Colm Toibin:

“Solitude is good in the evening,” he says. “Dublin is a quiet city when you get to a certain age, when your friends settle down and have kids. Nothing much happens here. There are few book launches and if you don’t have a pub where you go to, which I don’t, then it can be quiet. If I scream no one would hear me.”

I told my wife last night that I don’t know what’s happening to me. I used to be the kind of guy who was up for anything, who sought the stimulation of other people’s company, of the busy world. Now I find nothing makes me happier than being quiet and at home, with a book. I don’t say that in a sentimental way. I really mean it. I used to be the sort of person who would go to parties and draw energy from them. Now they exhaust me. I don’t know why this is. I imagine people think of me as anti-social sometimes, but really, it’s nothing personal. I can imagine myself becoming a recluse, against my own convictions. Is it a middle-aged thing, this tide toward withdrawal and contemplation?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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