I’m an introvert. Growing up, we moved around a lot and I was really shy and quiet, so you can imagine how anxious I was for much of my childhood. I liked to be outside playing with the other kids; I enjoyed going to slumber parties. But my favorite thing to do was hang out in my room alone and read, listen to music, or draw.
For a long time, I hated that I was that way. I wanted to be outgoing; I wanted to have lots of friends and go to parties. But the older I get, the more I have accepted that I prefer a quieter life, and that’s perfectly okay.
I’m still shy and quiet, but over the years I’ve been able to develop enough social skills that I can make small talk with strangers if I have to. I can put myself out there when it’s required and not look too silly (I hope). However, I’m the most content and happy when my life is quiet. I’m perfectly content to hang out at home and read, watch Netflix, or sit in the backyard with a glass of wine with my husband and enjoy the sun and watch the dogs play in the yard.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to hanging out with people. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I like to go out to restaurants or bars, as long as the places aren’t too crowded or noisy. I love going to concerts. I love parties, as long as I know most of the people there, but I’m not a “mingler” and I can feel overwhelmed if there are too many conversations going on. My preference is a party that is small enough that we can all sit around one table.
Disclaimer: If there is music and a dance floor, the rarely seen extrovert in me will take over and not a single drop of alcohol has to be consumed. I LOVE to dance and I don’t care who is watching. Isn’t that funny?
There have been moments in my life when I’ve gone outside my comfort zone to try new things and I’ve rarely regretted it. I started running and ran in races, including the Chicago Marathon, which had over 41,000 runners. I joined a gym, but ultimately quit because um, the whole there-are-other-people-there thing. But I tried it! I’ve left jobs for new ones so that I could try new things, despite how scary those experiences can be.
In a nutshell, I’ve learned to find a balance between being content in my quiet life and putting myself out there now and then to experience new things. If I start to feel overwhelmed when things are too noisy or crowded, I don’t beat myself up and wish I was a different person. Instead, I know that I’ve had enough and escape to a quieter place. I’ve learned what my limits are and how far I can stretch those limits. I’m not weird or socially inept.
“When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible.” – Tina Lifford
Have a wonderful holiday and may your glass always be full!