Staying In -Confessions of an Introvert

During my twenties I had a passion for going out.  I actively planned and executed a lifestyle of outings.  You too?
I liked going out for meals, going out for coffee, going out dancing, going out on dates, going out on adventures!  Ahhhh, good times.

I’m glad it was such a busy decade! My thirties have been a gradual decline of wellness.  And so, a slow erosion of the things I always loved to do. Also, I became a mumma, which makes going out more of an epic event than the spontaneous outings of life, pre-kids.

My friend is coming over this morning.  It makes me smile that she is coming over to see me.  I’ve known her since my early twenties and we have had some epic outings together over the years.  I like catching up with her.  We don’t go out anymore.  Not even to the cafe, it’s just so much easier and more comfortable to stay at home.  Most of my friends understand this arrangement.  I’m grateful they are happy to meet me here. We catch up in my living room, on the big seats with the built in footrests.  It’s a sigh of contentment, the sound of the footrest levering up.  The steam over the cups of tea, good conversation.

I prefer staying in now.  One of my favourite things to do with the hubster is hunker down in our favourite spot after the kids have all gone to bed. We choose a movie or TV episode to watch together.  We’ll probably be wearing our comfy PJs and dressing gowns. Usually I am lying in the corner of the sofa; he favours the floor, his head within reach of my hand for obligatory head tickles. Often, the fire will be going.  It’s a warm, companionable togetherness.  We might pause for a cuppa, or cheese and crackers.  The small rituals of cosiness. And there, tucked up inside the cocoon of our favourite corner, we relax.  During the ad breaks the mute button is pressed and we chat; musing over whatever we’re watching or catching up on the day.  It’s down time. Us time. Let it all go time.

I was reminded recently (thanks Alyce!) of having done the Myers-Briggs personality test.  If you have done it, you’ll know that your personality is typed by its four predominant aspects.  I am an INFJ.  These letters stand for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging.  This is some of what is said about my particular personality type:

“INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the ‘feeling’ function they most readily show to the world… self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills.”  You can find out more, or take the test, here.

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When I took the test, some people were surprised that I was an introvert.  See, I LOVE PEOPLE.  Chatting.  Good times. But I confess, I also really really love solitude. It’s how I recharge.  When I was still teaching, I’d climb into the quiet of my car at the end of the day and rest my head against the steering wheel, treasuring the glorious emptiness and quiet.  Bliss. Nothing is as restorative as the peace in that solitude.  And when it comes to writing, I need it.  An empty space, quiet music and just me.

My hubster is an introvert too, so we understand the importance of time away from people, for each other. Even from each other sometimes.  Time to gather our social strength again, before we head out into the fray.  We think of it as a de-frag.  A re-assignment of all the parts of our selves that may have been seconded to challenging tasks. I guess I am fortunate that I am usually happy in my own company.  Chronic illness has forced me into a place where I am more social online than in person.  The internet really is the introverts ideal playground.  We get to be social when we are able and switch it off when we’re not.  It’s good to be an introvert if life gives you a chronic illness, somehow I think it’d be much harder if I needed the company of others to recharge, as extroverts do.

I’m about to enter a new decade.  I’ll celebrate my fortieth in September.  My twenties were all about going out, my thirties have been all about staying in.  I wonder what is next for me?
Maybe the only way is up.

I’ve been singing this cute song from Lily Allen.  It makes me think of my hubster.

What’s your thing?  Going out or staying in?
What is your personality type on the Myers-Brigg’s scale?  Do you think it is accurate?