Quiet Euphoria Is 8 A.M. Drinking Piping Hot Coffee Alone

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Growing up, I distinctly remember how different my summers were compared to everyone around me. I always considered my quiet personality and limited circle of friends as the reasons for days spent reading, writing, drawing, and doing other isolated activities in which I nurtured my solitude.

This was in contrast to what I knew other children were doing. I knew the same cluster of girls I passed in the hallways were now huddled together in sleeping bags. I pictured them in all their silliness and whispers, with purple toenails. I thought about the pool parties. Everyone inseparable from the same cliques found in the classroom. A part of me was a little jealous of these exciting interactions. This was where the life-long relationships formed, where all the inside jokes lived, where pictures would be taken to later be broadcasted on our senior graduation slideshow.

However, as I’ve grown into myself and become more self-reflective and aware, I’ve relished the thought of these “extroverted” summers. This summer especially, I am learning to lose myself in. I’m going into my junior year of college, and I’ve made new friends — friends who are extroverts who pull me into the energy of people and places and adventures. I am invited for after-work ice cream dates, I’m welcomed with morning Snapchats, and my phone vibrates with daily text messages; I love these people who have become a part of my identity.

The big surprise? As an introvert, I am still very alone. I find myself in my room: a burning candle and a Spotify playlist, alone with my thoughts. I still read books, articles, poems. I write. I record my feelings, attempt poetry, make lists. I watch YouTube videos and Netflix. I cook and bake; I have an entire list of recipes which expands like my reading list. I ponder my life. I have imaginary conversations where I spit intellectual and emotional responses to prove myself and surprise someone.

I relive memories I want to feel forever, with people I want to preserve, or memories I wish I could change. I think of the guy who might not think of me, and my heart still aches, but I must move forward. I recall my past, I worry about my future, but I’m teaching myself to immerse in the now. I am plagued with occasional bursts of loneliness, and I fear that my days are wasted, that nothing will ever be the same, and that I can never hold onto anything for sure. I am paralyzed with the unanswered and the unknown and my anxiety.

Sometimes I feel stuck, or as if I’m missing out, and I will desperately crave human interaction or an event to look forward to. I see everyone going, living, becoming; they are falling in love and building careers, and I wonder about myself.

Moments of Quiet Euphoria Are Bliss

There are times I call Quiet Euphoria. In these moments, I’m blissful. I wouldn’t consider myself delighted, not a happiness that infects all — not the uncontrolled kind of happiness you experience on your birthday. Rather, it comes gently. I find myself at peace, unattached to anyone or anything. It’s mindless, it’s appreciation for the ordinary and recognition for the beauty of now — which we must remember will never come again.

Quiet Euphoria is when I find myself driving alone on a gorgeous June day when the sun is melting into the sky, a last burst of light, at seven o’clock.

Or driving at night: the road seems private, untouched, and the day’s traffic is forgotten. Have you ever driven alone at one in the morning? It’s a secret. It almost feels as if you shouldn’t be out there. Everything is hushed, and there’s a rush of excitement, of recklessness.

Quiet Euphoria is eight in the morning drinking piping hot coffee, sitting on porch steps, feet in dewy lawn, listening to birds’ chatter. You don’t Instagram this moment. In fact, you don’t Instagram or Snapchat any of your moments of Quiet Euphoria, because these are experiences just for yourself.

My favorite moment of Quiet Euphoria was when I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, and on the last night, I went to the resort’s pool. The air was thick and sticky from the day’s heat. I don’t go in pools much anymore, but there was no one around. Perhaps it was the light illuminating the water — beckoning — or the crickets’ encouraging. I cannon-balled in. It was the most blissful solitude. Floating on my back, I memorized the starry sky looking back at me, and drank in the strange sensation of being alone in a foreign place. I realized I was vulnerable and free.

Quiet Euphoria happened again when I was walking past rows and rows of literature in a used bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina. I was visiting my sister and she gave me the car — or better, an opportunity for independence and exploration.

Summer Is When I Re-Balance Myself

Maybe this is all the result of two semesters of constant interaction and stress, when I am always having to be somewhere, and I am almost always with someone. Summer is when I re-balance myself; I am just me, without having to perform for anyone.

Maybe it’s healing after all the hurt of other people — irritated, impatient customers, careless remarks of friends and family, people who demand and expect, people who don’t understand me. I’m an INFJ personality type; I’m obsessed with Myers-Briggs, and it lightens me to know there’s a community of introverts who empathize. I know I am not alone, even though sometimes I hurt and I don’t share.

There are highs and lows in being by yourself. I do love my extroverted friends and my family, and sometimes I need them to pull me out of myself. But, I also need all of it — all the overanalyzing, the Quiet Euphoria, the worry, the heartache, and the numb moments to appreciate every other aspect of life. I need these stretches to fully live, to know I am a human who can feel and experience every wonder, every mundane moment. I’m a human who sometimes cries too easily, sometimes not enough, who belly laughs at puns, who forgets, and who dreams.

I’m trying to give purpose to all my pain and worries, and to cultivate self-love and self-reliance. I’m trying to be content apart from any other person. I have this hope that life will only get better, and someday, I will reflect upon these summers where I was allowed complete nothing, and I will be calmed.

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