch them running around and being crazy in our yard. I am certainly in both camps-only child and sibling minded... xo m

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really interesting. It's definitely something to think about: all eldest siblings are only children to a point and I wonder how that "trauma" affects them? Being alone in nature was so special as a kid, I mean it is now too, but especially when nature was so magical and alive seamlessly in your mind. What a curious thing. I'm happy you're able to see both sides of this story dear.

      Happy Solstice and Holidays for you and your brood!

      Delete
  18. I feel like I could have written every word of this post, except for the "only child" part. I grew up in a family of extremely social extroverts but unlike my parents and sibling, I am decidedly an introvert. I'm not shy (like you, I'm comfortable talking to strangers or in public, and I have an easygoing, talkative personality) but I crave solitude and seek every opportunity for it. I don't think this trait has anything to do with whether you're an only child or not. It's just part of who I am. It took me a very long time to accept it and respect it, and doing so has made me a much happier and productive human.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, I'm so with you on having to disparate sides to my persona, sometimes it's hard to make them mesh. I also agree that our happiness as introverts totally comes accepting and celebrating this side of ourselves.
      Here's to that! Don't let's get lost in the hubbub of the Holiday Season but take it in with plenty of quiet times in between ;)

      Delete
  19. i crave being alone the most and even when i had no difficulty getting alone time, like i do now, i always enjoyed it. i have found that this desire comes from those who are only children and those who are not. i think being an only child or have siblings certainly has an effect on your personality but i think there is much more to it all. i have known introverts, extraverts, spoiled brats, spiritual people, attention hogs... who have come from both sides of the coin. i just have my one sister and i can honestly say that i never felt emotionally neglected. i enjoy one on one or a small group conversation and if i'm not interested in the topic i am fine sitting quietly listening (i have found over the years though that not talking results in people thinking you are stuck up which i have been called throughout my whole life). i'm also fine with large groups but usually end talking to just a handful of people.

    this is a fun topic! i could discuss it for hours i'm sure but since i'm such a slow typer i think i'll leave it at that for now :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never thought of how that could be how being quiet is interpreted?!? When others are quiet I always try to make sure that they're at ease in the situation and if it seems so just let them be. It's never occurred to me that someone might think that silence in group situations is because someone's a stuck up. Wow. People are jerks sometimes. I often think the opposite actually, that people who don't talk all the time must have some deep awesome thoughts that they're thinking through. I'm always super curious about quiet people and try to strike up a converstaion with them to find out what all these awesome deep thoughts are. I've hardly ever been disappointed. That's how it seems to a babbler like myself ;)

      Joyous, raucous, quiet Christmas to you and yours and all my love.

      Delete
  20. Dear Milla, thank you for having expressed so clearly and with useful insight what I have experienced since I was a child! I am the eldest of three and did not interact a lot with my brothers (2 and 10 years younger), although we became real friends as soon as i left home as a student.

    I was always deep in my books, and since we moved every three years it was hard to make and keep friends at school... I read during and between classes, and even if I appeared to listen to the teacher I would simply drift often into a reverie that enabled me to escape and be "with myself".

    When I was 8 or 9, I went to a classmate's birthday, and after a while I went to ask her mother where I could find a good book... She looked at me with embarrassment and said: but you're not supposed to read at a birthday, dear; you're supposed to play with the others...

    Later, for years, what I found most difficult at work was the combination of not being able to go outside, and not being able to drift into my own thoughts. As a bookseller you are always on call, you never stop answering, listening, interacting. All day. In a closed space, with lots of artificial light (and music non-stop).

    My friends are very dear to me and I have been developing new friendships regularly, which means I can't see each of them very often - they have learned to be patient with me. And yes, social events do deplete me - I rarely go to any, only enjoying myself when I can have a real, intimate conversation with one or two friends while I am there. Otherwise I am bored and lonely...

    So thanks again Milla, this 'weakness' that I have learned to manage might in fact not be a weakness, but simply something that is - a part of us.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment! It's so fun to connect with all you kindred spirits we are many! I especially love all these stories of other girls, big and little reading at parties, I had no idea. I used to read under my desk in school all the time, or just gaze out the window and space out, too. I still do that, just space out. Our "weaknesses" seem such strengths when reading these lovely comments, I can't believe I ever thought otherwise.

      Happy December, many good books and holiday cheer!

      Delete
  21. Oh, and I forgot to say that I love your pictures here and in your recent posts - they are beautiful and they remind me of my trip to Vancouver Island and Galiano Island this summer - the coastlines, the beach bordered by ancient, big leafed-maples and arbutus, and the big red cedars and douglas firs in the forest close by. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'd love to visit Vancouver Island someday, some of it so wild and crazy. Lucky you.

      Delete
  22. Coincidentally, a family friend just linked this article today: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sophia-dembling/nine-signs-that-you-might_b_2251932.html#slide=more268181. According to this lady, it sounds like you are most definitely an introvert, just not a shy one.

    I must say, I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that of all these many comments, where are the extroverts? Even Heather, our very own social butterfly, craves her alone time.

    Being an introvert married to another introvert, I might even start to doubt that actual bonafide extroverts even exist, if it weren’t for the fact that we somehow managed to pool our genes in a way that turned out a little person, who may still be too young to know for sure, but is looking an awful lot like she just might be an extrovert, when she’s not being shy of course ;) She has always loved being around people and would gladly spend every waking moment of the day playing with other kids or adults for that matter if they are willing. You’ve seen first hand how being around people can get her energy soaring!

    The other day we were walking downtown and she was bouncing along all excited like she gets and chattering away to us and all of a sudden she says “I don’t know what’s happening, I just feel like talking even though I don’t have anything to talk about!”

    Tonight the neighbors took her out to dinner with them and apparently on the car ride home she came up with the back story that Mary (my neighbor) actually had three kids but couldn’t handle them all, so they sent Clover to live next door with us! Haha!

    She’s definitely not the sort of wise beyond her years little one that you were. Her games don’t often involve tv shows but there is a lot of running around and I’m sure she would have been one of the kids confusing you with her silliness. I have a hard time imagining her sitting through Lord of the Rings, without complaining, but maybe I should give it a go just to see.

    So is it her natural personality or the fact that even though she has no siblings she’s still living a pretty kid-centric existence? Probably a combination.

    Sometimes it’s almost shocking how different she is from the way I was at her age. I was so painfully shy (in a way that none of my three younger sisters ever were, by the way) and while she’s not as cerebral as I was, seeing her interact socially in ways that I never could at her age is SUCH A RELIEF FOR ME, like happy tears kind of relief.

    As the eldest of four girls, I was always very close with my sister Val growing up. She was two years younger than me and we grew up sharing a room and playing with the same neighborhood kids. We even hung out with a common group of friends during our high school years even though we ended up going to different schools. She was always more outgoing and would meet people easily.

    We moved around a lot and she was the one who would meet the new kids and then I’d become friends with them too. Even though I was older and she looked up to me in lots of ways, I depended on her quite a bit socially and it’s interesting to think about how things would have been different if I were an only child. Would I have just been lonelier or would it have forced me to be more independent in that way?

    Ok, I’m going to stop here. It was fun to see the shirt and the bag out and about on one your little adventure in solitude!

    Oh my gosh, that reminds me of a poem that I wrote as a kid, maybe junior high age. It was called The Silent Bliss of Solitude. I didn’t write a lot of poetry growing up and the fact that I even remember that says something about my feelings on alone time :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sister! You know how much I love this looong, epic comment! Thank you so much for that link, it did, I suppose, clear it for me once and for all: I'M AN INTROVERT! Yehaw! At the same time I totally identify with lil Clover's "feeling like talking when you have nothing to talk about"-feeling. I'm so often there. Honestly though, now that I think about it, my lack of shyness and copious talking are pretty much my only extrovert characteristics. Who would have thunk it? As a former awkward little child I can only sigh with you in relief for your little star. Who cares if you can't sit through the entire LOTR, when you can have actual fun, with actual people?!!! While I was very self-sufficient as a child and still am, I do remember just looking at other children wishing I could join them in their exuberance. There was definitely some serious pain there, that I mostly soothed with more books and dreamy thoughts ;)

      It's so obvious that somehow you two did create this small being that just is so opposite in her nature, to what comes naturally to you, such a mystery...It's kind of awesome to think about it.

      I bet Clover will grow to have the best of both worlds: her own sociable nature and her mama's deep deep insight. And hopefully both you guyses wicked sense of humor ;)

      I really think that part of the reason we're all so drawn together in this strange little place, is because in some ways it's the perfect medium for the deep thinking and connecting, being introverted and social at the same time. The internet is a place where you can be alone with other people, connect or disconnect at will. Growing up I remember often wanting to be invisible at parties and the internet is kinda like that. You can choose how visible you want to be.


      I wish you had a copy of The Silent Bliss of Solitude. I think my junior high self would love it!

      Love you so much, Happy Solstice and Christmas and ginger bread house overdose (I got nauseous just looking at that thing!)

      Delete
  23. Hi there,
    I just wanted to say hello, I'm a long time reader, but first time commenter.
    I identified with many of the things you said, although I'm not an only child but the older one of two. I think that many of the things you say actually might be due to your being an only child, my boyfriend is an only child and a very private, introvert person as well.
    But I was wondering if you are familiar with the enneagram - it is an interesting tool for people who analyze their personalities the way you do in this post, it might answer some doubts and show you that there are many other aspects than just the only child/sibling distinction.
    Although you obviously knew that already...
    I'd also like to add how much I enjoy reading your blog. Your life and lifestyle couldn't be more different from mine, but sometimes that's exactly what you need for a change of perspective.
    Thanks for that!
    Sonja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for commenting Sonja. It makes me really happy when long time readers come out of the woodwork. I love learning what little I can about you all. I'll definitely want to look into this tool, I'm learning SO MUCH from these comments and will have fun exploring all these new directions. And for the record, I too love reading blogs that are different from my own life, you know people living in cities, working as music publicists, or stay at home moms, or explorers, I just love delving into the lives of others and learning and gaining perspective like you said.

      Happy December and many lovely insights and lots of light to you! I do hope you stop by again with a little pearl of wisdom sometime.

      Delete
  24. hello dear. i'm back to comment after having read this yesterday. however, i still find myself at a loss for words, and don't know if there's much i can add to what you have already perfectly said. there's a whole lot of "me too! me too!" going on in my being.

    i lived with a brother until i was 7 and he was 18, at which point he left home. i feel like i was an only child, and have to remind myself to say, "oh, but i have three brothers and one sister, but they're either half or step and they're all older than me and one passed away and...". it's easier just to say i was an only, and that also feels true.

    retrospectively, i've wondered if some of my "issues" (growing up and currently) were from lack of siblings...a wondering based on the negative perspective of others, like you articulated in the prejudice towards having siblings being "normal". i was lonely too, but we also lived in a rural area, and the kids i went to school with seemed to come from another reality than i did. i was socially ostracized, but i don't know that it would have been any different if i'd had siblings. there was a sadness that i carried from my brother leaving, so i would have been happier if he had stayed. but ultimately i'm grateful and happy for who i am now, regardless of what it is based on.

    your articulation of the need for alone time is so beautiful and also kills me because i haven't had alone time for so long that i physically ache for it. i feel so grumpy and irritable with the constant interruption that comes with being a mom...and my introversion and need for solitude is something i have to remind myself of, so i don't get too hard on myself for not being a blissed out mom. i had the same relationship with books as you as a kid, and would feel so pissed when i had taken refuge into a story, only to be pressed upon by the outside world yet again. i love my own company too, and i wish i'd thought of the book trick at parties when i was younger. i used to just "disappear" from parties, much to consternation of my companions.

    thank you for this. i resonate through and through and if you're the poster child for introversion, then i'll happily jump on that train. xoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is pretty much the same family set up my lil sister had, being raised with a much older brother (he's my age) and then being virtually an only child. It can definitely be confusing to identify as something that other people might not see you as, being raised as an only child for a while before a sibling arrives, or vise versa. Basically their family produced two only children, a curious combo. They're both super extroverted too. Like my sister is a bonafide extrovert, everyone loves her and she loves everyone and is super social and gets mega fomo (fear of missing out) if she's not constantly socializing.

      It's so interesting to hear your and Amber's perspective on having kids and alone time. This is totally one of my major (maybe the only-nah there's a few others I guess) fear about having a child: They'd always be there. When would I be alone????!??!?!

      Haha thank YOU, but I'm so not the poster child for introversion. I'm a loudmouth that socially awkward. Not. The. Most. Epic. Combo. I'm happy for who I am too though. It's interesting to muse on that. How things might have been different. How they're not.

      Love you and Happy Solstice and all good relaxing, grounding tidings. I'll throw some cedar on the fire for you my dear.

      Delete
  25. Milla,
    I wish I had time to read all of these comments, but I'm just stealing a moment to add my thoughts. I am not an only, however my sibling is 6 years older than me and so much of my upbringing we were in very different stages until he was out of the house and on with his life. I don't know if this is why what you've written resounds with me or not. The ways in which you describe your need for solitude, I've always attributed to being an artist. In order for me to do my work, I've always needed the alone time to ruminate and fantasize and wander. When I don't have that time I start to go a little crazy. I get frustrated and cranky. If it goes on long enough I become forlorn and feel directionless. This is a struggle for me now because I have a little boy and one on the way. And I work. So, maybe I'm a little crazy right now. There is something magical about time alone, for me, either being creative or being in nature. It is wholly regenerative.
    Thanks for the post. Looking forward to reading all of these comments!

    Veronica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Veronica, these comments ARE awesome, yours included! I love reading these insightful, funny, clever, heartfelt thoughts...
      So thank you.

      Happy December with many lovely walks and craft projects all by your lonesome.

      Delete
  26. Oh Milla, this topic is so dear to my heart. I always, my whole life, but especially lately, have craved- nay! required- large amounts of solitude. Becoming a mother is the quickest way to ensure that that doesn't happen anymore, but as Mycie is getting older I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Living with a partner is a huge challenge too though and I am, in fact, considering moving into my own place for a while. I've been with some man or other for 8 straight years now, and all I want to do is be alone to read, write, bathe, and stretch. I find myself staying up too late in order to find that alone time to recharge, but of course that backfires because then I'm missing sleep.

    Loneliness is not a feeling I'm very familiar with. I never feel bored when I'm alone. I never don't know what to do. (Never! I say sanctimoniously and self righteously). I think there are two categories of people- those who are self contained with a secure sense of self who enjoy solitude, and those who are constantly seeking approval from without and get anxious when left alone with themselves. A generalization, of course, but lately I've been seeing that in people. And who knows what confluence of nature & nurture shapes who we become in that regard.

    In another TEDtalk by Sherry Turkle called "Connected, but Alone?" she discusses how constant access to stimulation through technology is creating a generation of children who are immensely uncomfortable with silence and solitude. It made me really sad. And it made me really aware of trying to carve out chasms of space & time for Mycie to dwell in such states as she grows up.

    "A book is taken as a dis-invitation to engage its reader in conversation" is the best line ever. I've had friends and family members get exasperated, angry with me for choosing to read rather than party. One high school friend and college roommate once yelled at me at a bar on her birthday "You're just too interested in too many things! And who reads that much!? It's so boring." We were't friends for years after that (but are now!).

    Oh and are you aware of the Time cover article from a few years ago about the myth of the only child (which basically says that everything you wrote at the beginning of this post is not true)? http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2002530,00.html

    Love you sister.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love you too! I did actually read the Time article, but only after I was done writing this. It did not occur to me to, I don't know, google the topic for some references. Odd I know. In a way I'm glad though, because it's sometimes good to just reflect on your own experiences. Staying up too late or getting up too early for alone time is totally something I do when times get tight. I NEED my alone time and lots of it.

      I couldn't help but laugh outloud at your friend's comment! What a silly thing to say. I wish more people were interested in way too many things. I love your deep emotional/cerebral musings, they totally make me girl-crush. I like a good brainy chick myself ;)

      Lots of love Moon Sister and thank you for your thoughts on this and the other matter too. My thoughts will be holding you on Solstice.

      Delete
  27. Hmm, what an interesting perambulation.

    As an introvert (and a highly sensitive one, at that), I find that I absolutely need a LOT of time by myself. What makes this actually interesting, is that I was an only child for seven and a half years before hayle came along, and I became very well-versed in being alone anyway. I'm not sure that I ever learned to be a sibling, whatever it means to be one. What I *do* know is that I'm lucky to have a sister who understands my need to be alone.

    Whilst in social situations, I find myself drawing back -- unless I'm very comfortable with the people. Then, I love telling stories and clowning around. Most often, I'll find one or two people at a party with whom I resonate more comfortably than with everyone else, and we'll gravitate towards one another. What living here has taught me is that I don't actually *need* friends in my immediate vicinity. Perhaps it's because I've not met very many people with whom I'd like to pass time, because I feel like most interactions with others are superfluous. I HATE small-talk, though I can do it when pressed, my idea of a fun time with another individual is having deep conversations about ideas. That said, if I were to find a small group of women that really spoke to my heart, I would be so in love that I'd want to hang out fairly often.

    A lot of this has to do with the fact that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Cancer, I think.

    I don't really know where this is going, but I would very much LOVE to meet you someday and talk it up with you. You seem to be some sort of beautiful extrovert/introvert hypbid, so I think we would get along awfully well.

    Love you.

    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love, hope, dream, aspire that we two should meet some day. I think we would get along like a house on fire, frankly. I kind of know we feel the same way about it, yet I really do find that I'm a total extrovert in some social situations, chatty, excited, love to meet new people...Sometimes I surprise myself. I think that MOST people, even super extroverted ones, behave more openly when they're the most comfortable. A tight knit group of friends is important to everyone and something to aspire to in life, just like finding a good career fit, or the right partner. I think these should be viewed as goals, something to work on and not a given. I feel lucky, certainly to have found you and all our internet circle. I can't stop marveling at it.

      Lots of Love and happy Solstice,

      Delete
  28. Love this post! As an introvert and an only child, I identified on many of your experiences here.So annoying to hear the comments, "Oh you must have been so spoilt" that I usually just preempt it by telling them that my Dad was strict as shit (which is true).

    Also, I'm sure you've taken the Myers-Briggs? An important point they make in regards to being an introvert is whether you are either depleted or energized by your large group interactions.

    Anyway, thanks for the post and keep up the thoughtful work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've never taken Myers-Briggs, but that does sound like a pivotal point. I'm intrigued. So many good suggestions in these comments, so much exploration.

      Thanks for your insight only child friend and happy December!

      Delete
  29. The traits you describe also describe my feelings to a "t". i crave alone time so much it hurts sometimes if i haven't gotten enough. i am not an only child, but i had one brother who caused a lot of chaos. hiding away and reading books was my biggest pleasure and escape. i still need much more alone time than anyone i know. i love people and connections but i am also drained afterwards instead of gaining energy.

    when i was 17, my mom got me a book by elaine aaron called "the highly sensitive person" (well, she got it because she qualifies as well), and i recommend checking it out maybe at the library, because it really resonated with me and allowed me to embrace some of my traits that others seem more confused by.

    (also always thought i was a weird combo of intra/extravert because i was born on the cusp of cancer/leo. i can seem very outgoing when i need to but it exhausts me and my inner core would prefer silence and being alone.)

    just wanted to add that my boyfriend is an only child and was very lonely as a kid. he is an exceptionally generous and patient person. he tends to be slightly shy but unlike me, if he doesn't get out of the house and interact with the world on some level every day, he feels the day has been a failure. me, i could be not just happy but ecstatic about the idea of a day where i read in bed with my cat literally all day. we are opposites in this regard, and the amount of time i need to myself sometimes bothers him, tbh.

    funny to know someone else thinks about stuff like this, milla! thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're back! Are you updating your blog? I better go check it out! I've totally heard about that book before and this might be just the prompting I need to actually delve into it. It was recommended to me by someone who thought I should read it and I just haven't gotten around to it. It's so interesting how this antisocial/introverted thing resonates with so many of us blog sisters. I think there really is something to it. Perhaps it's partly because we seem to long to connect to people on such a deep level that we are left drained by our efforts, whereas online that connection can come easier since it's in the form of thought out words and paragraphs.

      Thank you for your thoughts, take good care and Happy Solstice/ Christmas season!

      Delete
  30. i love this love this. i have a brother who is younger than me (i have never once described him as my "little brother," because he physically not littler AND has the heart and wisdom of a man twice his age), and we were raised in a "hippie-ish" household as well. we are very similar, he and i, in that we too are our own best friends.

    i think what you said here is really the root:

    "More often than not, they're also very sensitive to other people's non-verbal communication, good at assessing a given situation and able to see both sides of an argument, something that I think must stem from observing complex, "grown-up" situations from a young age."

    my brother and i come from a long line of addicts and alcoholics. while our parents were not in the least neglectful, we were privy to "grown-up" situations from a very young age. we weren't sheltered, our opinions were valued, and as a result, we became the humans we are today. we both live alone (a luxury, we understand), indulge in solitary activities (reading, writing, photography), and prefer quality over quantity in friends.

    so yes, i agree with you that only children are not predisposed to be attention hogs and non-functional because of their upbringing, but i wonder if it has more to do with what a child experiences when they are growing up, rather than the number of siblings. although, i'm sure it is a combination of nature and nurture.

    maybe 2013 is the year we get to talk about these things in person? i have a friend is just as into exploring as i am, and has a car! we've talked about island hopping come the spring. maybe we'll swing by?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's make it the year! You should DEFINITELY come out to the islands, I imagine it'd be a fun getaway. I'd recommend visiting Orcas and Doe Bay with the hot tubs. Quite fun in this stormy weather. And yes, definitely a combination of nature, nurture, accident, serendipity...this whole dang human nature is so interesting indeed. Let's get together and muse on it soon!

      Delete
  31. This is a great post well done! I totally agree with everything you have said and strangely reading what you have written made me think" Yeah im like that!" to nearly all your points....apart from the fact that i actually come from a very strong two parent family, we are extremely close and i have a sister who is only 2 years youonger than me. We too are close. But i too find my own company nice, i crave solitude, disappear into books and am often neglectful of friends because i would rather stay in then socialise. So although i feel the same as you, the difference comes in that i have siblings and a fixed family. I don't necessarily think its the amount of siblings or your family who determine your behaviour i often think it comes down to your own beliefs, and how happy you feel inside and how comfortable you are with yourself. Maybe i'm wrong, im no scientist, but i do find people who are unhappy, led by social media and constantly trying to better themselves or climb a social ladder can't stand being alone and crave constant companionship. In a way it's a sad existence and i'd much rather be content to read a book or hang out by myself then struggle to be accepted or loved.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you! I agree whole-heartdly and think that as a society we could really stand more solitude, as Amber points out above, it's more important than ever, in this connected age to really savor the feeling of being alone. Lucky us, right, comes so naturally to us doesn't it? hahah!

    ReplyDelete
  33. awww, i just read this. you remind me of asher. i love raising an only child. what a gift. i am a sibling, but i resonate deeply with your need for solitude and solo recharging. more and more as i get older, but it's always been there.

    i love you. your package will be after christmas, and it has a wholllle lotta clothes in it.

    xo

    ReplyDelete