My introversion kicked in today at work . . . I had had enough. It was time to drop out. I have been working non-stop for the past four weeks at both of my jobs . . . every single day for the past month . . . and, unfortunately, I still have another two weeks to go before I might get a whole day in which I am not doing one of my two jobs. Both my jobs involve interacting and being present to PEOPLE. People drain introverts . . . and, around 11:00AM this morning, I had had enough. My body started to shut down. My mind was becoming muddled and muddied. I was tired . . . worn out . . . at the end of my rope. So, I took the afternoon off . . . a small reprieve before finishing this marathon of extraversion that started a month ago and will end in another two weeks.
I realize that most of you who are extraverts won’t understand this, but that is one of the major differences between extraverts and introverts. Extraverts are energized by people . . . introverts are drained. It is not that we introverts dislike people, it is that we just prefer and need our alone time. That is where we introverts get our energy . . . that is where we find our groove . . . that is where we find what we really love doing. It is just the way we are wired. Unfortunately, it has been a long, long time since I have had my “alone” time.
I was reminded of this in an article that appeared in the “lifestyle” section of MSN.com talking about 22 Fun Activities for Introverts. I’m kind of a sucker when it comes to articles about introversion . . . especially when it is something that might be helpful; so, I read the article. True to its title the article (by an introvert I am assuming) listed 22 activities that introverts would probably enjoy. Of the 22 activities, I am solidly embedded into six of them: photography; writing; solitary outdoor activities (hiking, bird watching, etc.); reading; traveling alone; and, when I was more physically active—running. These are six things that I enjoy doing alone . . . doing by myself. Of the 22 suggested activities, I am involved in approximately 25 percent of them. The others I had a little more difficulty with.
Now, keep in mind, these are activities to be done alone . . . by one’s self. The 16 activities I do not do:
- · --Listening to podcasts. I have listened to podcasts, but I have not made it a regular part of my “alone” . . . probably because I feel as if they are a lot like a telephone call or a one-sided conversation. I have a good friend in Michigan who loves podcasts and is a BIG introvert.
- · Get artsy . . . draw, paint, and so forth. The wife got all the artistic skills in the family . . . I mainly draw conclusions and paint myself into corners. Not much “artsy” in my bones or DNA.
- · Learn to play a musical instrument . . . if it is not the “play” button to my Zune, it ain’t going to happen. I have attempted to learn musical instruments in the past, but I have no sense of rhythm and a person has to have rhythm to play an instrument. I admire those who can play instruments.
- · Cook or bake . . . I can do both . . . fairly well; but, cooking and baking is not something I find relaxing or entertaining . . . it is something I do out of necessity and survival. If something happened to the wife, I will continue to exist on something more than cereal.
- · Create a YouTube channel . . . actually I have one. I created it when I needed a place to place a few Carol King videos I recorded in Missoula in order to put them on my Facebook page. This one intrigues me, and I have often contemplated actually doing this or podcasts . . . but, that is what we introverts do . . . we contemplate these things for a long, long time before jumping in with two feet.
- · Puzzles . . . do puzzles the writer suggested. I am lousy at puzzles. I remember the day I was really proud of myself when I finally completed a puzzle in about six months. I was beside myself with pride at my accomplishment. When the wife asked me what I was so happy about, I explained that I had finished the puzzle in less than six months . . . the box said three to six years. She let me down softly.
- · Take an online class. Not the way that I like to learn.
- · Learn to knit . . . as long as there are stores where I can buy my clothes, I will never ever learn to knit . . . I’d probably poke my eye out with one of those needles.
- · Play games . . . primarily video games. Nope. Not happening. Not happening because I believe that if humans created the game, then humans should be able to kick the game's butt. I got tired of getting my butt kicked. The only game I play—by myself—is solitaire on the computer when I get really, really bored. I have play it 1,365 times . . . I have won four percent of the time . . . this is why I do not play games. I am a poor loser when I am playing by myself.
- · Garden . . . ha! This has always been a “family” activity that becomes a “John” activity . . . I do the weeding, I do the cleaning . . . I do it all. It is not pleasing . . . it is work.
- · Watch movies . . . I used to do this, but just haven’t been motivated to do it even though I probably have over 2,000 movies sitting in the closet from those years I spent the weekends away from the family with no cable TV. Now, if I start to watch a movie, I catch myself sleeping before it even gets to the middle. Has nothing to do with being an introvert . . . I am getting old.
- · Meditate . . . nope, not me.
- · Get handy and fix things . . . hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . again, not me. I am better at breaking things than fixing them.
- · Volunteer with animals . . . I love animals, but I already have enough pets in my life . . . I’ll give my loving whenever I’m around dogs and cats, but I don’t want to spend my spare time taking care of other people’s pets. I pick up enough poop in my own yard.
- · Learn a new language . . . shoot, I need to learn the one I speak.
- · Build models . . . seems a little ridiculous to spend time putting together a plastic model, sit it on a shelf and let it collect dust . . . then I have to dust . . . sounds like work. Now, if it is to build models like Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Gisele Bundchen, or Heidi Klum . . . well, they can hang out on my shelves any time they want. That is the type of modeling I admire . . . but, if two are involved is it really “alone” time?
I might get into the areas of podcasts and YouTube . . . not to listen and watch . . . but to put out there for others to listen and watch. I guess I have to think about whether or not I have something to say or video worth other people’s time. Plus, I do not find much rejuvenation in many of those activities . . . lots of work and frustration. Now, the six things that I do . . . well, those are a whole other ball game.
Lately, photography is my number one choice. I love taking pictures . . . lots of pictures. You have to take lots of pictures to get a good picture. I always tell folks that you have to take hundreds of pictures to get one good picture. I take my camera most of the places I go when I am not working. I believe in attempting to tell a story with pictures. Right now my primary picture taking involves birds and my grandchildren. I use Facebook as the place to share my photos . . . I also post my bird pictures at http://revjmk.tumblr.com/.
Writing . . . well, you are reading my writing. I also write a weekly column and newsletter for the congregation I serve . . . http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=70af6bc8e224ee30770a5ebd5&id=713e91220e&e. I also write a weekly sermon . . . http://homileticdump.blogspot.com/2015/11/take-away-stones-john-1132-45.html. And, I blog. I think the writer got that one right.
I like to do outdoor activities. I enjoy going on hikes . . . even with others even though I lag behind or get way out in front . . . but, I enjoy these by myself. The problem is that the wife does not like me hiking by myself. I enjoy critter creeping and taking trips by myself. I just like these by myself.
Reading . . . I have always loved to read. As a kid I was one of those who read under the covers with a flashlight. Still love to read . . . read every night before I go to bed. Reading leads to better writing. There are tons of books lying around the house . . . I appreciate books.
I guess I appreciate articles written by those who think that they are helping out introverts. The author of the MSN.com article assumed that he or she is helping us introverts out, but I think it is a little overwhelming the number of suggestions. I will admit that I have dabbled in a few of them, but at my age I think I have found those areas that bring me the most satisfaction and energize me the most. It really doesn’t matter because most introverts will figure it out on their own . . . after all, it is a personal, individual thing. Again, something that extraverts don’t understand.
Which brings me back to the fact that I am even writing about this . . . as an introvert I needed to get off by myself, spend a little time alone, and play. Play with words. Play with ideas. All by myself. Even alone, we introverts know how to entertain ourselves. We are not bored. We are not lonely. We are not shy. We are not weird (though others might think we are). No, we are just introverts. Even introverts need time to play . . . even if it is playing by themselves.
Trust me . . . you will like us better if you just let us play by ourselves. Everyone will be happy. It is amazing how much better I feel . . . I really needed this time.