Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Falling Clocks Syndrome

As much as I hope to champion the advantages of being an introvert, I am also the first to admit to its downfalls.

Introverts tend to be extremely analytical. Of course, this is a beneficial attribute to have, but other times it can be tortuous. The second I have a moment alone or am doing some mundane task like highway driving, I become totally lost in my thoughts.

Thinking isn't necessarily a bad thing. Let's face it, far too many people do far too little thinking. The problem lies in what I think about. I don't think about what I should eat for dinner, plan my next vacation or when I need an oil change. Instead, I spend hours pondering life's complexities; from the origin of the world, to religion, to death. Anything unanswerable...you name it, I think about it.

Sometimes it's nice to feel intellectual and theorize, and I do enjoy deep thinking. And it certainly is something I do not wish
to stop completely. But often I feel like Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole with ticking clocks and the Cheshire Cat mocking me. It's unnerving that I focus so much energy on questions that lack answers. My deep thinking can even work me up to the point of making me anxious when I can't explain these mysteries.

One solution would be to express my ideas and chat with others about them, and this is exactly the type of conversation I excel in. Yet, after more than a few strange looks and raised eyebrows, I've discovered that most people don't share my interest. So my theories on time and life after death are kept to myself, resulting in a rare but glaring feeling of loneliness and futility. When my thoughts get to the point of resulting in these feelings, I find my analytical nature to be detrimental.

As much as it is natural for the introvert to find themselves in deep thought, I need to strive for only a healthy dose of the Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole.


  1. I, too, spend a lot of time deep thinking and trying to solve the mysterious. But, I don't think that the anxiety that is caused by this type of thinking is a bad thing - in fact I think it is one of the very purposes of our lives. God knows that most extroverts never come close to grappling with the mysteries of existence. That may seem an unfair statement - but how many times have you tried to talk about the mysteries of life with an extrovert only to be met with a look that a dog gives you when you try to show them a card trick? In fact, that may be our silver bullet for shutting up a classic extrovert - ask them to elaborate on death or the soul's journey or the beginning of the universe. You won't get much of an honest response. Extroverts expend a lot of mouth muscle energy discussing the shallow happenings and gossip of the day. And we, or at least, I, expend a lot of energy trying not to be sucked up in that vacant vacuum - devoid of meaning and any real heart. I think the anxiety I feel isn't necessarily the anxiety about what it all means - rather, it is trying to rationalize why I think this way and seemingly no one else does; trying to maintain my own integrity when everyone else is using everything to keep me in the status quo. I don't see my general tendency to deep think as a disorder or even a negative - I see it as a tool for personal discovery. No one has this life figured out, but introverts seem to have found a lot more peace with their internal universe than the people who spend their waking existence trying to to talk everyone else into their own prisons. No, I'm not bitter - just proud of the progress I have made to selfhood because of my inability to be comfortable in the extrovert mainstream.

  2. What a great comment.

    I definitely agree when you say that the anxiety comes from feeling as if you are the only one who thinks this way. You couldn't have said it more perfectly. I've never been able to understand how most people go through their lives ignoring these huge questions. Aren't these the conversations we should be having more frequently? But no, it's taboo to bring up religion, death, the meaning of life...anything that may result in deep debate is conversational Kryptonite.

    Good for you for owning your introversion! It's something I'm working on every day. Thanks again for this interesting comment, it's great to hear from like-minded readers!

    Would you mind if I re-posted this on the blog to your credit? Your thoughts on this are too good for people to miss in the comments section.

  3. Sorry I got back to you so late on this.. No, I don't mind if you repost - if you think its still relevant. If not, thats cool too. I lost all my bookmarks and this blog was one of them :P. Be sure to delete this comment as well. Thanks!

    Oh yeah, and get back to blogging!