August 20, 2012

Confessions of an Introvert

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions. ~Susan Cain in Quiet
Happy Monday.

Many of you, who like me, are starting college this week.

Confession: I hate the first two weeks of the semester. I mean that. Hate. Them. My anxiety always gets the best of me and all I can focus on is the overwhelming amount of work to get done by December in order to keep my GPA in tact and hold on to some semblance of my sanity at the same time. (In one of my classes this morning I opened the syllabus and thought "Oh Dear Lord..." And I was sincerely praying that mind you!) Usually the sanity part looses, which is why I'm grateful for Christmas break.

So this is Jr. year. 

I've reached the half-way mark... and rather quickly in my opinion. That's when you know you've joined the terrible world of adults... time goes by faster than it did when you were 10. The other day I was sorta thinking about what important things I've learned since college began. There's a lot. None of which I gained from the classroom either. I don't have time to get into all of them now, but one of the important things I've learned about myself is that I'm an introvert. (My mother calls me a turtle since I carry a "mental tortoise shell" with me wherever I go.)

You'd think I would have known that sooner, but nope, I didn't. Because like so many I thought introverts were recluses. I am not a recluse. I like being around people... but I don't necessarily get my energy from being around them. Sorta... some people I'm around I get loads of energy from... but that's only a handful. For the most part being around people (even more so huge crowds of them) drains me. And that's perfectly alright. I expect it. The only problem is when I don't get that refill of energy and am running on low. And you'll know when I'm running on low because I'm one of the following...
  1. A Basket case
  2. Staring at the time every few seconds... counting down the time until I can high-tail out of a place and go home. 
  3. Have an uncontrollable need to write down every single little detail on my to-do list. Normally things I wouldn't put on there... like getting out of bed (check), walking to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee (check), put toothpaste on toothbrush (check)... and so on. 
  4. Turn into a basket case if I just so happen to misplace my to-do list.
All this is to say that this fall (hopefully) I'm going to try to step back as it were and think/reflect on the following...
  • I overload some weeks, and then others I'm too free. Some weeks I think I'm on the brink of a mental breakdown, and then others I'm bored out of my mind and lazy. I need to find a good balance or rhythm of work, play, and rest (i.e. time management that's productive but not to the point where I wish I could get sick so I could have a rain check)
  • I need to learn what it means to rest or sabbath well.
  • I want to re-evaluate how I use social media and how much time I'm spending online because I think it's been too much. I want to get back to some of my old hobbies... that don't involve screens and remote controls.
  • I want more coffee meet-ups, outings, and long conversations face-to-face or via phone calls. I don't want to be the e-mail/text/message/chat friend who gives attention in 140 characters or less for my many (irrelevant) excuses. It's just lame after a while.
  • I need to figure out how being an introvert plays into all of this since I seem to need more "down" or alone time than my extrovert friends.
Speaking of introverts though, I came across this TED talk recently (TED talks are awesome BTW) from Susan Cain on her new book Quiet which is all about valuing introverts in a culture that promotes extroversion. And yes I just added her book to my ginormous, ever growing reading list.

And sometimes this quote summarizes my life way too well...
I am something of a recluse by nature. I am that cordless screwdriver that has to charge for twenty hours to earn ten minutes use. I need that much downtime. ~Donald Miller


  1. No matter how hard humans try... we never seem to be able to just "let go." Or most of us don't. :-/

    I wish you the best the luck with your new semester, Natalie!

  2. That video clip was incredible! Thank you so much for sharing Natalie! I hope you do find a way to balance your school work this semester and take time to slow down and recharge.

  3. Love getting to hear TED Talks! We host a few national and independent salon talks at my school!

    Thank you for sharing this! I, too, am more of an introvert (or lean somewhere between there or the middle) and have seen that society does seem to favor those more social. I really like how she defined an introvert, that "shyness is about fear of social judgment, introversion is more about how you respond to stimulation." I will need to share this :)

  4. oh hon take a deep breath, you're OK!!! I will be praying as you get started on this year, ok?! I admire you sweetie;)

  5. I LOVE this post.

    i love that you're an introvert. once you really embrace it you become comfortable with doing what you have to do to recharge. people who love you and know you will understand :)

    i can't wait to listen to this TED talk!

  6. Good luck on your new semester! I'm an introvert too so I totally understand. During the school year I literally have to schedule "Eimile time" to keep my sanity.

  7. Best wishes with your new semester, Natalie! You can do it! You've done it before and with all the goals you have this year, you can certainly do it again. Plus, God will definitely there to guide and hold you along the way.

  8. I watched that TED talk a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed it, and of course I've got that book on my to-read list as well. :) I love the Donald Miller quote -that is so me!!

  9. meeeee toooooo. and yes, im with donald miller.

  10. I love this so much. I'm also an introvert and I'm learning how to embrace that. Thanks!!

  11. Loved reading this. I identify in so many ways!!


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