There are a lot of things I struggle with. Making friends, for example. Confronting jerks, avoiding celery, deciding if listening to an audiobook counts as reading or not. These are my crosses to bear. But the most difficult thing for me to do in the whole, entire world — a world full of potential friends and jerks, celery and audiobooks — is to leave the house.
If I was the independently wealthy sort, I would never, ever, ever leave my home. Well. I might occasionally venture out to my garden to glare at the plants that refuse to grow, but other than that, you would never see me out there. Yes, if I had my way I would be a hermit.
Hear me out! This is not like that time I was going to join a cult. I’ve really thought this one through.
Pros of Becoming a Recluse
- The internet makes it really easy to be a hermit. When St. Simeon of Trier did it in the 11th century, he had to live in a cave and rely on a very tired monk to bring him food every day. Now you can just push a button and all kinds of stuff is delivered right to your front step. Sorry, Simeon.
- You’d be able to focus better on goals and projects because you’d be spending less time and energy navigating society.
- There are far fewer opportunities to sunburn when you’re inside all the time.
- When you don’t want to talk to people, no one’s like, “Ugh, what a snob.” Instead they whisper, “Poor thing” to each other with meaningful looks and leave you alone.
- You’d have fewer stupid conversations. Except maybe with yourself.
See? Being a recluse sounds great. A lot of famous, totally normal people were reclusive, you know.
- Emily Brontë, who was apparently once bitten by a rabid dog and burned the injury off on her own instead of talking to anyone about it.
- Emily Dickinson, who only wore white and spoke to all visitors through a door for at least 15 years.
- Greta Garbo, who would only act if she was behind black screens so the crew couldn’t watch her.
- Harper Lee, who has taken a page from Boo Radley’s book (er, her own book, I guess) and won’t talk to anyone.
- Howard Hughes, who sat in a dark room for four months, rearranging Kleenex boxes and peeing in bottles.
…That list did not go as well as I wanted. Fine. There are some drawbacks to being a recluse.
Cons of Being a Recluse
- I bet you forget how to fit in with other people. Which probably makes you feel weird and alienated and sad.
- If you ever decide to rejoin society, you run the risk of being surprised by every single new thing you see. And if you were inside long enough, everything will be new.
- Knights on quests are always coming by to ask hermits for advice. Hello, knights? Don’t you get it? THEY’RE HERMITS. THEY DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU OR ANYONE.
- Everyone worries about you and tries to fix you. Your friends may physically drag you from your home to do “fun” things. Unhelpful family members may suggest hobbies aimed at getting you out of the house, like hiking or playing sports, two areas in which you have shown neither interest nor ability.
- If you’re going to be a full-on hermit hermit, I think you need to wear a beard. I’ve heard they’re itchy.
I’m 25. Maybe that’s a little early to decide whether or not to eschew humanity. It’s probably a good idea to give it a few more years while I build up my hermit savings. Maybe while I’m waiting I’ll see something so cool that I won’t want to spend the next few decades hiding from people in my dark house with the shades down.
Maybe. But I doubt it.