I love my friends. Don’t get me wrong there. Without them I would be less than who I am. They keep me company, keep me grounded, tell me the sometimes-hard-to-hear truth, comfort me, support me, lift me up, and encourage me. I love there individuality and their presence – I embrace the mark they’ve left on me. I can only hope I’ve done the same and acted that same way for them.
I am utterly exhausted. I am burning both ends of the wire. I have too many cooks in the kitchen. I am wearing myself to thin. I am burnt out. I am in introvert.
Now, there’s a common misconception about introverts that I would like to start by stating as false. Highly, grossly, completely 100% untrue.
Introverts are shy. Wrong. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Just the same, shy people are not necessarily introverts.
For lack of a better example, I will use the following: I am much like a cellphone. The more you use me, the lower my battery runs. Unlike energizer batteries, I am reusable after a (sometimes not so) brief re-charge. I can go and go and go, until there is no battery power left. Once my battery is dead, I no longer work “correctly” or “usefully”. However, I do not recharge quite as simply as being plugged into a wall outlet. Instead, I must be plugged into myself. My recharge comes from alone time. Quiet time. Ahhh it even sounds relaxing.
I do not dislike going out. I dislike going out repetively. I do not dislike parties or the like, I dislike long, crowded parties, night after night. I do not necessarily perfer to be a hermit, but let’s be real….sometimes I need to be. I am not stuck up, snobby, or think that I am above those who wish to be in my presence. Quite the opposite. I actually just know what I need to do to take care of myself. In order for me to have any hope of enjoying the times that I do go out, I need to make sure that my battery is fully charged.
No. I am not shy. I just know what I need and what I like.
This week has DRAGGED by. I have done something every single day. Sunday I had a movie night with my bestie and skyped a friendMonday I went out with a friend, had a doctors appointment, and taught lessons. Tuesday I drove 8 hours to DC, had a violin lesson, then went out for ice cream. Wednesday I had THREE doctors apointments (kill me now), went out to dinner with my girls and then had a little gno at my place. Thursday (today) I went out for breakfast with 2 of my friends and am teaching lessons. Relief. Friday is blank at this point in time. I have not regretted doing a single one of these activities…especially because everyone is going back to school soon and I won’t get to see some of my friends for awhile.
But at this point, I know I took on a little too much because my body is feeling so weak. I’m exhausted, dizzy, and no amount of coffee seems to pick me up. (yeah let’s not tell my medical team about the coffee :p shhh) Not only am I personally being affected, but so is everyone around me. I’m grumpy and short with my parents, tired when hanging out with my friends, I haven’t practiced since before my lesson on Tuesday, I haven’t been giving my pups adequate attention, I haven’t been sleeping like I should be, and the list goes on. The thing is, some people would thrive on that type of schedule. Some people get re-fueled or re-charged by being with their friends. Some people thrive on being social and that is how they relax. Not one way is necessarily better than the other, (although sometimes I really wish I thrived on socialization since that’s also such an important aspect of music) but either one needs to be made note of and nurtured.
Everyone is different, it’s all about what works for you, the individual.
Me? I thrive on:
-music (uninterrupted practicing, particularly)
-church (I get recharged every Sunday morning)
-listening to music
-time with my dogs
-drawing and art
-sleep (I am a disastrous wretch without enough sleep – just ask my parents)
-walking, running, hiking
-(basically anything artsy/creative)
All of this is what I refer to as my “soul food”. Everyone’s soul needs to be fed differently and not two people would ever have the exact same list. I think part of the adventure is making your own list – figuring out what works best for you. It takes a lot of trail and error to get it just right, and of course nothing is permanent…it may change at any time in your life.
My point with this whole ramble is this: I have not done a decent job taking care of myself this week. I have let myself get physically exhausted to the point of practically not functioning. But even more importantly, I have not taken the time I need and deserve, to feed my soul. So, now I will probably pay the price which means…I’m behind in my practicing, I work piling up around me for school and the like, and to top all that off…I’m at the point where I’m so overwhelmed by all of it, that I’m doing absolutely nothing. I need to take “a day of rest” which is why my plan for tomorrow is to sleep in and then stay in my pj’s all day, practice a LOT, and start chipping away at the list full of things I have to get done before I start classes on Wednesday. I owe it to myself, and my soul, to show some love and embrace my being an introvert.
I think a good way of saying it is a way my friends and I discussed over breakfast this morning: I am like a little puppy. I have burst of energy. I will greet everyone with a waggly tail and a kiss (aka: a smile and a hug) and I’m always up for a game of fetch (time with friends and family) but I also need that mid day nap and I sleep a lot at night as well (the equivalent of my soul food). I love to observe the world around me, just like a curious puppy. I make friends easily and like to socialize in small spurts. But at the end of the day, I’m exhausted and need to allow myself to recharge.
I don’t know if that made any sense. But tomorrow will definitely be a sleep in/pajama/practice violin day because that’s what my soul has been needing and I owe it to myself to feed my soul.
You should feed your soul too…whether that means living it up with friends, or making it an early evening at home – do what you need to do to thrive!
“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.”
― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking