Tearing Down The Walls


Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.  ~Joseph F. Newton 


Today is my day for posting at Vision and Verb.  I have been contemplating what I am learning as I walk this new path of retirement.  Here is a small excerpt of today’s post….


With retirement comes major changes in one’s life.  I anticipated many.  The extra time on my hands with no schedule.  Less money to pay for expenses.  And dealing with finding and paying for my own health insurance.  What I did not foresee was the isolation.  I should have figured this would be the case, but I am an introvert and we crave isolation over crowds and hours of human contact engaged in small talk.

For over 30 years, I lived in the realm of the extrovert during work hours, and sought refuge from it all when home.  After all being “on”, at work, for 8-10 hours a day, five days a week was exhausting.  My family lives out of town virtually unreachable without a costly plane ride or a long drive.  Friends outside of work are few, the hallmark of an introvert.

Neighbors were neglected as work wore on me, and left very little time or want for being with “more” people.  So I had built a slick little world with a few friends, co-workers and family all kept at arms length making my world insulated and safe with enough human contact to last a lifetime…or so I thought.

As winter has hung on, my retirement has been spent in the cocoon of my home.  I long for my wildlife garden as it brings me hours of pleasure, a refuge for the critters and me.  But with the no garden, few critters and “cabin fever” hitting me suddenly, I found myself craving time with people.  Wow, what was this!


I hope you will pop over to Vision and Verb to read more about what this introvert has discovered about herself….



Next up on the blog:  Monday I will have a post about Indicators From My Garden that show the coming seasonal  changes.  Thursday I will be profiling the tree I am following this year.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post on April 1st.

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.  I hope you enjoy my latest post.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.





48 Replies to “Tearing Down The Walls”

  1. I am going to share your story with my boys. They are doing a writing assignment about The door in the wall and your story is a perfect example. I think it is wonderful that you found the courage and strength to build new relationships!

    1. Oh Karin what joy your comment gave me…to still be teaching through my story brings me bliss. I love your assignment. Love to see what your boys write if they want to share it. Thank you my friend for making my day wonderful!!!

  2. Oh Donna, we are much alike and I learn from you! I would say take a class but you retired from teaching? Ha. I find I do well when I am learning something I have always wanted to – and meet people with some things in common right off the bat. I see the weather here is supposed to be 54!!! Monday and Tuesday – just a few more days … lovely post. I know you will adjust and love retirement. My parents are both retired and are busier now than they ever were working and raising kids! Can’t wait to see your Spring garden!

    1. I had a feeling we were alike Kathy. I have been thinking about a class. I think maybe this fall. I would like to take an art class. And what a treat the weather warming to the 40s with a 50 thrown in for good measure….MELT!!!!

      Once the ground warms there is no stopping the garden……

  3. I understand that surprising desire for human contact very well. I’m an introvert too, but sometimes I just want to talk to and be with people who have something (usually gardening) in common with me.

    1. How nice Alison and I would love that opportunity to connect with others about gardening… but there are not many among my neighbors and friends who garden. So I am currently meeting them on their turf a bit at a time. I might try and seek out a gardening group.

  4. Have just returned from reading the rest. It’s part of being human, I reckon. We need people just as cows need grass. It’s the who and the how and the how often which need managing – like any food.

  5. your post made me smile Donna, I am introverted too, I remember when I was working and sharing a house with 3 noise teenage children I use to dream of a home to myself, you do share you home, so not quite as alone as those of us you live alone,
    the way of communicating by email now you don’t get the telephone conversations, I think joining an art class or something complimentary to your gardening is a good idea, as it will add a bit of variety, the art club I go to on Mondays, about half the people who go, go for a good chat as much as the art, I do, my Dad found when he worked in their tiny front garden people often used to stop and chat, he made some new friends this way,
    with the wet weather from August to April in recent years (like your snow) I suffered cabin fever and just got the bus to town on a few occasions to get out!
    it’s early days yet, takes time to settle and your cold temps don’t help, once you can get in the garden it will all change, Frances

  6. Oh Frances thank you for your generous comment. I can’t wait for gardening time once the snow melts. And getting into a class will help tremendously too. Friends, neighbors and family are important to us especially since we have no children. I look forward to new friendships.

  7. Very interesting post Donna. I call the extroverts “people persons” and I am not one of them. My husband can’t believe how I can amuse myself for hours with blogging, reading and gardening when the weather’s right. My fix for contact comes from the garden club meetings, church and seminars I attend.
    Joining a club or taking a class will likely give you the personal contact you need, but don’t you find blogging a great outlet for making friends?

    1. I can amuse myself the same way Judith…and yes blogging is my biggest outlet and why I am trying to blog more. The friendships developed are very special. Thanks for joining in Judith!

  8. I’m an introvert, too, Donna. It’s actually hard to find lasting, loyal friendships. Or maybe I’m looking for perfection, I don’t know. Glad you’re craving to be more connected to people. I’d be interested to hear your new discoveries 🙂

    1. I know what you mean Loredana….I think for introverts we crave deeper friendships. I will keep updating monthly how things are going and what I am discovering.

      1. That’s a good point, Donna. We do crave deeper friendships. I read the rest of your article and was glad to hear you enjoyed your neighbor’s party 🙂

        1. Thanks Loredana. I even went to another neighbor’s house for a birthday party. I have great neighbors who are not too pushy which helps.

  9. Oh, I had a horrible case of cabin fever this winter! I think we’ve talked about how most people (including me) are actually ambiverts–we need equal parts of people time and alone time. When I was working full-time in an office, I craved more alone time. And now that I’m a telecommuting freelancer, I crave more people time. I think you’ll find that the warmer months are easier–when you can come and go as much as you want, or stay home and enjoy your beautiful garden! Cheers!

    1. I agree Beth especially when your job takes you into the world of business or education. With mine, I had to be in 9 buildings interacting with hundreds of teachers and thousands of students. I had to learn to navigate easily and I did but it was exhausting. I think once we get this blessed snow melted we will be fine. I expect we will see it gone by April 1 as the forecast says a bit warmer weather coming although it is still chilly here just about 40 making it a slow melt. Raining right now. I look forward to balancing some wonderful time in the garden and with people. Thanks Beth for chiming in on this post!!

  10. I really enjoyed this post, Donna. You have a very nice way of wording your feelings and experiences. I know that meaningful friendships are very important, and I have some wonderful, close friends. I find I am more comfortable in small group settings where I can really chat with someone or a few people on a personal level.

    1. Thank you Sue. I prefer the small groups as well which I miss. But getting back in touch has been great and friends have been wonderful.

  11. Donna,

    Your post today brought not only a smile to my face, but made me realize that I am not alone in how retirement has changed my friendships. I have caught myself recently staring out the window at the garden here in Maine and seeing the slowly receding snow. It reminds me of the tide, each time the wave stops on the sand it etches a line. Patience will bring a great reward when we all will be able to feel the warm dark earth in our hands.

    1. Oh how I long for that time Paula…I need to be in my garden. And it is good to know others in retirement are experiencing similar things…thank you so much for leaving this wonderful comment.

  12. Donna I assumed by the title that your post ws going to be about gardening with reference beyond the boundaries of the plot.
    Some of us are roses and others violets, blooming sweetly in the shade but we all love human warmth. I resonated with you as an introvert and sensed the courage it took to do the social thing. You may yet retire into outward going introvert!

  13. Oh Laura I hope my deception was not a disappointment. I love your analogy of roses and violets….and the thought of an outward introvert!! As always I adore your visits and words…

  14. Hi Donna! Sorry I haven’t been to vocal lately and I missed that you officially started retirement. That is a big change and milestone in one’s life. I know you have been looking forward to it for a long time, but maybe you associated retirement entirely with more garden time and that hasn’t happened just yet due to long winter. I bet when the garden wakes up you will LOVE retirement and the new found time on your hands! I think it is great you are reconnecting with friends and neighbors too, cause gardening is so much fun to share with other people, even if they are not gardeners, it’s fun to invite them into your world once in awhile. After all, friends are usually interested in seeing a bit of what drives you passionately. Congrats on retirement and making adjustments to enjoy it!

    1. Andrea how wonderful to have you visit. Life just sweeps us away but being able to return is a delight. Yes, I am feeling quite confined because we still have so much snow. I am “itching” to get out in the garden soon. Thank you for your congratulations. Once the garden starts thriving again, I will be too busy for much else and I welcome that.

  15. I wish you well in retirement and hope you find yourself getting out into the world. I find winter invigorating with much wildlife, even more than in summer because it is easier to find and more approachable than when breeding and nesting season rolls around. I hope you find the contentment. Maybe I will meet you one day. Don’t be a stranger.

    1. I promise not to be a stranger…we will meet Donna…I am finding that winter is a beautiful season when you take the time to observe it. Thank you Donna!!

  16. Sometimes knowing that others look at life the same way that you do is a tremendous encouragement. Four hours at the farmers market talking about native plants (that I love) zaps all the life out of me, four hours running alone on our beautiful trails (of course tires me) but in some odd miraculous way revitalizes me. Thank you Donna for having the courage to write what is on your heart!

    1. So glad you stopped by Beth and let me know what this means to you! I think we draw our strength from others and what they are dealing with in their lives….so your comment helps me know I am not alone either!! Thank you dear Beth.

  17. I went and read your others posts and I must say that I have been wondering about this myself and you made me think that perhaps I should write about it…but I may be an extrovert in a low energy body making me more of a loner…but I value friendships of quality not quantity….

    1. Some folks are a mix of both Michelle. I also value the quality over quantity. My husband is an extrovert. He must have lots of social time whether on the phone every day or in person and is always attending neighbors’ events. I do not crave this and prefer the solitude.

  18. I love it, as an introvert myself, still being in the world of “extroverts” on a daily basis, it’s quite an interesting to see that we humans are changing all the time. With the better weather about to come, i am sure you will satisfy your craving for company. Enjoy your week-end 🙂

    1. Anyes, I agree it is interesting to watch people interact in the extrovert world. I know I have shifted during my lifetime so far, but I lean heavily to the introvert side always. And I know once I can smell that sweet warm spring air I will feel like I am in heaven in my garden.

  19. What a crowd of introverts, me included. I had a very public job and was usually exhausted by the end of the day. Semi retirement (I work from home) and moving to a new location, where I knew only two people, has not been as challenging as I thought. Garden club has saved me, I’m sure. Such nice people, a well run club, nurturing with the tea and cookies. I’ve learnt to not worry about being quiet, even silent, I can be in the moment, enjoy and ponder on what others have to offer and still be part of the whole. I hope you can find something similar. I tried out a few other things but they were a strain so I dumped them without a moment’s regret. Be true to thine own self as the saying goes.

    1. I am hoping to find a group such as a garden club Susan. I do enjoy my alone time and crave it more times than not, but I need to reach out a bit too. Once the garden has dried out and I am busy there I will be ecstatically happy. We are melting now, but flooded as it is raining buckets.

  20. Donna: You’ve really described me in a nutshell: the introverted educator, exhausted by a career of extreme extroversion (in my case intensified because my children are still young so it is very difficult for me to decompress at home). I so very appreciate the honesty of this post, and the incisiveness of your self-analysis. Rewriting yourself is a challenge. I have no doubt that you are up to the task!

    1. Oh I do feel for you not finding enough time to decompress Christienne….do you find that refuge you need in your garden? With spring really finally here, I know soon I will be have some quality alone time. I do enough making myself over as I learn and grow. And i am glad that my story has helped and touched many!!

  21. I think a lot of gardeners and writers are introverts, as these tend to be solitary activities. I was very shy as a child, but becoming a nurse forced me to think of others besides myself, and then after teaching childbirth classes for a few years I discovered I could talk about most anything with anybody. I still am naturally shy, but I find it easy to overcome. We all need a network of friends; I think this is especially true as we grow older.

    1. I agree Deborah and your words are very wise…I found as an educator I had to come out of my shell. But I will slip back without that network.

  22. It would appear that garden bloggers are a mostly introverted bunch, myself included. I certainly hope that you find the right balance of social time and alone time, and that you really enjoy your retirement. (I’d like to try it myself.) Love the bluebird pictures.

    1. I learn so much blogging Jason and this was one I did not anticipate…so many introverts. Many things shift as you retire…it is just recognizing and adjusting much like in our gardens. You would love retirement I would bet. Glad you like the bluebirds. They are the main attraction in the garden these days.

  23. Is that a blue bird? I saw one the other day, and was very surprised to see it because I’ve heard they only hang out on farms. It’s gorgeous.

    Maybe the time right after retirement is one of finding balance, people, solitude, people, time with ones self. I think if anyone can do it, you will.


    1. Yes Jen that is our Eastern bluebird. I have several in my garden as I have an open meadow area that they love. I think it is a time to rethink your habits, your schedule, and to balance yourself with all the new things happening. Thx for the vote of confidence.

  24. What pretty photographs of your bluebird Donna. I’m an introvert also so I can truly relate with this post. Beautifully written 🙂

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