Sunday 3 May 2020

Is a life indoors valued less?

I have been thinking about this a lot since lockdown - and I know I’m not alone in this; that many other introverts will have been thinking about it too.

It’s the extraverts who are finding lockdown the most difficult - not being able to physically meet up with friends, to socialise every day, to be out and about. I know it’s more complicated - that there are introverts who like to go out and walk alone and think. I am restricted because of physical health conditions as well so it’s just as well that my temperament is suited to the indoor life. I get it, that people with other mental health conditions, especially depression, need that social contact in order to boost their well being and self esteem. I am also very fortunate in that I’m not locked down alone - that I have company. I also miss seeing my family physically and that physical contact with them.

I am also very well aware how a life indoors may be a living hell for people stuck with a violent or abusive partner or family member. Or having now outside space to call their own.

But the flip side of all this is that people are waiting for ‘life to return to normal’ - as if somehow this indoor life is unnatural and undesirable. It’s certainly not what the government have in mind when they talk about easing restrictions. Society always seems geared towards extraverts as a default so that those of us who don’t fit in by temperament feel excluded.

Now all that had reversed and we’re the ones who have the skills and strengths, because although there are disruptions to my life as mentioned above, for me it’s business as usual. I was living a mainly indoor life anyway because fatigue, pain, anxiety and hyperhidrosis make the outdoor life largely unpleasant and unenjoyable and an uphill struggle.

For me the lockdown has exposed how we as a society view people who live their lives indoors. As a writer I am used to it and have plenty to keep me busy- energy and health permitting. In fact I have found more demands on my time and energy trying to keep up with friends and relatives in lockdown - or people who now suddenly have more time on their hands and assume I do too.

But the conversation is happening. I’m hearing people not wishing to return to their pre-lockdown lives on the hectic treadmill. Now people have had the time to reflect, many are enjoying the slower pace, hearing the bird song, the more natural pace of life. This isn’t to say that there won’t be an economic fallout and that many businesses will need so much help to get back on their feet. The high street was already on its knees before CV-19 and it was obvious that it needed government subsidies to stay alive and to keep that vital sense of community.

So back to my initial question. Is a life indoors valued less? I think it was. But I hope it won’t be in future. 

I have enjoyed embracing my indoor self and hope society will value those introverts among us more in future!