I realized my introversion when I was 13. Up until that point I had always thought introvert = quiet and extrovert = loud, so I had automatically thrown myself into the latter category and not thought much about it. As a homeschooler, I never wanted for time alone before that point, so I had never depleted my energy stores. Then, suddenly, I had less and less time alone, and became more and more drained. It didn’t make sense. I was sleeping more than ever, eating a healthy diet, and I didn’t seem to be growing… I was exercising, and didn’t really do that much… when it hit me: I hadn’t been getting as much time alone. I was spending my time with my family in the living room, with friends in open gym and helping out in the community, choirs, and church, filling my schedule with social activities, which should be great for me, right? I’m loud, so I’m an extrovert, so that should fill me up?
Nope. I finally took a day to do what is now known as a “hardcore hermit” — a time where I get a warm drink or dessert of choice from the kitchen, send a message to those within the immediate vicinity warning them of my impending hermit (giving time for response in case there’s something I need to do first), and then hide alone in my room for a few hours with a computer, book, notebook, or instrument, and there I stay. No Facebook messenger, no phone calls, no obligation to do anything but hide from other humans so I can get my energy back. When I have a full battery, I emerge from my cave, and can reenter into a relatively social life.
I love people. I want to talk, listen, write, text and direct message, read, and learn all about the humans I share the planet with. I haven’t always been a social butterfly, but I place a high value on the connections I have, and I’m always open to making more.
I also need time alone, or I go nuts. Yep, talkative, loud, social me needs to be a recluse for several hours a week or else — bad things. Very bad things. Generally recovery involves a lot of ice cream, coffee, and a good book. I prefer to enjoy all of that before I am pushed to (or past) the brink.
Although some may see it as a contradiction, it has been a happy balance for me, and allows me to recharge in a healthy way as needed.
What’s your favorite way to recharge?