I feel it like a sickness. I’m tired. I’m irritable. I have trouble focusing and I get confused about priorities. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be working on. My head feels like a junk drawer.
What’s the problem?
The problem is I’m an introvert taking on an extrovert’s life.
It’s my own fault. I know this about myself. I simply need time alone in order to recharge, and when I don’t get it, I suffer the consequences. So does my work.
It sneaks up on me and by the time I feel it, it’s too late. I have to shut down.
So how do I stop the spiral?
Several years ago a life coach gave me a tip that has really helped me. He asked me to identify they ways that I rest. And all of them involve being completely alone.
I recharge by walking the dog by a nearby lake. I just walk and throw a tennis ball and daydream and my energy starts coming back. I also recharge by going to movies. By myself. I know it sounds odd, but it brings me back.
Taking drives, eating alone, reading the paper at a coffee shop, talking to nobody about anything.
That’s how I come back to life.
To an extrovert this must sound insane, but for me it’s either get alone or become the equivalent of a grumpy old man.
There are other strategies, too.
One is to not take meetings with people unless there’s a really good reason for it.
Friends want to get together for coffee? Can’t do it. I know it sounds rude, but there’s a name for people who want to get together for coffee with no established reason. They’re called extroverts. They get energy from just talking about whatever, while for an introvert, it’s the equivalent of hooking an IV up to their artery and draining their blood.
To be sure, introverts love people.
So while an extrovert is sitting and having coffee and talking and sharing their life, an introvert is jogging in place right there at the table.
They can do it for a while, but not all day every day.
I’ve often wondered which is better, to be an introvert or an extrovert.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that the benefits and liabilities cancel each other out.
Neither is better.
I’ve an extremely extroverted friend who rented a cabin to try to write a book. He couldn’t handle it. Not even for a single day. He ended up renting a house in LA with new roommates and going to parties and loving California and at the end of his time had made tons of new friends but never wrote the book.
All that to say, I don’t have very many new friends but I do have a few books. Hard to say which is better or worse. As much as I’d love to have new friends, they’d honestly drain me.