Accessing Your Inner Introvert
If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs course, the first category is extroversion/introversion. If you’ve taken it in the past, and come out as extroverted, when you take it again, you may find that your introverted side has gained some points, because you’re older and have more time to enjoy being alone.
All the personality profiles and learning styles inventories peg me as extroverted, but not “pointy-headed”; there was some introversion which I discovered as I travelled more on my own. I did what I wanted to do and didn’t need people to energize me.
When the pandemic was announced and the world went into lockdown, I felt relieved because my time had been too busy and I’d been trying to pare down my activities. I found that I welcomed the time alone. It had a deja vu sense as if I was retiring all over again. I could sleep without setting an alarm. I could get dressed or not. I could eat when I was hungry and nap whenever I was tired. I didn’t have to talk to anyone; there were no commitments. It was an aimless comforting feeling. I was never bored and even doing nothing was doing something.
People started commiserating that I must be finding it hard to be alone and isolated. I wasn’t sure that I should tell them I was enjoying my time, in case they weren’t.
Once forced to stay home, with no social contacts, I reverted to the escapism from childhood that was in books. Dozens of books I’d never read sat on my bookshelves. I never went out unless to walk and had groceries delivered. My only human contact was the phone and I was beginning to resent its intrusion. I didn’t even turn on the radio.
Maybe we get used to a certain level of energy that we think is normal for us, and try to sustain that, thinking that any less would be boring. But really, we can make anything interesting and challenging. My baking took me on adventures when I experimented with recipes. I ordered books by authors I’d never read, and wrote letters to seniors and children with health issues that I’d never met. My exercise was dancing to CDs that could eventually all be played and LPs that have gathered dust for years. My deck was my refuge almost every day this summer, sitting in the sun with my sunscreen and sunglasses, listening to the birds and watching the squirrels play. I had time to enjoy my own company.
The last time I had a Myers-Briggs, I was 60% Extrovert and 40% Introvert. I wonder if I took it now, would those scores be reversed? Written by: Janet Wees