OMG- it’s Fall! I love love love FALL!
I love the fact that clothes cover a lot more of your body. It’s cozy and it’s flattering! I love boots and pumpkins and leaves. I love Halloween and Thanksgiving! I love being able to drink hot tea and coffee all day long without sweating! I love cool mornings and sweatshirts and needing to wear socks!
I also LOVE that it’s about to start getting dark early.
You heard me.
I have always loved it. I love a reason to head home early. To eat dinner early. To get the kids to bed early because it’s dark and they can still be fooled and it won’t last forever! To sit down on the couch with a glass of red wine and a book for a while instead of hanging out for another hour socializing outside (even though I love my neighbors with all of my little heart and they know it!). The change to fall and early darkness that makes a lot of people border on insanity and depression empowers me. It totally makes me feel like superwoman after a long, exhausting summer of long days full of activity and crowds and so very little time alone with only my family. Or with only me.
Because, here’s my “secret”. I am most certainly an introvert. And this change in seasons makes me much more comfortable in my own life.
As a noun, an introvert is defined as “a shy person” or “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings”. As a verb, introvert is defined as “to turn inward”.
When I was young people described me as quiet. shy. polite. mild-mannered. Having fair skin, I’ve always blushed easily (bordering on turning fire-engine red if we’re being honest), and between that and a sheer lack of self-confidence I didn’t like being in front of a crowd. Particularly as an expert or a leader. I always found friends that were pretty comfortable in that role and kept myself out of the spotlight (generally) as somewhat of a side-kick.
Sometime during college something changed. To be honest, I lost weight and found some sort of self-confidence in the attention that came with being a young, slim, 6 foot tall southern girl with smarts. Then I started speaking up in a very sarcastic, self-deprecating way and realized that I could make people laugh. Also, enter alcohol. Beauty, wit, and talent of drinking (most) boys under the table. When you are in your twenties, that’s quite a popular combination.
Post-college, due to good “people-skills”, a crazy fantastic ability to network, and a pretty decent resume, I found myself in fun, exciting jobs (after one awful month selling classified ads at a local newspaper) that gave me the opportunity to meet new people, impress the ones I already knew with stories of travel and events and even a few famous folks I met along the way, and continue my role as the life of the party.
Admittedly, I loved being fun. And I was. I am. Still.
My thirties were (and still are for some more months!) a little different. I still enjoyed having a great time, but it felt…different. It totally wore me out. I chalked it up to getting older. Having more responsibility. Kids. All of these things were definitely part of it. But they all were part of the bigger struggle as well- I was almost never alone. Down time was limited to early morning and late night. My mental checklist was never complete. Sometime I felt like I was drowning in the things that I couldn’t manage to get done, no matter how small they were. I didn’t want to miss out on anything, still worried about being a fun friend, so I tried really hard to not say no to invitations. I frantically tried to balance socializing with parenting and wife-ing and housekeeping and volunteering. I didn’t even realize how hard it was because I was just so tired and busy! It truly felt like life was supposed to be this way, and I don’t think I minded. Until I did.
I have heard, more than once, that introverts get their power from being alone. This is a strong statement, and it is very different from being shy. It simply means that to be an integral part of the party, first I need some time to myself. This makes total sense to me, and helped me to realize that it’s not so much that *I* have changed (though I have- almost 40 years on this planet will do that to a person), but my life has changed. I no longer spend long mornings cleaning my apartment and taking a walk and getting my nails done before a big night out. I spend the day in carpool lines, at meetings for my kids, at work, at sporting events…all of which require me to be “on” and talk and listen and be in a crowd. So, when I get home, I want to sit on the couch. I want to fold laundry in a quiet room. I want to read. I want to have a quiet dinner with my husband after the kids go to bed. I NEED to decompress just so that tomorrow is as good as today.
So, I am working on saying no. I just have to. Sometimes it’s inevitable- there are three kids’ worth of soccer games, practices, piano lessons, school drop offs and pick ups, teacher meetings, performances, homework, club, etc. I HAVE to say no a lot, because I chose to have and love three children and they fill up my days all on their own and I love it. But sometimes I have to say no just because I simply CAN NOT be even a glimmer of a fun version of myself today. Because I need to do this all again tomorrow.
I just hope you understand.