Friday, February 6, 2009

Random Navel Contemplation

I stumbled onto a blog about introverts that I've found to be quite fascinating (I have a link to Living Introverted over there under "My Blog List".) Recently the author penned a post about the calm in the storm that introverts can be, which got me thinking. Am I calm in a crisis? Well, yes and no. It depends on how fast things are happening and how chaotic they are; I get flustered with lots of noise and people and chaos. (See the post about "What a Day".) I don't know how evident it was to everyone else that I was flustered at that particular Girl Scout meeting, but I was definitely not at my best, thus forgetting about the deposit. I think that may be due to my relationship with details as much as or even more so than introversion. I've discovered this about myself- I am NOT a detail person, especially in the thick of things. I can plan for details and make lists in advance with the best of them, but in the thick of things the details either take care of themselves or get lost, because I'm just not going to (be able to?) deal with them. Don't get me wrong- I like Girl Scout meetings and running events (and I've chaired a bunch of them) and so forth, but I'm not one of those people who can focus on 40 things at once. I'd make a lousy event planner; I thought about pursuing that as a career at one point in my life, so thank goodness I gave up on that idea a long time ago! What I am good at is the pre-planning and figuring out things when I have time to think. I can usually find a logical course of action for working through any crisis as long as I don't have things coming at me all at once; I'm a great idea person and pretty good at brainstorming. My parties and events usually turn out well and I hope the details I miss aren't noticed by anyone but me! I'm also not into the melodrama, so even if I'm mentally flustered I'm not outwardly going to pieces, or if I do it's only momentary then I pull myself together and soldier on, which may be what the post on Living Introverted is talking about. I may not be thinking clearly or making the best decisions or remembering the things I need to remember, but I'm not a quivering heap of jello over in the corner either.

Living Introverted is a fascinating blog and I love the link to the explanation of introverts vs. extroverts, which is the same definition of the two terms I learned in one of my psychology classes in college. It's a how-you-recharge-your-batteries thing that has very little, if anything, to do with shyness. This concept has been at the forefront for me lately now that The Niece is living with us. She's definitely an extrovert, fully and completely, who's found herself in a family of introverts, poor kid. She's eager to go and do and be around other people and gets markedly anxious when we're all just sitting around, whereas we all want to stay home either glued to the computer or with our noses stuck in a book! Even The Eldest is quite the bookworm/computer nerd. I feel for The Niece, I really do, but I can't meet her socialization needs! Thankfully a good friend of her mother's lives nearby and has sons near her age so she's going to pick her up for outings, which will make things easier for all of us. (They all went out together tonight for the first time, which was good.) I was talking to a good friend of mine about The Niece and she said she is the same way- it's like the walls are closing in or she's claustrophobic or something if she's stuck at home without other people around for too long; it drives her bonkers! That is such a concept for me to grasp; putting myself in an extrovert's shoes. Seeing it in action has really driven it home, though. It's not that being either way is better or worse, but it's good to understand the yin and yang of introversion vs. extroversion so that we have a better understanding of nieces who need to go out and look at us like aliens when we say we'd rather stay home. ;)


Mark said...

Good post. There's a joke about engineers: "Q. How do you tell an extroverted engineer? A. He looks at the *other* person's shoes." That's pretty much how it is in my (and your DH's) profession, at least in the states.

Myers-Briggs tends to rank me as an extrovert, if you can believe that, which is why I don't put a lot of stock in Myers-Briggs. My problem with details is that I hyper-focus on one or two of them to the exclusion of others, let alone the big picture!

I think "Random Navel Contemplation" would be a great name for a blog. :-)

Kim said...

Those details!! They drive me crazy. It's like I'm trying to juggle them all then someone throws in an extra 2 or 3 balls and they all go tumbling down. :-P

Melinda said...

I think I'm someplace in between. For the most part I prefer to be at home. I am not the socail butterfly by any stretch of the word. But, after a while of being cooped up in the house I get to the point where I have to get out or I get cranky and really need to get out. Thelast few weeks its been really cold here and I've had cabin fever, but today it was gorgeous and warm and we went to the park...what a relief!

Kim said...

It was gorgeous here as well, with just the slightest chill in the air. I went outside and weeded the front yard and actually enjoyed it just because it was so lovely outside. :)

Out of curiosity- do you need to get out of the house to be around other people or to just get out when you get cabin fever? Does it matter whether you are going someplace crowded and busy or not? Introverts can be outdoorsy types! :) Remember it's a recharge your batteries thing. I love being around other people but I usually find it takes a lot of personal energy, which is draining. I recharge my energy stores through solitude. I've been walking every day since I started losing weight and I've found one of the things I enjoy the most about it is the time alone to daydream or mull things over, or even listen to NPR without the kids interrupting. I used to take my kids to walk with me when my youngest was in a stroller but I don't take them anymore. The initial reason was they can't keep up with the speed I need to set for weight loss, but now, much as I love my darlings, I don't take them because I need the alone time. (The only person I don't mind walking with is my husband.) I'm a much better mommy when I get back from my walk. I've also realized how much I need breaks when I am around lots of activity. When my grandmother passed away in the hospital last year there were so many people in the room with her and it was all so much to bear, but I was able to keep myself together and mentally get a grip when I held onto my husband; he wrapped his arms around me and I put my head down onto his chest and shut everything else out, and that few moments was enough to get me through the rest of the time we were there with her. I found myself doing the same thing (escaping for a few moments, not hanging onto DH!) at a large Girl Scout event I ran recently; it was a happy event and a lot of fun, but when it got overwhelming I turned the mic over to someone else and moved away from the crowd of girls to check on other things. I needed to step away for a few minutes and take a breath! The funny thing was the lady who took over the mic apologized afterward like she was stepping on my toes or something, but WOW was she a God send at that particular point in time! ;)