A common ice breaker question is, “What is your idea of a perfect day?” When most people answer this question, their day is jampacked with activities and friends. While I do think most of what they tend to describe would be fun, it doesn’t really sound perfect to me. In truth, it sounds pretty overwhelming.
Doable, maybe, but definitely overwhelming.
About a year ago, I was reading C.S. Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy, and for the first time, someone described their perfect day and it made me pause, then think, That does sound perfect! Lewis’ perfect day would follow this schedule:
8:00am exactly: Breakfast
9:00am-1:00pm: Write/Read at desk (with a 10-minute break at 11:00am for tea or coffee)
1:00pm precisely: Lunch
2:00pm: Walk in solitude
No later than 4:15pm: Tea in solitude with a “gossipy, formless book which can be opened anywhere”
5:00pm-7:00pm: Write/Read at desk again
7:00pm: Evening Meal
After evening meal: talk or lighter reading
No later than 11:00pm: In bed
At first, I didn’t think much of this schedule besides that I wish, as Lewis did, this could be my schedule every day. Then, after I had read it a few times, it suddenly struck me: C.S. Lewis was an introvert. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. Perhaps it’s because he strikes me as a more outgoing person in his writing. He was an amazing lecturer with a big, booming voice; he gave talks on the radio about Christianity during World War II; he responded to every letter he ever received; and he was an extremely well known author and seemed to handle that fame well. All of these things would be terrifying to me as an introvert, so it just seemed like he would be an extrovert.
But when Lewis described his perfect day, he included pretty much no human interaction. And when he left a spot for talking to people, he included an alternative, just in case. If that wasn’t enough to show that he was an introvert, he was very adamant about walking in solitude, not with a friend. He said that the noise of talking “blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned.” Lewis appreciated solitude and taking in the beauty and silence of creation. If he did have a friend with him, it would be a friend who wouldn’t talk and was so much like him in his ideal for a walk that “a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, [was] enough to assure [them] that the pleasure [was] shared.”
Lewis enjoyed being by himself. He still liked being around his friends and liked talking to people, but in his ideal day, he would spend more time alone than in conversation. His perfect day—full of reading, writing, and solitude—is the perfect introverted day.
Think about it. What would your perfect day actually look like? Don’t just say what you think other people would agree with, but what would be perfect for you. Share your thoughts in the comments!