I say a lot about how much I value hands-on experimentation, venturing forth to experience the spirit of place wherever I can, and always trying new things. Explorer Pia is the charismatic one I like to put out into the world. But there is also Bilbo Baggins Pia, the one who really, truly wants nothing more than to have a well stocked pantry, an armchair in front of the fire, and a book. I like the comfortable, mostly controllable life I have made, with my beloved, at home. And here is the further confession…I sometimes feel reluctant to leave my comfort zone to embark upon adventures, even the ones that I have told myself and everyone else are absolutely compelling. It sounds downright un-American, doesn’t it?
This Bilbo Pia has been around for a long time, though, and I have learned a few things about her sheltered ways. The hesitation about getting out there is comprised of one part inertia, one part protectiveness, one part anticipatory reluctance and one part introvert. When I break it down like this, I can actually feel some compassion for her instead of hiding and secretly rejecting her. Inertia, that concept from physics…doesn’t it even say a body at rest tends to stay at rest? So I guess that means I have to overcome a force of nature to get up out of that armchair. That’s understandable, maybe. Then there is the protective part…when I am in my own lovely space crafted to please me in every way, it feels risky to go off and leave it. I mean, the place could start on fire while I am gone, or be burgled. Maybe I am also protective of my home life with my love, knowing that each time we set forth, change could happen to affect our cozy world. The third thing, anticipatory reluctance, may be the most annoying….Apparently, even though it’s been decades since I was eight years old, I still have to think: Maybe it won’t be that fun, or the travel will be a pain, or something bad will happen?
Finally, there is the introverted part, and I do thank God, Jung and some recent writers for elucidating a few truths about introversion. One, of course, has to do with the exploration of turning inward, which often seems richer and more vast than the outer world (not to the exclusion of the difficult and painful, though:) and ultimately highly rewarding. I have some extrovert in me, too—I can be very energized by other people and events at times—but the realization that being alone, or nearly, recharges rather than depletes me, does shed a lot of light on Bilbo Pia—that is, when she is willing to come out of the her hobbit hole for a visit and maybe a fireside chat.