I’m an introvert. Sometimes people don’t believe me when I tell them that. But it’s true. I am.
I can do the whole social thing. I can be peppy and friendly and outgoing and all that happy horseshit, but in my little heart of hearts, I am 100% introvert.
This is a thing I’ve known about myself for a lot of years, but it took me a bunch of them to figure out what being an introvert really means for me. I’ve taken most of the quizzes on the internet, and they’ve all declared my introversion without hesitation. They’ve told me I’ll always pick a night in to a night on the town, that I dislike crowds and how I need time to recharge after prolonged social contact. And sure, that’s all true. Crowds make me nervous and angry, days of socialization leave me mentally and physically exhausted and I’ll almost always pick a night around my dining table with some lady friends to a wild night out.
But it’s more than that.
For me, being an introvert means it’s really hard to convince myself to be willingly social sometimes. And while I will openly declare my abhorrence for most people, there are a handful of humans I really enjoy. So it’s not like I don’t like people or that I don’t have friends, it’s just that sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I don’t want to be out, I don’t want to be around a big group of strangers, I don’t want to be on or friendly or any such shit. I just want to sit on my couch in pajamas, curled up with one or three critters, a bowl of popcorn and a tasty beverage.
And then there’s the whole recharging and recovering thing. I’m not a fucking iPhone. I can’t be plugged in. I’m not solar-powered, I don’t come with a gas tank or a jet pack. So, how? How do I recharge? How do I recover?
It took me a long time to figure this out and mostly, I have found, it varies.
Sometimes, when I’m totally and completely done with the world and everyone in it, I hide out in bed for half a day, reading a book, drinking some tea and only leaving my bed-nest to let the dogs outside and make popcorn.
Other times, it’s running that saves me. It’s my sport of choice because it is a solo sport. I don’t have to do it with anyone else, don’t need to phone a friend or consult a schedule. I just go. And yes, I do participate in races every few months or so, but I’m still alone, even in a crowd. It’s still just me putting one foot in front of the other. I don’t have to be social at races, don’t have to talk to anyone. I can retreat into myself on a race course and just be.
Books help too. So does ignoring my phone for a few hours, snuggling the dogs, taking naps, cooking dinner for and by myself, putting together a puzzle or drinking a glass of wine on the back porch at dusk. Mostly, it’s just being alone. That’s what helps, that’s how I recharge.
The nice thing about being in my 30s is that I give fewer fucks. I can say no to weekend plans when my daily, weekly or monthly threshhold for social activity has been met or exceeded. I don’t feel guilty for staying in on a Friday night and sometimes my company is the only company I want. And it’s nice to know that about me, even if it took until now to know it.