I am married to my best friend and we've been together 16 years. I'm friendly to others, I'm a musician who has performed in front of crowds..so am I not a recluse? Ah, but indeed I am...here are just some examples:
CHILDHOOD - Even as a little girl in elementary school, I would go off by myself at recess and work on music. I had many friends, however, because it wasn't a negative trait. Other school children knew I was friendly and funny - but that I had to have time alone and not engage in the typical play games. Today they tell me they aren't surprised that I'm a musician and have disconnected from conventional life by way of living in my rv. They knew I preferred to have time alone so they were intrigued and accepted me for who I was.
BUT I'M MARRIED - This lone wolf found a mate, and that's okay in my definition of recluse. My first marriage failed...but my current husband understands me and feels very similar to the way I do. He also knows that I am a lone wolf by nature and I need time alone to recharge sometimes, he helps settle me during times I am forced into participating in social gatherings that create unease and tension, he is content spending most of his time with just me, in quieter surroundings in our camper.
YOU'RE A MUSICIAN? - I love playing and performing music. The difference is that when I am up on the stage I have all of the privacy in the world. I'm not afraid of people, I just don't know how to interact with most people in an unfamiliar social setting. During break time, while my husband tends to "the crowd" I can usually be found slinking off on my own to once again recharge and stay in my comfort zone.
STILL SEARCHING FOR SOLITUDE - Some may think that leaving conventional life and getting an rv is the true example of solitude - but it isn't. There are still rv parks with neighbors everywhere you look. The only time I feel truly at peace is when we take the 4WD off the beaten path in the mountains of Glacier National Park (our main home base for the rv) where there isn't a soul around. We are working toward buying an additional truck camper so I can get my "fix" in the back country whenever I want - sleeping under the stars with no noise, distraction or hint of modern times to be found.
AVOID COMPANY OF OTHERS - Avoiding the company of others doesn't mean that I don't like people. I think most people would say I am actually quite friendly. But you have to understand that when you feel you don't fit in (not in a negative way, just don't share much in common with others) and you feel energized and alive in your solitude, then social gatherings are incredibly difficult and not something to look forward to. For the record, if I won a cruise I would give it away - that would not be a vacation to me, it would be hell.
THE REACTION TO INVASION OF SPACE - Whether it is another rv pulling up in the site next to me, an unexpected and unannounced knock at the door or a phone call/text when I'm busy (which will go unanswered until I'm ready/free to respond), forced socialization or invasion of space is something that kills my spirit. I will be friendly or polite always, but inside I am taking a beating. I am happiest where there is no noise, no people, no cell signal...and that is what has drawn me to the mountains since I was a little girl.
If I'd never met my amazing husband, I have little doubt I would be even more reclusive. We compliment each other and compromise our lifestyles, so if the noise ever gets too strong we just turn on our stereo, close the door, dance or play a game and shut the rest of the world out for awhile.