Oops! I think I scared my mom half to death with my post earlier today. Apparently I came across a little desperate and out of sorts. Lest anyone else think that my desire to climb in the kitchen cabinet to hide out with my cat is an indication that I’m losing it, let me assure you that I’m not. I’m simply in need of a little alone time. It’s something we introverts require fairly often.
My kids have been out of school for five weeks now. That’s pretty much five weeks of having another body (at least one other body and usually more) with me – at home, at work, in the car, at the store – 24/7. I don’t get to run alone. (Wait. Since the heat wave started, I don’t get to run – period. Sigh.) I don’t get to go to the gym. I won’t make an appointment to get my hair cut because I dread the prospect of having to take the kids along. Going shopping for anything is a group activity. I don’t even get any zone out while driving time. (Okay, so I still zone out, but I have little voices saying “Mom, did you hear me?” that beckon me back into the zone.)
Like Tubs, I love my people! We are having a phenomenal summer. In the back of my mind, I think ahead to mid-August and realize that I will miss them – all three of them – once school starts back. I don’t wish this time away. It’s just little breaks that I need, and just every now and then.
Not many people seem to understand what the word introvert means. Being an introvert is not the same thing as being shy. I love people. I enjoy public speaking and public events. However, people (especially in large groups) and public events wear me out. If we have a particularly busy Sunday morning at church – a highly interactive Sunday School class, lots of questions before and after worship, an engaging worship service, a busy fellowship time or a meal after worship – there’s a good chance I will crash when I get home. By “crash,” I don’t mean simply “take a nap.” I mean “fall face-first on the bed, drop into a dead-to-the-world sleep in a matter of minutes, and sleep so hard that my entire body feels heavy when I wake” kind of crash. My entire being just shuts down.
You see, for introverts, being with people in highly social situations, while maybe tons of fun, sucks the life energy right out of you. Being with people, even small groups of your most favorite people in the whole wide world for extended periods of time with no break, sucks the life energy right out of you. Being alone is how you restore your energy. Almost any kind of alone time works – a solo exercise session, driving alone in the car (with or ~gasp~ without the radio), shopping alone, or sitting still while staring into space and daydreaming. It’s all about how your body and soul restore their energy levels. Extroverts throw a party. Introverts hide away.
So don’t worry about me. If you need me, I’ll be sitting over in the corner daydreaming. Or hiding out with Tubs under the kitchen cabinet.