As the eldest of three, on the cusp of adolescence, I often felt the incessant demands of my younger siblings nipping at my heels and invading my personal space. Desperate for a reprieve, I sought refuge in the quiet hours of the morning, awakening at 6 am to bask in the flickering glow of our cathode-ray television while the rest of the household slept.
My favourite cartoon at this time of the morning was Ulysses 31. It was a Japanese-French cartoon drawing inspiration from Homer’s The Odyssey. Set in the 31st century, the series centres around Ulysses and his Odyssey crew as they embark on a journey through the cosmos. I loved Greek Mythology and was enthralled by Science Fiction, so this cartoon was the perfect fusion of the two.
I’d lose myself in the animated world, my heart racing with the thrill of each new adventure as Ulysses fought to save his crew. It was a secret ritual, a stolen moment alone before the rest of my family stirred.
One morning, as I eagerly pressed the power button, the television remained lifeless. I pressed the button again and again. Nothing.
“Someone must have unplugged it,” I thought as the simplest explanation..
But when I looked behind the TV, there was no plug on the end of the cable.
I then remembered that my mum, in a display of parental discipline because of a fight I had with my brother, had threatened to cut the plug off the TV— and evidently, she had followed through.
Undeterred, I grabbed a butter knife from the kitchen and unscrewed the plug’s flat head screw. I stripped back the outer black plastic with my teeth to expose the earth and neutral wires inside. I rewired the plug and returned victorious, to watch Ulysses triumph in a battle with some murderous flowers.
David and Ulysses 1: Mum and killer flowers: 0!
My cherished moments of solitude always seemed to vanish too quickly. Before I knew it, my mum would rouse, her voice gently breaking the silence as she reminded me to eat breakfast, ensure my school books were packed, and check that my uniform was neatly ironed. Occasionally, she’d also assign me morning chores, like feeding the dogs or providing the horses with a fresh net of hay.
As if on cue, my brother and sister would wake up and we’d find ourselves jostling for prime position in front of a small butane gas fire.
The competition for warmth only intensified the morning chaos, transforming the once serene room into a battleground of sibling rivalry. My quiet time had come to an abrupt end as the hustle and bustle of the day began.
My journey as an introvert began in childhood, with these treasured moments of tranquillity watching my favourite cartoon before the rest of the family woke up. In these quiet mornings I discovered the importance of personal space and an opportunity to recharge my emotional batteries.
Throughout the years, my introverted tendencies have profoundly influenced my interests, priorities, and the way I interact with the world. I find solace in activities that cater to my introversion, such as immersing myself in books, strolling through the forest during quiet hours when I’m unlikely to encounter others, engaging in solitary sports like rock climbing and kayaking, practising yoga within the comfort of my own home, and opting to enjoy my favourite metal music in private rather than attending boisterous rock concerts. These hobbies and pastimes reflect my innate preference for solitude and introspection, further reinforcing my identity as an introvert.
Embracing my introverted nature has obviously played a significant role in shaping my professional life too. Working from the tranquillity of my home lets me bypass the chaos of daily commutes, eliminating the stress of jostling with crowds on trains or getting stuck in traffic.
And the absence of office colleagues spares me from distractions such as casual chit chat or the incessant clatter of keyboards, sniffling and slurping.
In the relative quietness of my home, I can fully focus on my tasks and maximise my productivity. The synergy between my introversion and my work-from-home setup has been instrumental in fostering a harmonious and fulfilling professional experience that aligns with my innate preferences and strengths.
As I reflect on my life’s journey, from those early mornings watching Ulysses 31 in solitude to embracing my introversion in both personal and professional spheres, I am grateful for the self-awareness and perspective it has granted me. It is through acknowledging and honouring my authentic self that I can flourish and navigate life’s adventures—both those shared with others and the quiet moments I spend on my inner odyssey of self-discovery.