Introversion, stay-at-home orders and homesteading – where a natural nexus aligns

When you live on a homestead, you already choose to subscribe to lifestyle ideologies that are sometimes outside the norm. We choose to live further away from supermarkets and stores, we choose to live on properties not connected to town water or sewerage, we choose to manage and build stockpiles of groceries, we choose to have distance between us and the community, we choose a lot of things that may seem as if they’re on the fringe, but they’re not really. And its moments like these where things like community lockdowns and stay-at-home orders do not impact us negatively.

South East Queensland is in a short lockdown. There is a current outbreak of the Delta variant of covid in the community.

Queensland has fared really well so far in the pandemic, with many small outbreaks being contained within a short time. I’m not a doctor nor am I a scientist and I don’t subscribe to conspiracy theories – I do however encourage and promote critical thinking and analysis and believe that people should have differing opinions, not fueled by misinformation, but a general understanding of their viewpoint through robust analysis of its theories.

So the question to why it’s been contained all this time and why only now it’s (QLD) being impacted as it is remain an unknown for me. And honestly, I don’t care.

I don’t mean that to say that I am being ignorant. But there is so much information coming out every day about covid and the messaging from all sides is inflammatory to try and prove their own point. Confirmation bias is really strong.

When you live on a homestead, you already choose to subscribe to lifestyle ideologies that are sometimes outside the norm. We choose to live further away from supermarkets and stores, we choose to live on properties not connected to town water or sewerage, we choose to manage and build stockpiles of groceries, we choose to have distance between us and the community, we choose a lot of things that may seem as if they’re on the fringe, but they’re not really.

And its moments like these where things like community lockdowns and stay-at-home orders occur that we are not impacted negatively.

Again, I may be different. But I am a deeply introverted and generally shy person. If you ask my close friends, or even close associates like people from the gym, they’ll laugh and say “rubbish, TJ is an extrovert and will talk your ear off.” But being chatty and being an introvert are two entirely separate things. Introversion and extroversion relates to human energy, and whether things like small-talk, being in groups and attending public events withdraw or deposit energy into you. I do not get enjoyment from being in public groups, from being in places with people I don’t know, with striking random or small-talk discussions with people I don’t know and even, in being in places with people I do know.

Deep introversion in my perspective, is being a person who thrives on being alone, but with someone. My authorised person is my husband, and anyone outside of that requires a lot of mental preparation for me to get involved with. Even my friends, people who I have internally, extensively vetted and analysed to determine that I do want to let into my life, are people with whom I need to prepare myself to interact with. And this is because, being with other humans drains me. Takes energy out of me, to the point that I need a few days sometimes to recover.

So whenever I hear of people protesting about covid lockdowns or other such nonsense, I truly do not understand it. If your mental health suffers, that is an entirely different ball game. Things like stay-at-home orders impact small business, well, all business is impacted by this. People cannot go to work, send their children to school, or might be essential workers and have nowhere for their children to be. There are family situations to consider, domestic violence issues or people needing care from social workers for any number of reasons. So I understand something like a stay-at-home order is not ideal for a large proportion of the community. I also understand a lot of the things that don’t impact me, impact others.

But I want to raise this – by no means am I privileged or more advantaged than another. My husband and I have worked hard for years, hustling, saving money, making smart investments, taking measured risks…we were not given a thing from the government or our families, other than hand me down furniture and household items when we first started out. We never sought assistance from the government in any way, such as payment for unemployment. Neither of our families were in the position to hand us a wad of cash and say “here ya go, enjoy your life”. And I am not saying this to blame or to say we weren’t supported – we were absolutely supported by our families who gave us amazing advice, were sounding boards for our decision making process, and who helped us make many of our first big major life decisions. But what I am trying to say is, that they weren’t rich millionaires with money to throw away – they were blue collar workers who were also trying their best and hardest to continue to make a life for themselves as Australians who came to this country from outside.

So everything we have worked for has been and has come from our own hands and minds. Whether its physical work or work requiring brain power, we did it ourselves. We made our own wealth and paved our own path through life. Given the opportunity to mostly work from home now is not something I just walked into. I have been in my IRL job for about 15 years, and worked really hard in really patriarchal environments to pave my way, to show my value as an expert in my field of work. And I am considered as such. I work in a niche discipline of work, and the current area I work in is even more niche within my discipline. It’s not a job just anybody can do. But I worked really hard to get to this point.

So when the state government says stay-at-home orders are in place, I am relieved, thankful and content. All that fake, work related idle chit chat is gone. I don’t have to put on a really fake face to be considered socially appropriate in the workplace. I don’t have to force myself to make small talk with people with whom I otherwise would have nothing to do with. I am not forced into a situation that otherwise stresses me out, drains my energy and requires me to internalise to gather my energy back. The world pre-covid is an extroverts world, one that I have been forced into for a long time. So where extroverts are now freaking out about the isolation and staying at home, I am in my element.

Since the pandemic was first announced, I have been in the best mental space of my life. I have never felt more content, more happy, and more joyous. There is no greater dream than being able to work from home, all the time. And now, at least in some capacity, it has been fulfilled.

I guess what I am trying to say is, the covid experience has not been for everyone. By experience, I mean, things such as lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and other implications currently present. And I understand there are many variables that shape people’s experiences at the moment. And I am not saying that people are not within their right to express anger or frustration and be critical of the government and its response. Please, do so. Have a royal commission, do the analysis and investigation after the event to show what worked and what didn’t and how we as a society can better prepare for the future to combat all these issues. I’m saying, that once again, the general consensus about some of these issues do not apply to me.

I am thriving in lockdown. I now have a ‘legitimate‘ reason to be at home, and work – something I have been aspiring to for years. I now feel more natural and more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have. And maybe its a mixture of all of the above, the fact that I work in a niche and can currently WFH full-time, and the fact that I am deeply introverted and shy, and the fact that I already live on a homestead so things impacting others don’t impact me. I’ve written extensively already about lifestyle ideologies relating to homesteading and self-reliance in general and so, being in lockdown, not having access to supermarkets or having to leave my property everyday is a lifestyle choice I make independent of covid, or any other socially obstructive event.

You see, I chose to have less interactions with humans. I don’t actively pursue situations that would ever put me in a scenario I couldn’t get out of. I maintain a very small, and very tightknit group of friends who already know I am deeply introverted, though I have stated multiple times I really should be printing out a business card to hand out to people that says, “is an introvert. Don’t feel awkward about prolonged silences or lack of communication”.

There is a hive mindset. The ‘everyone who isn’t an introvert‘ are the ones who are making noise about lockdowns. They’re the ones who see that the permitted reason to leave home still says you can go to the supermarket within a 10km radius AT ANY TIME, but freak out the day of lockdown announcement and go to the store to try and buy toilet paper and canned goods and then complain that there are lines hundreds of metres long. They are the people, that despite the pandemic being active for at least 18 months now, and multiple states and cities and communities being impacted by extended lockdown and stay-at-home orders over the time, still have not changed their mindset to think about longer term. It’s these people who live on a day-by-day or week-by-week basis. It’s these people who haven’t once considered that the pandemic is not over, and that the sheer uncertainty of it all should encourage them to have been thinking about being in a preparedness state of mind at this point in time.

Preparedness doesn’t mean end-of-the-world. There are people who believe this, and this is why they prepare. And that is totally fine, whatever floats your boat. But you can’t tell me that this pandemic has been going on this long, and there are people in the community who refuse to acknowledge that some planning and better organisation of their grocery stockpile is necessary by now, or, that have decided, you know what, I don’t ever want to be in a position again where I don’t have control of my safety and personal security. If this means having a years worth of toilet paper in the cupboard, great. It doesn’t make you a ‘prepper’, the one with the negative connotations to it – and like homesteading and self-reliance, you can choose how much of any particular lifestyle ideology you want to subscribe to. If that means having 3 years worth of goods canned and stored, or if it means you only have 3 months worth, the sheer fact you have considered it shows some evolution in your mindset.

The reason people are complaining about lockdown is because they are not prepared. They have lost control of their personal circumstance. And when people lose control of their personal circumstance they blame everyone but themselves. I WFH, but I prepared for this by working for years to get to this point. I am not impacted by some of the restrictions such as only leaving my house to go to the shop or wearing a mask, because I live on a farm and have no neighbours close by. I already prep my household items through grocery stockpiling, growing my own vegies, and supporting local farm co-ops by getting fruit and veg seasonally delivered to my door. But none of this happened overnight – being prepared and being in control is something my husband and I have been doing for years. When we moved to homesteading, we changed our mindset about needing to rely on society, on consumerism. We started to become more independent and the result of that independence is having systems in place to manage risk. In this instance, the risk is a global pandemic.

It doesn’t matter where you sit on any type of political spectrum. What the effects of covid has shown me is that humanity in general is out of alignment. It has nothing to do with connectedness – we live in a technologically advanced and globalised world where the instantness of digital communication means we’re on all the time. We’re now more than ever, questioning whether being on all the time is good for our mental health. And professionals say, well, we need to be connected, we are a social species. Yes, perhaps we are. But like homesteading and self-reliance and preparedness, there are arcs within the spectrum – people are realising that they don’t have to be socially appropriate all the time. They don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. We can stay at home and thrive. We can stay at home and be totally full to the brim with positive mental health. We can stay at home and actually enjoy it.

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