Introverts have a bad rap for incessantly talking about being introverts. We can be annoying, but there is power in understanding and respecting one’s own temperament. And when you finally have a handle on these things, you want to tell people.
So, hi. My name is Mandy and I’m an introvert. I lived my childhood and early adult years without any understanding of why certain things that other people loved left me feeling drained and overwhelmed. I didn’t understand why social events that I honestly enjoyed often left me with a headache. The run-down, tired, worn out moods that I frequently experienced were mistaken for depression and the stress I felt over the need to keep going could push this already slightly anxious gal to the very edge of dysfunction.
I love my family and friends in a big way, but my inner circle is small and sometimes even those dearest to me wear me out. I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.
Let me repeat. I LOVE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS, BUT I ALSO NEED TO BE ALONE SOMETIMES. Finally understanding that this is part of my temperament and not a personality flaw was freeing for me.
For example, my husband and I recently took our daughter on a road trip. We had the best time adventuring and being silly together. On our road trip we spent a whole lot of hours in the truck together. We spent time with out of town friends. We visited places I had never been and met people I had never met. I love people, but peopling requires lots of energy for me. We had the best time and came home from our five-day trip in time to host family one afternoon, attend a barbecue with friends the next evening, and then host family at our house for the weekend. And it was all lovely. I loved every bit of it, even the chaotic parts. I genuinely did.
Then I crashed. Then I was toast. Then I was officially, 100%, without a doubt suffering from a social hangover. Exhaustion, fatigue, a tinge of a headache, and- one that always surprises me- my body ached for no apparent reason. I had zero small talk left in me, and I wanted nothing more than a nap in a dark, quiet, cool room. So you know what I did? I took a nap, gave myself some grace, and let myself recharge.
I had a social hangover, but I’m okay. Today I am me again.
Younger me would have pushed on through, felt frustrated, pushed harder, and wondered how I was to manage the unavoidable anxiety and exhaustion of life. Current me understands that my energy reserves are not infinite. I need recharging and, for me, that comes in the form of time alone. It’s vital and current me knows that is okay.
I’m grateful for a spouse that understands how important alone time is for me. I’m grateful for a daughter who doesn’t fully understand why I didn’t have it in me to play dinosaurs yesterday but who is more than happy that I’m ready to play today. I’m grateful for the loud house full of cousins and family over the weekend. I’m grateful for a calm and quiet house today. I’m grateful for this goofy family photo from our road trip. I am grateful for rest and recharging. I am grateful to understand what it takes to be my best me.
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