No longer outdoorsy

Friday, September 24, 2021 Permalink

Once upon a time I was an outdoorsy kinda person. As a kid I played in the yard with my brother and my friends. Growing up in a regional town I ran (and rode) around the streets after school and on weekends. My father in particular was a keen athlete so from a young age he had my brother and I in the yard hitting cricket or tennis balls high into the air for us to catch.

But at some point in the last 20 to 30 years I’ve become an indoors kinda-gal. It’s something I’ve been conscious of for a while but it really hit home earlier this week as I had someone coming by to give me a quote to get some trees trimmed and some weeds* sorted.

It would – of course – have made sense to take him into the back yard to show him the palm trees needing lopping and around the side of the house to show him the weeds. But no.

‘I don’t really go outside,’ I said on his arrival and walked him through my house so he could look at the back garden from my verandah and side steps from a small patio.

outdoors and indoors people

There are more timber stairs under those weeds at the top.

I’m not a gardener and certainly didn’t grow up in a gardening-loving family so it’s no surprise I have no desire to while away days digging in the dirt or watering stuff.

But it struck me that my resistance to going out into my yard has moved beyond the I don’t wanna get dirty or prickles or come across snakes stage and is now an aversion of sorts. I’m exactly the same at my mother’s. She uses her clothesline (unlike me) and I will do everything I can when staying there to avoid having to go and hang clothes out, instead putting things in the dryer or overcrowding her small carport clothesline with laundry.

I currently have a lovely back deck but only use it when I have visitors. Similarly, in my previous apartment RIGHT ON THE BEACH, I only used the verandah when someone else was there.

I lived in two different places in Brisbane before that – one with a nice outside patio area and the other with a nice deck and, despite putting a daybed on the deck, I only ever went out there when I ‘made’ myself – if I was having a drink on a weekend or (again) if I had visitors.

It’s not like I’m agoraphobic but I’m trying to remember when I became such an indoors person. I’ve searched my mind for previous places and my dwelling habits and cannot remember using an outdoor space since I left university (and residential college) and started living in houses and apartments.

Is it normal I wonder? Do distinct outdoors and indoors people exist or are most people both? And can you move between the two?

Either way, spending my days on the inside looking out is kinda weird. Even for me.

* Huge understatement as the weeds have taken over a set of never-used steps that lead to my never-used clothesline.

  • Juliana
    September 24, 2021

    I believe both types of people can exist in this world.
    More in recent times with Covid lockdowns, people have developed new habits and new adventures to be done indoors and places where they have no yards no back porch or front porch this has become more apparent during the Covid era.
    When I was working full time before my injuries, I was an indoors person because I had no time to do anything else except eat, sleep, work repeat. But now, since on WorkCover, I have been more outdoorsy than ever well, since my younger years. I find the tranquility of doing gardening and looking at my garden and listening to the birds in the morning and afternoon, watering my garden very satisfying.

    • Debbish
      September 24, 2021

      A few people I follow on social media have talked about the fact they’ve actually headed outside for their daily hour or two of exercise in NSW & Vic when previously they were indoors people.

      I think I was the same when I worked full-time. All I wanted to do when not working was not see people / have to be nice and relax but that’s not really excuse for me now. It’s good you’re enjoying your garden!

  • Vanessa
    September 24, 2021

    We rented with the aim of fencing and yard for Vala, but obviously that’s not a variable anymore. I’d like a deck off the back of our house where the ocean breeze comes in. I don’t use the yard much itself though. Nowhere to sit/be/I’m got a low tolerance for discomfort.

    • Debbish
      September 24, 2021

      I’m not sure what I’d do in my yard other than garden. If you have kids you’d probably have to play with them out there – ride bikes and the like.

      In 1995-96 I lived in an apartment building in Africa. Before that I’d lived in a low-blocked duplex in Australia and I remember (living in the high-rise) thinking that I never wanted to live ‘on the ground’ level again. It felt like I’d be overlooked and lack privacy and security (which was an issue in Mozambique). I’m not sure if that was a turning point for me as (aside from Cambodia) my next place in Canberra had a verandah overlooking other units but I never ever opened the heavy curtains or went out there. Perhaps that was the beginning of the end.

  • Susanne
    September 24, 2021

    This is so interesting! I couldn’t imagine not wanting to go out. Being out and enjoy nature is a must for my well-being, and I love creating beautiful spaces in the garden, and be out there to enjoy them, or to enjoy some of the lovely surroundings here (plenty of beaches etc).
    What you said about living at ground level (in a comment reply above) makes sense though. I’d never want to live at ground level.
    I guess the most important thing is that you enjoy your indoor space and that the aversion to going out doesn’t create problems.

    • Debbish
      September 25, 2021

      Yes, I think that’s it Susanne. I’m okay with being more indoors-y. Until now I’ve always lived in apartments so not really had a yard or outside space (other than verandahs). I’m very precious about my ‘home’ or inside space and I guess that’s why.

      I do wish I could force myself out on more walks though….

  • Jo
    September 27, 2021

    I’ve always loved fresh air, but since moving here I’m outside a lot more and use my clothesline all the time whereas in Sydney it all seemed so hard. I also love my garden more here – even though, well, summer.

    • Debbish
      September 27, 2021

      Yes, re the clothesline thing. I had one outside in my townhouse in Brisbane but it wasn’t accessible via side exit from laundry so was just too hard. And now of course I’d have to go out into the YARD to hand clothes out and that whole side of my house creeps me out.

I'd love to hear your thoughts