Being "on" all the time can suck the life out of you.
I am a textbook introvert; I have the capacity to be the life of the party, the wild one everyone wants to talk to. But after hours of giving up my best stuff - my passion, my self-deprecation, my ferocious joie de vivre - I relegate myself to a confined space with a good book or my Netflix feed.
Unless you are an introvert, there is a strong chance you misunderstand the concept. We are not anti-social. In some cases, we can be even more gregarious than those extroverts you know. Julia Roberts, Amy Schumer, and Tom Hanks are all introverts. Robin Williams was an introvert. This breed of people is not afraid of the stage or limelight. Introverts make excellent public speakers because they have a penchant for rehearsing and over-rehearsing their role, their lines, their script.
We plan. A lot.
Because, like the dying charge on an iPhone with a ravenous operating system, we need to know when we are going to be able to plug in for some downtime.
Where extroverts get their energy by being around others, charging up on conversations about new ideas or fun stories, introverts are the people who give up that energy to the crowd and have to go back home to revive their battery life.
As part of my introversion kink, I really need to think about whether I have the capacity to spend time with strangers.
The art of conversation with strangers is especially draining for me; I struggle with making idle chit chat with people I've never met.
I know this is a tricky proposition; strangers become lovers and best friends if you give them a chance and let them in.
A couple nights ago, my friends geared up to meet some people who live across from our vacation villa in Puerto Vallarta. The day had been a long one involving a trek to a rustic ocean side restaurant with a secluded beach. We dined on octopus and plantains and delicious herbal margaritas. A couple of us made an adventurous swim to an offshore floating island complete with a hammock and palm tree. The climb onto the float left me bruised and bloodied, and I was exhausted after a long day of sipping margaritas and cervezas.
(Ed note: I admit the above paragraph reads like obnoxious whining about First World problems. And that's exactly what it is.)
The entire day was full of sensory overload, and it sucked my energy dry. The last thing I wanted to do was make nice and play Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of people I'd never see again.
But I felt like an asshole. I was the only one in the group who didn't want to go. Rather than hit the wall and completely shut down in front of a crowd, I decided to stay behind with my book, some smokes, and a couple Tecates.
Ultimately, it was the best thing for everyone involved because by the time I reunited with the group I felt recharged and ready to happily reengage.
Years ago an old friend who worked for Delta Air Lines told me about the Slam-Click. This is a term flight attendants use for the occasions when they need to disengage and recharge after a day of serving others salty peanuts and flimsy plastic cups of Diet Coke.
Slam-Click is when you go to your hotel room, slam the door, and click the lock shut. Every flight attendant has had to slam-click at one time or another. It's a tactic that should no doubt be embraced far beyond the airline industry.
Everyone needs to pull back on occasion.
We all need to withdraw to the toys in our attic, think about things that are important, and how we can carry on to the next moment.
Here's to recharging and saving up the energy for the next great occasion.
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