Being an introvert in this year of at-home-ness has been glorious.
Yes, this year was horrific, please don’t misunderstand me. In a year filled with pain and heartbreak, isolation and lost chances, illness and death, business closures and families struggling to stay housed and fed, our societal pain required daily empathy.
Holding that space for ourselves and others is undeniably exhausting for all of us.
What I realized, though, as an off-the-charts introvert, is that in this year of extreme emotional need, I finally have the energy to be fully present.
I have energy to bake and cook for my family.
I have energy to listen carefully to what my children are saying beneath their (lack of) words.
I have energy to chat with besties on zoom for hours.
I have energy to meet up with friends for backyard drinks.
I have energy to pay attention to the news and act on issues that matter to me.
I have energy to hold space for people in pain.
I have energy to pray deeply for all of the ills and injustice in the world.
I have energy to write about them.
All because I have been home.
Just last week, I experienced a day much like my old life. I substitute taught at school for the day, picked up the kids, coached after school sports, made dinner, and crashed, cranky and exhausted.
After weeks of being fully present for my family, I lost my everloving shizzle over…actually, I can’t even remember what, it was so insignificant.
The trouble began mid-day. My mind numb, it felt physically impossible to formulate and summon words while talking with a friend at carpool pickup. I could barely function and it was only 2:30 in the afternoon with no hope of solitude in sight.
If you are an introvert like me, every encounter, no matter how glorious, takes energy. It is why we don’t pick up the phone, prefer to pick up our coffee via drive thru, and get groceries delivered. It is why we sometimes say no when we wish we could say yes. It is why we are secretly glad when you cancel on us.
All connection drains our energy reserves, but not all connection is created equal. The challenge of an introvert is and always has been to identify the moments that matter most and prioritize them each day.
Pre-pandemic, I thought I was choosing well, but most evenings I was exhausted and short of patience for the people I love most. This at-home year has been a gift, allowing me to see what life can be when I reserve time to care for my body, mind, and soul.
So be gentle, friends, as we introverts begin re-emerging into a post-pandemic world (whenever that happens). You are important to us and we love you dearly, which is why we want to have the energy to be fully present just for you.
See you soon.
(And pray with me that curbside delivery will forever and always be a thing.)