Learning to Wander Alone

Recently there have been a lot more discussions about introverts and extroverts. Those classifications are being used more and more to explain people’s habits or decisions. I really enjoy learning more about personality classifications because it usually ends up making me feel less crazy, less alone, and gives me a language to describe how I think and feel.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me – or has ever tried to interact with me at a party or during church meet-and-greet time—I am an introvert. For me, this means that interacting with people drains me of energy and often stress me out. Sometimes it can be pretty humorous how exhausted simple interactions make me. I’ve stressed about sending an email before merely because I don’t think I have any more umph to interact that day.

The curious part about me being introverted is that I hate being alone all day. My ideal interaction with people would be reading a book in the same room as someone: I wouldn’t be alone, but I wouldn’t have to actually talk to anyone. (Yes, Mom, I can see you rolling your eyes from here). During this season of being at home, I am trying to learn how to stay productive and focused while being at home by myself all day. One of the ways I do this is by running errands or going to coffee shops. I am learning to give myself grace and that there is nothing inherently wrong or lazy about watching TV in the middle of the day. Especially if that’s when you get your best knitting done!

All of this to say, I am learning to wander alone. I am learning to grocery shop by myself, to run errands alone, to eat lunch with a good book, and to navigate a city without my dear husband at the wheel.

Our adventure in Richmond the other day found me wandering through a beautiful art museum by myself. It was the first time I had ever been in a museum without anyone else. I went at my own pace, sat and stared at the art without worrying if I was holding somebody up, and I even talked to myself every now and again. (Some of the art I saw was so beautiful or striking that I couldn’t help but mutter things out loud).

The Virginia Museum of Fine Art was a delightful way to spend an afternoon wandering by myself. They had great outdoor spaces with chairs, tables, a sculpture garden, and it was a beautiful day:

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Inside I saw a lot of art. I think my favorite exhibits were the modern and abstract ones from the 20th century. I have always been drawn to abstract art and the 20th century is a fascinating time as well. It seems to me the artists felt so many emotions and they didn’t know what else to do other than paint. So the angry splashes of color or the dark squares or the “what would happen if I did this?” results in a striking work of art.

The other interesting exhibit at the museum was a contemporary artist named Ryan McGinness. One of the main things he did was take works of art from the museum’s collection and created symbols of them. Then he made huge canvases with these symbols entitled Art History is Not Linear:
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All in all, it was a beautiful day. After the art museum, my dear husband and I explored Richmond a bit. We found coffee shops, bookstores, thrift stores, and more bookstores. It was a fun town and I’m already planning to go back.

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