After spending nearly all of last week comforting, cajoling, medicating, and otherwise taking care of my “boys”, the Nasty Cold/Flu of Spring 2011 has lifted and we are back in business. Back to the lovely business of routine – the morning shower, breakfast followed by work and preschool, not to mention the much anticipated and awaited (by me anyway) 2 1/2 hours of “me” time. Room to breathe and just be. Just our cat, Lola, lazily napping on the guest bed beside our computer and me as a gentle rain drizzles steadily outside our upstairs windows. The sound of birds chirping and nothing else. All is well with my family and my world. I am at peace.
Yesterday, not so much. I had a case of the crabbies from the moment I woke up and I just couldn’t seem to shake it. It was a day, weather-wise, very much like today, in fact, with the exception that all of us were home together, just the 3 of us (generally my favorite kind of day), and there was nowhere we had to be so we just hung out together at home. It was the kind of day I’d been waiting for all week and when it arrived I just couldn’t settle into it somehow. I found myself, despite feeling exhausted and headache-y, aching to do something, anything. Perhaps a week of caretaking and staying close to home had finally caught up with me, but I just couldn’t sit still. So, I just went with it, and despite the crabbies, or perhaps because of them, got all the laundry done, dishes too, and ran a few errands including a trip to the bank, post office and grocery store. All in all, a good, albeit relatively uneventful and yet somehow productive, day. I don’t really have more to say about that. I guess sometimes you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and despite your best intentions never quite get out from under it. I’ll chalk it up to cabin fever and get on with it.
As you may have gleaned from reading an entry or two of mine, I am a creature of habit and of comfort. And I find comfort and solace in my alone time. Not only do I enjoy having time to myself whenever I can get it, I crave it, dare I say like an addict craves her next hit of whatever – name your pleasure – mine is my alone time. My time, and how I choose to spend it, is precious to me. I’m sure this is in no small part a product of being an only child. About 5 to 7 years ago ago I fully discovered something about myself which probably anyone who’d met me from about the age of 6 on would have guessed without being told – I am a true introvert. And no, ironically, I’m not just proclaiming on a blog for anyone who stumbles across it that I’m shy. I am shy, as I think just about anyone who is worth getting to know beyond a casual conversation at a cocktail party or at the supermarket is, shy that is. I am an introvert which according to The American Heritage Dictionary is, ‘a person whose thoughts and interests are directed inward.’ Which is true. But it’s more than that and the following is clearly not an original thought seeing as I’ve read the gist of it somewhere at some point. An introvert is someone who taps into her energy and also restores her energy reserves by spending time alone. Not only that, but when out and about, chatting it up with friends, family, and the occasional grocery shopper, that energy is drained. As such, in order to ‘fuel back up’, she once again needs time to herself to recharge.
By definition, an extrovert is the exact opposite of what I’ve just defined as an introvert, a person who gains her energy when spending time with and around others and recharges by being in and amongst large groups of people. I spent years in awe of the extroverts also known as the popular or ‘in’ crowd in high school, the larger than life go-getters in college, and the lives of the party who worked 12 hour days and partied all night in their 20s and managed to simultaneously always have a date, then a spouse, and comfortably support themselves well into their late 30s and early 40s. I thought to myself, if I could be more like that, I’d have it made. And yet, while coveting that social ease and popularity, I also had a disdain for it. As in, Oh, look at those silly, silly less than enlightened people having fun and not even giving a thought to how foolish they look. And clearly also, not giving a thought as to how foolish I was to not join in and have a little of their “extroversion” rub off on me if only by association. It’s sort of like this. I’d enjoy going boating from time to time, but I have neither the inclination nor the funds to own a boat. Therefore it would be to my advantage to make friends with someone who does indeed own a boat and would invite me go out on it from time to time. I have yet to find that friend by the way.
Nevertheless, I digress. Today, at the age of 40, I joyfully embrace and gleefully declare that I am a true introvert. Always have been, always will be. Fortunately I have a circle of friends, most, if not all of whom, are introverts as well and thus forgive me long lapses in between phone calls and visits (as they are likely to do the same) and understand my need to have a little space in our togetherness. As I’ve gotten to know them better over the years a select few also seem to know when to reach out and give me a much needed nudge out of my head and back into our circle and I hope I’ve done so for one or more of them at some point in our 25+ years of friendship.
That said, I am also a true introvert who married into a very large family with its fair share of true extroverts and that has made for some exceptionally funny and sometimes not-so-funny, ah Hell they’re all pretty funny, exchanges. Alas, my “me” time is up and it’s time to put on my rain boots and head back to preschool. My tales of in-laws and introversion must wait until another day.