Another reason for my time out for rest and recovery is that I consider myself an ambivert.
What is an ambivert? It’s a combo of an introvert who shows up at times in extroverted ways.
I love people. But I have to put very firm boundaries around the time I spend out and about.
I think there is a misconception and stereotype that introverts are always the quiet and shy among us.
Not necessarily. To me, introversion and extraversion are about energy. Being around people drains an introvert. While being around people, invigorates an extrovert. An introvert can be chatty and an extrovert can be quiet. You just never know until you ask.
One is neither better or worse than the other. They are just different ways of showing up in the world.
I love having deep conversations with interesting people. I detest small talk. I listen and observe more before I speak. I feel things deeply. I sometimes cry at sweet or sad things like the Eat N’ Park Christmas Tree commercial. Or sweet old people holding hands. I have to limit my news consumption because it bums me out too much. I have a vivid imagination that is sometimes more entertaining than what’s going on around me. Hence, my writing chops and creating fictional worlds.
It’s not easy moving through the world feeling the energy of others and things so deeply. Of preferring solitude to social gatherings at times. It’s weird to wrestle with both needing to recharge and also wanting to connect in person. But it’s how I show up for better or worse.
For me, that means finding a balance between the two. Do I want to go to that party with 50 people I don’t know very well? Yes. But I can only hang for an hour or two before I feel overwhelmed and literally need a nap.
I’ve learned the power of saying no so my yes has some oompf to it. I’ve learned what recharges me: Naps, reading a good book, going to the movies, listening to music, breathwork, and sometimes going for a drive helps. When I can’t leave a social setting, I take a bit longer in the bathroom to regroup or I step outside to get some fresh air.
What do I do when I need a people fix? Sometimes I can be out in the world without talking and just being around people is enough. I spend time writing in coffee shops. I go to the gym or out to dinner. I call up a good friend I know who will be game for a deep conversation. And yes, sometimes I push myself into social situations that take me a bit outside of my comfort zone just for the hell of it.
I’m okay with all of this. It’s just who I am. But sometimes other people get frustrated. “Wait, you’re leaving now? It’s so early!” Or “You think too much.” Welp, all I ask is for a little compassion. Don’t take my early exit personally. And my thinking, my being cerebral? It is a gift. Go ahead, ask me to have a brainstorming idea session. See what I can do and how I can help you shift your perspective for a minute. Let me teach you how to listen and observe. My creativity and imagination know no bounds, and just because I’m not always the first one to speak up or don’t want to be the life of the party, doesn’t mean I don’t have something to say or that I’m not a fun gal.
So here’s to the introverts and ambiverts out there. Don’t underestimate our strengths and what we bring to the table and give us some space and time to take a goddamn nap every once in a while ;)
“We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in the world. One child is given a lightsaber, another a wizard's education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you've been granted. Introverts are offered keys to private gardens full of riches. To possess such a key is to tumble like Alice down her rabbit hole. She didn't choose to go to Wonderland -- but she made of it an adventure that was fresh and fantastic and very much her own.”― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Have a zig zag kind of a week. Until we meet again.